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First Packer Brisket

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  • GoDuke
    Club Member
    • Feb 2017
    • 18

    First Packer Brisket

    Hi Everybody!

    So I decided to try my hand at making a whole packer this weekend. The last time I tried brisket, it was using my WSM (and stoker which malfunctioned so I wound up fighting temps all cook long). I had bought some local grass-fed brisket, but it was frozen and the point and flat were seperated. It didn't turn out well at all. The flat was very dry and tough. The point was pretty good though.

    So now that I have a pellet smoker and can rely a bit more on stable temps, and wanting to branch out from pulled pork and ribs, I decided to try brisket, this time a whole packer. I read meathead's article that brisket is garbage-in garbage-out so I looked for the best meat I could find and was able to find a Prime, CAB Brisket at a local butcher. It was expensive (5.99 a lb), but Costco only had choice flats and I don't have a sam's club membership (they had angus choice packers for 2.50 a lb).

    Anyway, wanting to 1) do justice to the meat and 2) do a good job, I wanted to ask for any best practices and input based on y'all's great wealth of knowledge.

    I plan to follow Meathead's recipe, except a neighbor who is a competition cook suggested using peach paper (I think meathead foils).

    I plan on starting the brisket saturday so I can eat it sunday and not having to deal with cleanup on a "school night". I'm going to trim and dry brine it with salt tonight. For the trim, I was going to try and get the fat cap down to like 1/8" and try to remove most of the solid fat between the point and the flat so that it cooks more evenly

    Saturday I plan to inject it with beef broth and rub it with Meathead's Big Bad Beef Rub before throwing it on the smoker. I'm thinking around 8pm. The first two hours I'll run the Rec Tec on extreme smoke and spritz it with beef broth (~200 degrees) to maximize smoke flavor (I don't have an A-Maze-N tube yet) and then cook it on 225 overnight. I'll check the temps when I get up around 6 and wrap it when it hits ~150(?). If it's already past 150 at that point, would you wrap or just continue nekkid? If I wrap, do I then leave the meat wrapped with a food temp probe in it until it hits ~200 or do I take it out after it passes 180? Once the meat is probe-tender, cut the point off to make burnt ends per meathead's recipe, and wrap the flat to hold for a few hours. Then cook the burnt ends per Meathead's recipe and then hold them with the flat until eating-time.

    I know she''ll be done when she wants, but I'm figuring if I throw it on at 8, allow for a slower smoke in the beginning but accelerated from wrapping, it should be done cooking around noon or so, allowing for either a late lunch or early dinner.

    I'm sure I've gotten something wrong in this plan, so feedback and corrections are appreciated. I'd rather correct a mistake upfront rather than ruin a nice piece of meat! Thank you so much!
  • Henrik
    Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
    • Jul 2014
    • 4491
    • Stockholm, Sweden

    #2
    Brisket! Great choice! I think your plan sounds good. If you need to wrap, I would (personally) wrap later, at 160° F or so. The key for me is to get great bark before wrapping. That typically happens at 160° F.
    If you wrap, leave the temp probe in as you say, and wait for it to either:
    A. Hit 203, or
    B. is probe tender.
    Whichever comes first.

    Peach paper vs aluminum foil can be debated 'til end of time, It depends on type of smoker, personal preferences et.c. The paper is slightly more permeable, but whether that's better for you, with your smoker, or not, is hard to say. The difference is small, so don't fret. Pick one and go with it.

    Keep us posted, and remember, pics or it didn't happen

    Comment

    • GadjetGriller
      Club Member
      • Dec 2015
      • 754
      • Lubbock tx
      • I have 3 outdoor devices (plus a couple indoor items) Starting with the PBC, Faux Kamado Kooker,(Akorn metal Kamado) & Oklahoma Joe offset grill and smoker. I use the FireBoard WiFi Thermometer. IQ110 (heat control device for akorn) recently acquired a Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-INFRARED 3-in-1 Roaster, Smoker and Grill, I also have A Anova & Joule Sous Vide Wands and The Steakager ( a unit for Dry aging big hunks of meat!)

      #3
      You have a good plan. However I agree with Henrik I would wait until at least 165 to wrap (that way you get a good bark going wrapping will soften it a bit.) The other step I would probably skip is injecting. That helps select grade beef a lot but Prime has a lot of intermuscular fat That will render and keep it moist and juicy. Especially if you Dry brine it the salt penetrates and helps hold on to moisture. But then again I'm lazy and like to skip as many steeps as I can lol. It will turn out wonderful either way! so go for it!!

      Comment

      • East End Cowboy
        Club Member
        • May 2018
        • 8
        • East Hampton NY
        • East Hampton, NY
          WSM 22.5"
          Always in Search of the Perfect Brisket

        #4
        I've done three briskets and followed Aaron Franklin's simple recipe and techniques, mostly. Check out his series on You Tube and the two-part brisket episode which is great. All mine came out very well, but always room for improvement. I don't inject and use a simple 50/50 salt/pepper dalmation rub. Use a freshly cracked pepper or course ground pepper if you can, makes for a better bark. I cook on a WSM at 250*. I don't open the lid to mop, spritz or do anything else until it hits 165, when I wrap in foil. "If you're lookin' you ain't cookin'". Then throw it back on (yes, with the probe still in) until it hits that magic 203*. Super simple and good outcome. Now I say all that, and this weekend I splurged on an SRF Wagyu and can't stop questioning myself about injecting, butcher paper, going nekkid or dry brining!! I'm likely just going to follow what's worked before, and let this gorgeous piece of meat do all the work! Good luck and keep us posted!

        Comment


        • GoDuke
          GoDuke commented
          Editing a comment
          Man, I just watched his video and I am definitely drooling! I love (and also hate!) how good pitmasters and chefs make something that is really difficult look super easy

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          FWIW, Aaron only uses PRIME briskets.
      • GoDuke
        Club Member
        • Feb 2017
        • 18

        #5
        Thanks for the tips guys! You've already prevented one of my inevitable mistakes - wrapping too early!

        What do you all do for leftovers? It's just me and my wife and while I'm sure none of my neighbors will complain if I bring over some brisket (if it's worthy of serving), I'm sure we'll have leftovers - probably more than we could eat in a day or two. We have a baby on the way, due in about a month, so having some brisket on hand to reheat for quick meals wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

        I have a vacmaster chamber vac, and plenty of bags. Would you go ahead, slice it all and vacuum pack it? or would it be better to it unsliced? Having pre-sliced portions for the amount I would freeze would be the easiest to reheat but i don't want to waste all the effort and wind up with dry or mushy brisket. For the non-frozen leftovers, is it better to just leave that unsliced, gently reheat in an oven and then slice? Any thoughts?

        Comment


        • radshop
          radshop commented
          Editing a comment
          Henrik +1

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          all of the above. done sliced with a bit of juice, pulled with a bit of juice, and whole. All keep well. Reheat in hot water, cut open and enjoy.

        • Polarbear777
          Polarbear777 commented
          Editing a comment
          Let it cool to room temp then, Slice and pack into portion size seal bags.
          Reheat whenever. Nice to have on hand.
      • Sephon
        Club Member
        • Jan 2017
        • 198
        • NW, PA
        • Setup
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          Favorites
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        #6
        GoDuke , good question about leftovers. I never slice a brisket until that piece is about to be eaten. That goes for the day of and all left overs. If you get in the good habit of slicing to order, not slicing the whole thing up at once, you will not lose all those juices. Brisket dries very quickly once sliced. I vacuum seal what we didn't slice, and it's good for months in the freezer.

        Comment


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          What he said! You're lucky to have that sealer!
      • East End Cowboy
        Club Member
        • May 2018
        • 8
        • East Hampton NY
        • East Hampton, NY
          WSM 22.5"
          Always in Search of the Perfect Brisket

        #7
        I’ve chopped up the leftovers and frozen them in vacuum bags, then simmer the chopped beef in BBQ sauce for sandwiches when we’re ready to use. Mix up the lean and fat together with emphasis on the lean and you get a nice sandwich, especially when topped with a little slaw and pickles on a warm bun! Also google “brisket Mac and cheese” and “brisket chili” recipes. There’s a lot of great ones out there.

        Comment

        • MeatMonster
          Club Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 655
          • Ellon, Aberdeenshire
          • I love beer, BBQ and rugby, just don't make me choose between them!

            GMG Jim Bowie
            ProQ Elite Smoker
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            Fast Eddy Cookshack 120
            Fast Eddy Cookshack 240

          #8
          Good luck and enjoy!

          Comment

          • GoDuke
            Club Member
            • Feb 2017
            • 18

            #9
            Trimmed it up tonight. I wish I could say I was artful about it, but it looked pretty ghastly when I was done On the underside of the flat, you can see where I had difficulty moving the silverskin and wound up cutting a little divot into the meat.

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            The processor didn't do me any favors with some definite deep cuts into the meat. This is a cut basically all the way through the meat but it did help me figure out how thick the fat cap was there.

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            This is the fat cap. you can see a few areas where I trimmed it a little too deep. The big wound n the top of the picture where the fat cap is missing completely was like that from the package.

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            Anyway, I'm sure (hoping!?) it won't hurt the way it tastes in the end, but it was far from a pitmaster's job. She's all salted and back in the fridge where she'll remain until saturday night!

            Comment


            • texastweeter
              texastweeter commented
              Editing a comment
              Butchers cuts should be looked for at the store. I'm sure it will be fine.
          • Frank10231
            Club Member
            • Apr 2018
            • 60
            • California

            #10
            looking good. I am still learning brisket also and have only smoke maybe four. Keep us up to date on how it goes.

            Comment

            • HorseDoctor
              Charter Member
              • Sep 2014
              • 1147
              • Central Iowa

              #11
              That actually looks pretty darned good! At least you left a little fat cap on the top side! Don't worry so much about a little silverskin on a brisket. After all the time/temp it takes to get it to "probe tender" the silverskin has melted to gelatin and is a good thing. All different than cooking a hot & fast steak. Good luck & enjoy!

              Comment

              • texastweeter
                Club Member
                • Jul 2017
                • 2932
                • Republic of Texas

                #12
                Add MSG and a hit of phosphate to the injection (home made beef broth is the best). Use oak and mesquite pellets for the smoke. I like the at cap a little bigger, say 1/2 inch. Add a lot of chilis to the BBBR (I can supply some recipes if need be). With CAB select I use foil, anything higher and it is unbleached butcher paper. Don't wrap until bark is set, usually around 165ish. after it hits probe tender unwrap, save juice to use in your next batch of injection, and put back on the pit at "gimme all she's got Scotty" until the bark is crisp again (usually 20-30mins) Inject witht eh grain from the side with the broth mixture, and then come in from the top in the flat with some canola oil. Hold that bad boy for at least 4 hours, and then accept all the praise that you are due.

                Comment


                • texastweeter
                  texastweeter commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Oh, and skip the spritz.

                • East End Cowboy
                  East End Cowboy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  texastweeter that’s really interesting about that last unwrapped 30 minutes to firm up the bark. Haven’t seen that texhnique... does 30 mins really do the trick and is there any risk of overcooking?

                • texastweeter
                  texastweeter commented
                  Editing a comment
                  i usually have my cooker running about 300-350 with vents wide open to get good air flow. yes it does the trick (your time may vary) and I have never had one overcook as the internal drops dramatically when you open the crutch and all that evaporation starts to take off. East End Cowboy
              • GadjetGriller
                Club Member
                • Dec 2015
                • 754
                • Lubbock tx
                • I have 3 outdoor devices (plus a couple indoor items) Starting with the PBC, Faux Kamado Kooker,(Akorn metal Kamado) & Oklahoma Joe offset grill and smoker. I use the FireBoard WiFi Thermometer. IQ110 (heat control device for akorn) recently acquired a Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-INFRARED 3-in-1 Roaster, Smoker and Grill, I also have A Anova & Joule Sous Vide Wands and The Steakager ( a unit for Dry aging big hunks of meat!)

                #13
                East End Cowboy 30 min to that big hunk o meat isnt really gonna heat it up more. It does help the bark (heck just 10 min will help some )

                Comment


                • East End Cowboy
                  East End Cowboy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Got it! Thanks GadjetGriller and texastweeter!

                • Polarbear777
                  Polarbear777 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  After a cambro hold, I prefer to render the trimmed fat , heat to 400F and pour it slowly over top of the brisket at the end allowing it to drain away. Flash fries and forms up the bark. And is fun (do this outside and at arms length).
              • Mr. Bones
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                #14
                Leftover Brisket????

                Reckon I've never given th concept much of a thought, previous, like!

                Comment

                • GoDuke
                  Club Member
                  • Feb 2017
                  • 18

                  #15
                  So just got through with her. Unfortunately she came out a little chewier than I had hoped. Definitely wouldn't have passed the pull test. The flat just felt a little "tight" if that makes sense, like the fibers didn't separate easily from each other. The point was awesome and I wish I hadn't spent so much time sampling the flat in disappointment

                  Gave some out to neighbors and had about half of the point/flat section for leftovers.

                  For the details, I smoked her on the extreme smoke setting for 2.5 hours last night. At first the rec tec wouldn't go below 275, but I played with the auger feed rate and propped open the door to get the temp down to 200. I wanted the meat to absorb as much smoke as possible so I was trying to keep the meat cold and wet. I spritzed about every 30-45 minutes with apple juice and then turned it up to 225 at 9:15.

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                  Wrapped her a little early at around 158d because I had to get my daughter up and take care of her. Left it wrapped and cooking until around 197, when it felt probe tender (perhaps I was wrong and should have gone to 205).

                  Rested it for 2.5 hours in a cambro and then sliced it up

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                  When I was slicing, I wasn't exactly sure which direction the grain was, hence my slicing pattern. I eventually realized she was just a little tough...

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                  Comment


                  • EdF
                    EdF commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Guess you'll be needing more practice this summer! Next weekend? ;-)

                    That's the nice thing about Q. You keep getting better at it, and even disappointments are very edible!

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