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First time brisket

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    jitsntricks Congrats on your first brisket cook. I have a WSM also and have done several briskets on it. I’m a proponent of using the water pan, especially for your first brisket. The water in the pan will help to maintain more stable cooking temps as well as provide a little moisture for your meat. With a prime grade brisket, you’re going to have a little less to worry about with drying out, because of the intramuscular fat running through it. There’s 2 camps on the fat side up or down. Honestly I’ve done both ways and haven’t noticed a difference. I’ve never injected my brisket before, so I can’t comment if it’s best or not. I prefer not to introduce any flavors into the meat, except for a kosher salt and pepper rub. With a Prime brisket, let the flavor of the meat shine through, without an injection. When you’ve reached an internal temp of 200-203, be sure and let it rest, wrapped, for at least 1 or 2 hours, in a 170 degree oven or wrapped in towels in an empty ice chest. This will help with the final taste and create more moisture retention.
    Last edited by Panhead John; March 7, 2021, 03:57 PM.


    • jitsntricks
      jitsntricks commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks. That helps! Do you find that a full water pan aids or hinders bark formation?

    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Mine has always had a good bark with the water pan. You can always smoke the last hour without water in the pan, I’ve done that before also. Sometimes the water will evaporate before the end of the cook and I’ll just leave it dry for the end of the cook. If you still have water in the pan toward the end and you want to empty it, just be sure and put the pan back in place to deflect the direct heat.

    • klflowers
      klflowers commented
      Editing a comment
      Usually by the last few hours of the cook the water pan is empty anyway. I just don’t refill it. I have a 18 “ wsm too.

    Originally posted by jitsntricks View Post
    Your 1st brisket looks great! I'm sure it tasted great as well! I hope mine turns out that well when I go for it.
    I had a question for the rest of the forum (sorry, not trying to hijack your post).
    When I get ready for my brisket, I'm going to do the trimming the day before and salt it the day before and let it sit in the fridge over night to let the salt penetrate. I plan on doing my first brisket on my WSM 18", but I have a couple questions.
    1. should I cook it fat side up? Most videos I see (mainly Harry Soo) it's put on the cooker fat side up. Does this matter?
    2. Also going along with Harry Soo's recommendations he says that he doesn't use any water in the pan during the cook. What are you experiences with that? I know that it'll take a bit more fuel, but I'm planning on finishing the brisket in the oven anyway as Harry say's "BTU is BTU is BTU".
    3. I'm playing around with the idea of injection. Thoughts? I'm unsure of this because I'm going to make sure my brisket is prime grade to help avoid dryness as much as possible.
    Thanks for any input!
    I just smoked a 6.5 lb brisket point yesterday and can share a few tips on what I did, for whatever it’s worth. Note that I was cooking on a WSM.

    I didn’t put any water in the pan, as I was intentionally targeting a cooking temp in the 285-300 range. I used to use water and smoke my briskets at around 240-250. Then a couple of years ago I had a situation where the temp got away from me a little and kept running close to 300 (I was cooking on a new WSM at the time and was still using the flimsy door that came with it).

    I was worried the brisket would be a mess but then two things happened. First, I never hit the stall so I was able to skip the Texas crutch and the cook time was a little shorter (still took around 8 hours).

    And second, because I didn’t do the crutch, the bark was nice and firm while the meat itself was extremely tender and easy to slice through after cooking to an internal temp of 203 and letting it rest for 2 hours. I honestly saw no meaningful difference in tenderness and tasted no meaningful difference in smoke flavor compared to my prior brisket cooks.

    So since then, I’ve skipped the water and gone for the 285-300 range, and it’s worked well every time (including yesterday). I haven’t finished it in the oven, I keep it in the smoker for the full cook and just wait until I hit 203 internal before removing.

    To help keep the meat from drying out, I do both a dry brine and an injection of beef broth. I use a pretty high quality cut of meat (I buy straight from a local farm) and the beef broth doesn’t mess it up. Especially since I’m cooking at a higher temperature and not wrapping, I want to make sure the moisture is there to be safe.

    Attached are some pictures from yesterday’s cook including the final product. The brisket point came out really tender with good smoke flavor, was on the smoker for 8 hours and rested for another 3.

    Attached Files


      Hello! I have some tips for you to must consider for grilling and smoking of briskets:

      When selecting meat for smoking you should know:
      • Composition (the fat, muscle, bone, and cartilage content of the cut)
      • Color (white, dark, Mix)
      • Texture (grain structure)
      Don't flip your meat:

      Flipping your meat means you’re opening up your grill or smoker and that is generally not advised.

      Don’t put salt in your rub:

      Rubs are a great way to enhance the flavor of your meat. Some meats call for just a sprinkle of rub, some need to be coated.

      If you’re smoking ribs, remove the membrane:

      Removing the paper-thin membrane on the bone side of ribs will ensure your guests won’t be gnawing at their food. When smoked, the membrane gets extremely rubber
      Last edited by Jerod Broussard; March 21, 2021, 02:25 PM. Reason: link



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