After many failed, dry briskets I finally hit the mark and made one that was nice and moist (thanks Max)! Hands down the best brisket I've ever smoked! I'm so perplexed because I've done about 5 briskets prior to this where I wrapped in butcher paper at stall each time, yet this most recent one I did was the most tender and I did zero wrapping. Just set it at 240F and let it ride until thickest part of flat hit 200F 13 hours later. My theory is that it's because I was able to monitor temps more accurately (didn't have to remove brisket from smoker, wrap in paper, and then guess where thickest part of flat was through the butcher paper. That, and the injection). My only critical observation was that the seam fat running through the center of the point didn't render optimally. I basically had to cut the point in half horizontally to remove that big layer of fat. What are your thoughts on how to better render? Turn up the heat in the smoker about halfway through from 240F to ~270F? Or not worth it given that it may dry the rest of the brisket out?
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Not a brisket expert (maybe cal will chime in) but I'd say if the meat was tender and juicy throughout, forget about further rendering. It all depends on the specific piece of meat, IMO. I seem to remember Smokin' Okie's recipe of rub with salt and pepper, put in smoker, wait until 200 - 205, and remove. No brine, no wrap, great bark and just real beef flavor. The few briskets I've had luck with were done that way.
Don't know much more about brisket than Jay, but would be glad to ramble on what I've had the pleasure to experience....
My brisket cooking got much better when I got more selective on what I picked to cooked. I like prime grade, but have had good results in being very selective on choice briskets. The better the grade the higher finish temp seemed to be, not that I really worry about a certain finish temp. Seems to me, that the higher temp I ran my pit at, also resulted in a higher finish temp....it just got done faster though.
As far as the fat seem, I remove the fat cap from the point, and try to remove some of it from the seem(to expose the point). Not a proven fact, but by removing fat cap off the point, I think you get more of the seem to render, and you'll never have the concern of drying out the point. So I basically have the fat cap off of 2/3rds of the meat/point on the bottom, if that makes any sense.
I too love Butchers injection, at home, I use the original at about 2/3rds the strength and add a tablespoon of beef base and a tablespoon of Worcester sauce. inject cross grain at a 45* angle while pulling the needle out. I don't inject the point either.
I do wrap with foil for an added flavor, but I like to do it later then most folks and I want my marinade warmed up first. I use a modified "Rick's Sinful Marinade", you can google that beer marinade. Make sure you use a full body beer, I prefer Shiner's beer.
Thanks Cal! Out of curiosity, why don't you inject the point? Is it because there's already plenty of fat to keep it moist?
Also, what does wrapping in foil late into the smoke accomplish in terms of flavor? I always thought people did this to preserve moisture.
I know people have been arguing about this for decades, but I am still curious anyway. Are you guys doing fat side up or down?
I do wrap earlier at comps, but for home cooking 170*-75* is what we prefer. Not so much the moisture, cause I have a good quality brisket and has had phosphates injected into it. While at comps judges don't mark down for the lack of bark and we dredge our slices for added flavor, but at home I like a nice flavored bark. The wrapping later lets the sweating process build a better bark and while it's not a proven fact, I feel that you don't lose as much flavor out of wrapping by doing it at that time.
You can tell the difference in texture of the meat by which temp you wrap at, it will be more pot roast texture if you wrap quicker...yes it may hold at little more moisture, but not a considerable amount.
Yeah, lots of fat in the point that needs rendering and phosphates tend to slow that process down or at least I feel it does.
As far as fat cap, I like it between the brisket and the fire....if you are cooking at higher temps, you may need to flip it though, especially if you run it naked all the way. When cooking on the electric I run it at 240* and on the FEC I cook at 180* for 8hrs and then run at 260*. The 180* is for timing purposes and adding more smoke to the insulated cooker.
Cal, every time you post, I get another little nuance (or six) that I didn't know before. Thanks!
I am just a home cook, but do cook for a party once a year. The big cook is 4 to 5 packer briskets. I us Choice grade briskets, but do a good job of sorting them. I trim the fat cap down to about 1/4", and remove as much of the hard fat as I can. Season with Wild Willy's dry rub, and let the briskets sit in the fridge from 8 to 24 hours. I run a SMO-66 smoker. Cold briskets in a cold smoker to start. I use 4 to 6 oz. of what ever wood strikes me. I start the smoker at 200 degrees because I want to get as much smoke on them as I can before the IT of the meat hits 140 degrees. I usually do another load of wood before the IT is 140 degrees. I turn the smoker temp. up to 220, and let it run until bed time, and then turn it down to 210 over night. When I get up, the smoker temp is turned up to 250 to 275 degrees, and runs until the brisket hits 190 degrees IT. At this point I use a tooth pick to test for doneness. When the tooth pick goes into the brisket like it was warm butter, they are done. Sometimes this is 190 degrees, up to 205 degrees. The smoke usually takes 24 hours. When the briskets are done, I put them in disposable pans, and cover the pans with foil place them in a warm ice chest for up to 4 hours. The longer the better.