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My Plan for First Brisket Cook!

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    My Plan for First Brisket Cook!

    This weekend, I plan on cooking my first brisket on my 18.5 inch WSM! Based on the "homework" I’ve done, here’s the plan I’ve put together for the cook. I am curious if what I’ve got is a good plan, if there are any roadblocks I’ll run into, anything I’m leaving out, etc. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide!

    Smoked Brisket

    12 pound USDA Choice Angus Brisket.

    Cooking Plan:
    • Thursday night
      • Trim the brisket
      • Separate the point and flat.
      • Dry brine w/salt
      • Optional: go ahead and do a layer of seasoning
    • Friday Night
      • Earlier in the evening: Get the smoker all set up for use, foil laid out, etc.
      • 10:00pm - fire up the Smoker
      • 11:00pm - put on Brisket @ 225-250 degrees
        • Point/flat can be on the same grate, if possible. If not, put point on top/flat on bottom
        • Put probe in the flat
      • Set pit temperature alarms for 215 low and 275 high
      • Set meat alarm for 160
    • Saturday
      • Whenever temp hits 150-160ish (maybe 8:00am or so?)
        • Wrap in foil
        • Put back on smoker for as long as the it will maintain the necessary heat
        • When/if necessary: move inside to oven at 230-240ish
      • When flat hits 203
        • Take flat off smoker/out of oven.
        • Place in cooler, wrapped in numerous towels with probe still in. Let rest until temp drops to 140-150 degrees
        • Start making the burnt ends with the point. Make sure the temp
        • On the point is around 195ish before cutting to make burnt ends
      • When the point hits 195ish (while flat is resting in the cooler): Making the burnt ends:
        • Let the point rest for about 30 minutes-1 hour (depending on how soon we need to eat) wrapped, in the cooler with the flat.
        • After 30 minutes to an hour in the cooler, Take the point out and cut into half inch cubes
        • Put the cubes in a disposable aluminum pan
        • Add a layer of big bad beef rub and about 1 cup of bbq sauce
        • Mix it up, and put another light layer of rub on top.
        • Put the whole pan back on the heat for another 1-2 hours (perhaps until flat is done resting?)
      • 5:00ish: Slice/serve Brisket/burnt ends
    Last edited by NotTheGolfer; January 18, 2021, 03:49 PM.

    I can't really speak to the timing. I've not tried to smoke a brisket overnight.
    There are folks here that have forgotten more about brisket than I know, but I'd say two things.

    First, wrap when the bark is how you want it, not at a certain temp. I like to wrap my briskets in butcher paper instead of foil. But that's a whole other can of worms.

    Second, take the flat off the smoker, and put into the cooler when it's "probe tender", not at a certain temp. 203 is a good idea, but it might be tender before that.

    Third, (bc I'm good at counting) - it doesn't hurt to hold longer than an hour. I think holding longer, helps.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Be sure to post pics!


      Looks like you’ve done your homework. I don’t have a WSM and I don’t separate the point from the flat on my packers, so I can’t comment specifically on those parts. A couple of things to keep in mind, in addition to your target internal temps, also keep checking the meat for probe tenderness. I’ve had briskets be probe tender and have that jiggle you want at 195 and others that I’ve had to take up to 210.

      Sounds like you’re leaving yourself plenty of time, which is good. Assuming that it will only take X number of hours has burned me more than once! In fact, I picked up a trick here in the Pit a few years ago where I prep a rack or two of ribs to throw on the smoker ~1100 or noon to serve in case my brisket decides it’s not ready yet. That’s the other lesson I learned. The brisket decides when it’s done, not the pitmaster. Lol.

      Good luck!!! Looking forward to seeing pictures of and hearing how it turns out! I’m sure it will be good!


        RickyBobby hit the nail on the head, The brisket decides when its done....
        You can time these cooks till your blue in the face but its inside temps that dictates when the meat is done.
        And there will be a stall, its how long that stall lasts is the wild card in all this.
        If its a long stall you may want to up your cook temp.
        I would heed BFlynn and plan for a longer hold, I hold my briskets for 3-4 hours minimum.
        You gotta start someplace so give your plan a go but be prepared for curve balls.
        Good luck


          Sounds like a plan. I have a 18.5 WSM too, and I do all of my briskets overnight. I generally don't wrap unless my coals run out and I have to move it to the oven to finish. That has only happened a couple of times. And I don't separate the point from the flat. I keep saying I am going to do that, but I am lazy. The guys that have commented are right about the timing - probe tender instead of just temps. I had a small brisket a couple of years ago that went 16 hours all on the WSM (I didn't have access to an oven, so I had to add coals about 12 hours in). I don't remember the exact temps when I took it off, but I think it was around 210 or so.

          I almost always make this as well:


          I keep some simmering on the stove and baste it once an hour for the first 4 or 5 hours. I usually use butter instead of rendered fat. Again, because I am too lazy to render the fat down. One of these days...

          I do pretty long cambro holds - I am usually delivering some to my Mom and she lives a few hours away, so my holds run to the 4 hour range.
          Last edited by klflowers; January 18, 2021, 04:23 PM.


          • klflowers
            klflowers commented
            Editing a comment
            BFlynn, thanks for making me jealous. The trim on the last brisket I did was so severe that I may have well have separated the two, but since it wasn't for me I just left it attached. I have to get busy on the pastrami front; I haven't made any in months.

          • Loren
            Loren commented
            Editing a comment
            I leave the fat and trim post cook now, and then use the fat for frying eggs, bacon, grilled cheese sammiches, beans.

            I'm too lazy to separate it before I smoke it...plus afterwards it's easier to cut and has smoke flavor 😎

          • RickyBobby
            RickyBobby commented
            Editing a comment
            BFlynn , like klflowers , I too am now jealous and also a touch ashamed as I am WAY behind on my pastrami game!! I need to raise it a few levels on my list! Loren , you have inspired me! I never separate my briskets either, but I never thought of keeping a bunch of that delicious fat AFTER it has been smoked for use in other dishes. Well played. Well played.

          A few things to add, although all the above commentary is great.

          - The only reason I can see for separating point and flat is that you want to and/or to make it easier to make burnt ends. I never separate them. That size will fit just fine on your WSM.

          - I don't ever wrap, unless I see that I need to hurry the cook.

          - I like to hold a brisket in faux cambro or warm in the oven for 2-3 hours, seems to come out much better that way.


          • Loren
            Loren commented
            Editing a comment
            I liked, but I also wanted to add "what he said" 🙃

          wow. I see a man with a plan. Can't wait to see the results. Good cookin!


            I’m not nearly as experienced as many in here with brisket. I have a 22 wsm, and also smoke on my 26 kettle. I sleep like a baby with my briskets on the smoker, and my 26bkettle. I have yet to separate the point, but, others in here do, with success. Best way to learn, is to light the fire and say, go! It is really not an intimidating cook at all, really quite simple in a wsm. Love to wrap with butcher paper, after the stall, when I have the bark I want. I do not wrap to expedite the cook, I wrap, to get a better bark. Sounds counter productive, but, I get an improved bark, once it is wrapped, and I have what I wanted already. Which tends to be more towards the 180 plus range.
            Last edited by Richard Chrz; January 18, 2021, 06:29 PM.


              Thanks for the great commentary from everybody! I have one stupid question: What is "probe tender," and how do you check that? I have a feeling this is a "duh" answer...


              • Richard Chrz
                Richard Chrz commented
                Editing a comment
                No stupid questions here, except for the ones not asked. When you probe various areas to test the doneness with your thermometer, it will feel like probing through warm butter. That tells you the fat has rendered, and time to rest it for 2-4 hours.

              • STEbbq
                STEbbq commented
                Editing a comment
                Usually when temp is 190+

              • Richard Chrz
                Richard Chrz commented
                Editing a comment
                Give yourself some space, more you do the long renders, you are working on rendering fat, not cooking meat (kind of), y0u will slide in a probe sometime and you’re going to say, yeah! That’s what I’m

              You got the Plan.
              Plan your cook, and cook your plan.
              CAUTION -- BBQ is addicting! You might get hooked.


              • STEbbq
                STEbbq commented
                Editing a comment
                And PBR?

              Doing your first brisket is like buying your first house. The first one is the tough one, after that they get easier, sometimes waaay easier. You have a great plan, roll with it, learn from it, then apply lessons learned and adjust to your desired outcome. I do humbly submit my favorite BE recipe: https://jesspryles.com/recipe/best-e...et-burnt-ends/


              • Richard Chrz
                Richard Chrz commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for sharing that recipe

              • Stuey1515
                Stuey1515 commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for sharing that site Cap'n, huge collection of carnivore recipes and I notice Jess is an ex-pat as well!!!

              Lots of great advice here. I’ll agree that probe tender is when it’s "done"...typically the more lean a cut is the higher that temp is. The Prime packers I get from Costco are often done in the mid/high-190s. Pull too soon and it’ll be tough; too late and it will fall apart (although shredded brisket still tastes delicious).

              Wrapping only happens when the bark is the color I want it...never by time or temp. I use butcher paper.

              A long hold never hurts. Toss it in a warm oven if your faux-Cambro isn’t holding heat as long as you need. I’ve held brisket in a warm oven for 12 hours and it came out great!

              Following the sage advice of Aaron Franklin, brisket is the only cut I don’t dry brine. While the smoker is coming up to temp I trim the brisket, hit it with equal parts coarse kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, and throw it straight in the pit! No other seasoning required.

              You’ve done your homework, and that significantly increases your odds of having it come out good. Happy smoking, and good luck with your first brisket.


                I don’t have a wsm but I’m assuming the lower grate runs higher temp? You want the flat on whichever grate is a lower temp.


                • ecowper
                  ecowper commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The bottom grate actually runs at a lower temp due to the effect of the water pan. I always run single grate cooks on the top grate and have my fire management tuned for the top grate. When I end up using both grates, that will mean that my top grate is around 250F and my bottom grate is around 230F.

                One thing I’d do also, make notes of this cook! Write down everything in order of what you did along with times, internal temps of the brisket, and grate temps during the cook, what rub you used, quality of the brisket (choice or prime) etc. This will come in handy for future cooks till you get your process down later. You’ll be glad you did.

                EDIT: I would recommend using pink butcher paper instead of foil. It helps the brisket breathe a little better and preserves the bark better than foil.
                Last edited by Panhead John; January 19, 2021, 11:52 AM.


                • Santamarina
                  Santamarina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Can’t stress enough how important good notes are!!!

                Does anybody know about how much time separating the point and flat knocks off the cook as a whole?


                • Panhead John
                  Panhead John commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don’t know that it would make much difference at all. I’d go with your regular plan. The flat might be done a little quicker though. I’ve never separated them.....and then cooked them both at the same time.


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