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Brisket Practice...in Search of the Perfect Bark, Tenderness, & Taste

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    Brisket Practice...in Search of the Perfect Bark, Tenderness, & Taste

    OK, so I'm pretty happy with my ribs. They were the first, and how I found AR, and I've cooked a couple hundred racks now, and used the same recipe (Last Meal Ribs without the finish glaze, and with more Memphis Dust (about 3 Oz's per rack).

    And I'm really liking the Butt's we've been cooking. I shoot for lots of cool bark, a cool smoke ring to make the meat look like BBQ should, and make that taste sing!
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    And the chicken has been super tasty, Simon & Garfunkel style, and is the absolute favorite of several of my friends.

    Now I'm down to the hardest meat to cook, in my experience, Brisket! I'm cooking 1-2 briskets each of the last few weekends, and have 2 aging in the icebox outside for me to cook this weekend.

    I've been getting better at trying to get that 1/4 inch fat cap, so as to leave some fat to make that tasty bite of bark, when the fat is quite rendered and the rub, the fat and the meat all come together in that perfect bite!

    I found that I was trimming to many bald spots onto my meat, and over a long cook, it dried out too much. The Bark would get too hard on the edges when there was very little fat nearby.

    So, my practice is paying off, and I'm getting better at cutting that fat better.

    I really DO NOT enjoy getting a big wad of fat on my plate when I get served brisket. I hear from some top people, such as the Ever Awesome Tuffy Stone, that they put their packers on the cooker untrimmed at his restaurant, and do the trimming of the fat on the cutting table. That is an efficient way to do it, but looses that perfect bark, I'm guessing. I watched Aaron Franklin's video on trimming a brisket (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...IHod5u9Zz3VwJL), and found it quite helpful.

    I've not made it to Aaron's restaurant yet, and that's not because I don't think the best BBQ in Texas isn't worth waiting 4 hours for, IT IS! But I have made it to Texas Monthly's 2nd rated restaurant, Pecan Lodge, and about 10 other top joints on TM's top 50. The best of them make that Fat on the Bark sing.

    Combine that with the new StickBurner that has joined theRibList family, and you have a recipe for Brisket fun.

    Last Sunday's Brisket was my best version yet, mainly due to the better trim job on the brisket.
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    I cooked it fat side up, since on the offset the airflow is hotter on the top side than on the bottom side. And the bark and fat were nice.
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    The Point is the reason I want to cook Brisket.

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    But the flat is fun as well!

    1.) What is your target fat amount to leave on? 1/4 inch?

    2.) How successful are you at achieving that across the brisket?

    3.) How many of you trim off all that silverskin on the non-fat-cap side? Do you find a difference if you leave it on?

    4.) How hot are you cooking your briskets?

    5.) Do any of you vary temps during the cook? I've heard of guys cooking it at a lower temp, like 190, for 4 hours, so get the smoke in there (and smoke ring), then turning it up to 275 for the rest of their cook (8 hours ish), then resting. I'm not that good yet.

    6.) What else am I not asking for you big brisket producers (@Jerod Broussard) that makes a difference in your brisket?

    This is so fun!

    Attached Files

    Paul I try to get the fat down to 1/8-1/4" on the flat. I try to get just about all of it off the point, except for some of that "arm pit" fatty skin on the back of the point, that already has minimal thickness.

    I don't try to get the "silver skin" off for a couple reasons. 1. It cooks down due to being mostly clear. 2. It ain't got nothing on the real silver skin you must remove when messing with back strap and rib roasts.

    I do remove any excess fat deposits on top of the flat.

    I've done briskets from just over 200 to 333. No matter the temp, them cheap Selects must have a good warm rest. Or just let them cool off at room temp, chill, and reheat to at least 165 internal. The good Choice I can find aren't as picky, but still enjoy the same routine as the Selects.

    I cook to bark, which mean some don't get wrapped, but most get wrapped around 170-180 internal. I shoot for about 205 internal and call it quits on these wolly world briskets. They all come out fine, with proper rest.

    Yours looks FANTASTIC!!!!


      Not an expert by a long shot, but I trim the fat cap to about 1/8. To me brisket is like 2 different steaks, the point is the ribeye and has all of the juicy fatty goodness and the flat is a little bit drier sirloin. People who come over that like a little fat get the point, dainty figure-watching folks get the flat. Personally the best slices to me are the ones in my avatar, the last of the flat as it joins the point.
      I cook 275 the whole way because that is what the PBC likes and doing a couple at 225 didn't seem any different to me.
      I didn't see mention of injecting, I usually hang mine so the flat can get really dry hanging down near the coal basket so I always inject the flat, rarely the point.


        I agree with Jerod... yours looks great. I would not be unhappy with that.


          Originally posted by Jerod Broussard View Post

          I've done briskets from just over 200 to 333.
          Uh, Jerod, would that be 233 perhaps?

          And thanks for the tips. When you talk about brisket I definitely listen!



          • Guy
            Guy commented
            Editing a comment
            Me too. Except I don't have a PBC only a WSM 18.

          Looks good to me! What time is dinner?


            fzxdoc no, those are pit temps.

            That B & B can really hum.

            I tried to comment in your post at work, but the smartphone wouldn't allow me to do so.

            I'm cooking for a fundraiser next week. Coking brisket and cutting grass, nice vacation.
            Last edited by Jerod Broussard; March 19, 2015, 02:07 PM.


            • fzxdoc
              fzxdoc commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the clarification, Jerod.

            Brisket at Tupelo was a Snake River Farms Gold. I completely separated the point from the flat and did an extreme fat trim. Beef started off at almost 13 pounds and I'd bet I cut off 6 pounds or more. I don't mess with the skin on the nonfat side of the flat. I think it gives the bark a bit of cohesiveness when you take a knife to slice it. Besides it's a pain to get that off cleanly. The darkness of your brisket makes me think you're doing it Texas style. Looks really good sliced.

            I placed in Tupelo, but I think I got lucky. 8/94 but looking at the photo, I see injection marks. It wasn't so evident to the naked eye. I'm going off the needle for Hammond, LA on March 27-28. I overcooked my burnt ends and they weren't tasty so I tossed them.
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            • Jerod Broussard
              Jerod Broussard commented
              Editing a comment
              I had a 19.95 pounder last year that was 10 lbs after fat trimming. I see a peep hole on the left end of that front slice.

              Just recently I lost about 28% to fat trimming. That ain't too shabby.

            • PaulstheRibList
              PaulstheRibList commented
              Editing a comment
              CandySueQ, that looks great!

            Thanks for the feedback, CurlingDog CandySueQ Jerod Broussard fzxdoc smarkley _John_

            CandySueQ, yes, Texas Style! This one was just salt and pepper rub.

            I'm a little obsessed with getting that bark and tenderness that I found at the best TX BBQ joints I've been to, Lockhart Smokehouse and Pecan Lodge in Dallas, Louie Muller near Austin. This week was my best progress toward that goal.

            I'm about to break out the pair of Choice brisket's that have been in the cooler for a couple of weeks, and trim and dry brine them. Cooking one for Saturday and the other for Sunday.


            • fzxdoc
              fzxdoc commented
              Editing a comment
              Let us know how they turn out, Paul. The brisket you showed in this topic looks amazing. With that under your belt, you might just knock it right out of the ballpark with your upcoming brisketfest. Good smoking to you!


            Have you followed the paper wrapping theory for brisket?


            • PaulstheRibList
              PaulstheRibList commented
              Editing a comment
              I've heard some, but not practiced it. i'm about to head to the grocery store and will look for some butcher paper.

              Do you have some tips on it?

              I'm cooking one tonight.

            • Guy
              Guy commented
              Editing a comment
              Where is the paper wrapping theory?

            OK, I apparently totally slept through my 4 am alarm clock, and brisket is now on for a 30 hour dry brine, and a cook tomorrow night (if the rain is not horrible).

            I'm giving away Ribs for 50 certificate to be auctioned off at a Fundraiser for the local homeless shelter, so I'll cook some ribs and chicken for tasters this afternoon, while the brisket gets better and better, @Dr_Blonder style


              PaulstheRibList , you're definitely on a roll, Paul! Cooks are looking great. By the way, what stick burner are you using?



              • PaulstheRibList
                PaulstheRibList commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank you, Ray. It's a 22 inch pipe stick-burner, built at a local welding shop. Looks like it was modeled after a Yoder Witicha, but with thicker steel (1/2 firebox, 3/8 cooking chamber).

              I dry-brined and put some wonderful Meathead Big Bad Beef Rub on these Friday night, so they've had a good 32 hour salt bath, and now, 3 am sharp, they hit my stickburner. A pair of Choice Briskets. Tried to leave 1/4 inch fat cap, cooking fat side (the hotter side on the stickburner) up.

              In looking at Dr. Blonder's video, I'm wondering if some charcoal in the beginning of a stickburner cook would help with the smoke ring?

              In any event, there's charcoal and Pecan in the firebox, and a nice 12-14 hour cook had begun.

              I'm going to try wrapping in paper, Modeling after some Aaron Franklin, on this cook, although I could not find butcher paper, and settled for Parchment Paper from Sams.

              #Fun #theRibList
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                Morning update from about 4.5 hours in!


                  Well...Brisket Success! The fat cap up rendered and was this tight, tasty beautiful delight!

                  Trimmed to approx 1/4 inch fat cap. Put on 1/2 tsp Kosher per pound, and Meathead Big Bad Beef Rub Friday night, so I ended up with a 30 hour dry-brine. Planned on cooking one each night, but due to rain, cooked both last night, starting at 3 am on the Offset Smoker.

                  Smoked with Pecan, target temp from 250-270. Trying to get the temps a little higher to get see if that renders the fat a little more thoroughly. I'm liking it so far, more like that delicious fat bark I found at Lockhart's Smokehouse, and Pecan Lodge in Dallas.
                  Here is where we started at 3 am.
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                  About 4.5 hours in, they are taking shape. I'm noticing that the tails curl up in the early stages of the cook, and a puddle of liquid pools there. At the end of the cook, they seemed to level out. I guess the muscles released.
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                  I took CandySueQ suggestion and went for wrapping in Butcher Paper. I could only find Parchment Paper, and so I wrapped them about 11 hours into the cook. I had to leave for a couple hours, and the fire had died down some, pit temp of 175, so I don't know what the internal temp's were at their peak. I kept the pit at cooking temp for about 12.5 hours, and then let it cool, the twins resting in their paper cocoons for around 2.5+ hours at 150-170.
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                  The parchment paper seemed to work great, and the drippings from the brisket held tight in there. Of course I captured the au jous, though I never needed it. I'm going to freeze it, about 4 oz., for some marvelous use.
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                  To the cutting board!!

                  This is pretty! I cooked them Fat Side Up, and the Smoke Ring did penetrate through.
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                  You have to carve a while, but soon enough you get to the money...I love Point! My daughters are ballerina's, and they dance on Pointe, so maybe there is a correlation.
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                  Yes, of course I also cooked a rack of ribs on the WSM!
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                  I had 6 friends come over and pick up some Brisket for their families, and sent them home smiling. All the texts back were from satisfied guests. Yeah!!! I'm going to practice some more soon.

                  Attached Files


                  • Huskee
                    Huskee commented
                    Editing a comment


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