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Combining my Family's Tradional Jewish Brisket with Smoking Techniques

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    Combining my Family's Tradional Jewish Brisket with Smoking Techniques

    Hello Pit,

    I am hoping to tap into this group to get some thoughts. We'll be celebrating the Jewish holidays with my immediate family this year due to COVID and distance. My hope is to take my family's recipe but add some exciting smoke flavor (while still keeping the flavors and braised finish). While I know this will destroy the bark, I think some smoke notes will really take this brisket up a notch.

    Basically the recipe calls for taking the brisket and braising it for a long while in the following ingredients:

    5lb brisket
    3 onions sliced
    1 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup chili sauce
    1 cup water
    1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    2 Tablespoons vinegar
    1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    2 cloves garlic minced

    I'm think of smoking it (either for a few hours or to the stall (160/170)) and then putting it into a baking pan, adding the various ingredients, and wrapping it. I'll then finish it in the oven or on the smoker (take it to 200s).

    What do people think? Or should I let my ancestors rest in peace and save experiments for another day.

    That's a good question. You seem to have a lot of strong flavors involved. I would take it to 160/170 as you suggested but to me those ingredients you listed almost sound like a BBQ sauce. I would wrap it and take it to 198 - 203 and then brush it with your ingredients after blending them or simply allow people to pour it over their slices. Maybe you'll have the best of both worlds


      For the past few years, I've been doing a smoked brisket during Hannukah and serving with latkes and green beans. Everyone loves it, even if it is definitely not traditional. BUT I don't see why your approach wouldn't work nicely as well. I'd go all the way into the stall, get as much smoke to the brisket as you can. Then add the braising ingredients, wrap and keep going on the smoker.

      I like your idea.

      Side note: we are a mixed culture and religion family and we aren't too traditional. We do celebrate both Jewish and Christian holidays with somewhat traditional celebrations, though.


        I have used this method on brisket with great results
        Smoke it first right out of the fridge and on to the grate with whatever dry rubs you choose.
        Usually smoke for 4 hours in the 280 range at night, double wrap it in foil then finish in the oven at 250ish for another 6-8 hours.
        Never tried adding the ingredients you have listed, usually wrap with dry onion soup mix in the foil with maybe a can of dark beer.
        This usually times out to be done around noon, couple of hours rest, serving at 4:30-5.


          The other thing I'd suggest is trying it out before the big family dinner. Experiment and find out what works before you have to do it and be judged for how well you did it :-)


          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            yep, I agree with this. Grab a cheap flat and give it a whirl.

          Your thoughts sound reasonable to me so I have nothing to offer except to question why you would only do a five pound brisket when you could do a full packer and have all that wonderful goodness for days.


          • Baltimorelger
            Baltimorelger commented
            Editing a comment
            Hahaha. Well that's what the recipe calls for. I only have a 10 lb brisket, so we'll just have to make do.

          I would like to suggest a hybrid approach. I once did this with a cut of pork and it worked well, I don't see why it won't work for brisket, especially if you use just the flat. As suggested above, season the brisket as you like and toss it on the smoker at your preferred smoking temp. In my case I used time, but in your case I suggest smoking it unit you hit the stall (sooner if you want less smoke flavor), Then add the brisket to a foil pan with your braising ingredients, cover it and finish it in the oven, on the stove (in a pot) or on the smoker. I think doing that will impart the smoke flavor to your braising liquid and balance everything out.

          No matter which approach you pick, I look forward to reading about your results!


          • Stuey1515
            Stuey1515 commented
            Editing a comment
            This is exactly what I do with my pork ribs recipe, after applying feedback from people I was feeding prior to my dive into the BBQ world

          At its simplest, you can smoke the brisket for a few hours and then continue the recipe as per normal. You'll get the same braised texture just with the smoke flavor added. That's what I do when I make smoked chili - texture is the same you just get the additional flavor.


            Sounds like a plan, well, maybe. BTU is BTU finishing in the oven should yield about the same result as in the smoker.
            Why not consider smoking your sauce along with the brisket. Impart smoke flavor to the sauce.
            Live long and bbq.


            • Old Glory
              Old Glory commented
              Editing a comment
              Smoking the sauce along with the brisket was what I was going to suggest.

            • bbqLuv
              bbqLuv commented
              Editing a comment
              Old Glory Great minds think alike.
              Live Long and BBQ with PBR too.

            @Baltimorelger ecowper My sister has traditionally been the one who makes the brisket, following my mother's recipe ('Ma, how much schmaltz do you add to the matzo meal?' 'Oh, you know, not too much.') Maybe my mother cooked it longer, I don't remember. But, my sister's brisket has always been tough. This site made me realize that she was not braising it long enough, and after I got my KBQ, I took over the brisket. No one complains about the lack of the braising, so I guess the Texas brisket has replaced the Eastern European in our holidays. And, Eric, my Slovenian B-I-L does the latkes out in the garage so that the house doesn't smell of oil and onions for the next 6 months. Like you, we're the typical American mixed up family, with a confusing but enjoyable mix of traditions.

            Funny story: My wife is of Norwegian heritage. When our daughters were little, they had heard that Mommy was Norwegian, Daddy was Jewish, Passover was when the Jews left Egypt, and the Nazis had killed half of the world Jewish population during WWII, etc. The tradition at the Seder is to first ask the youngest at the table 'What is the meaning of the story of Passover?' Our youngest (now a 38 y/o mother of two) was then about 6, and answered: 'That was when the Norwegians killed all the Jews.' When everyone finished laughing and caught their breaths, we were ready to tell the story. And, to clear my wife's heritage a bit!
            Last edited by Dr. Pepper; August 31, 2021, 06:32 PM.


            • ecowper
              ecowper commented
              Editing a comment
              Funny, my wife is half Norwegian, by way of Minnesota

            • Dr. Pepper
              Dr. Pepper commented
              Editing a comment
              Mine was born in McVille North Dakota, spent first 11 years in Hanneford ND, SE near the SD border. Our kids are Jewegians.

            • ecowper
              ecowper commented
              Editing a comment
              Jewegians ..... LOL

            I see nothing wrong with your plan. I usually wrap my brisket in foil once it hits 170F, and let it braise in its own juices. It always has a nice bark even after the rest of the cook along with the cambro rest in the foil.

            I don't see an issue moving it to a pan after the stall, with your traditional braising ingredients. Should be smokey, but traditional as well.


              So if I read your post correctly, your intent is to add smoke flavor while keeping the traditional family flavor and the braised finish, but you sound a little wistful about destroying the bark. At the risk of creating more work, here's another idea.

              What about doing QVQ on a brisket flat while braising a good chunk of point in the sauce makings? It seems that then serving sliced flat with the point sauce might allow the best of both worlds: bark on the flat, but with the flat having a tenderness approaching braised. And if you braise the point all the way to it falling apart, there'd be braised bits even on the flat. As others have suggested, if you want lots of smoke flavor, the braise could be partially or fully done on the smoker too.

              Of course, this depends on whether anyone present has really strong feelings on the family tradition. Let's just say I'm still smarting from the last time I made a suggestion to my wife about a possible experiment with her parents' KC-Style sauce recipe. Those experiments are postponed until she resumes her previous heavy travel schedule.

              Whatever you choose, wishing you a meaningful and fulfilling family observation of the holidays.


                I think it's great that you putting this effort into both honoring the past while trying to embrace a newer approach. Best of luck.

                You also reminded me just how long it's been since I had a nice braised brisket.


                  Good plan! I hope I'm not perpetuating an old myth but I believe that it will absorb most of its smoke flavor at the beginning of the cook when the meat is cold. I'd start it off in the smoker and leave it there until you get the bark you want and would then wrap and move it to the oven to finish. I haven't put together my HHD menu yet but we like to do a honey chicken for Rosh Hashanah. Something simple this year for sure since we're homebound with our 11 year old.


                  • Baltimorelger
                    Baltimorelger commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Oooh a honey chicken sounds good, do you have a recipe? We’re in a similar boat here with just the immediate family but hoping to have a little fun even with the small group

                  • Beefchop
                    Beefchop commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Baltimorelger This one by Tori Avey is good, you can either smoke roast your bird on your grill or do it in the oven. https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/h...asted-chicken/ Nosher has a few good ones as well... https://www.myjewishlearning.com/the...hicken-recipe/

                  • Dr. Pepper
                    Dr. Pepper commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Beefchop Thanks for the links. The North African honey/harrisa chicken over a bed of garbanzo beans sounds great. Will have to try that. I would probably spatchcock the bird (I simply cut along one side of the backbone, I don't remove it)

                  Thanks all for the advice! I’m going to go for it and will keep you all posted on the result.


                  • ecowper
                    ecowper commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Can't wait to hear! Don't forget, pics or it didn't happen!

                  • efincoop
                    efincoop commented
                    Editing a comment
                    +1 to that ^^^^


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