Skip to main content

Since acquiring a FEC100 a few weeks ago I'm on a mission, hoping to perfect competition winning brisket. I've read in this, and other Que forums that comp teams prefer large packers in the 15 lb weight range. Trouble is, I'm having a dickens of a time finding choice packers above 12 lbs. The nearest Costco and Sam's Club are 1.5 hrs away. BJ's is close by but they only carry 6-8 lb flats. So I guess my first question would be, do you folks have a difficult time finding heavier packers?

Question 2: Until I can find a source for 15 lb packers, are there any tips relative to smoking a smaller (12 lb) packer? I've recently tried the two stage (160 @ 5 hrs, 250 hold) My intention was to foil at 165 but when I checked the FEC 10 hrs later, the temp was 195. End result was great flavor, maybe could have taken the temp up to 200 for more tenderness but I thought the meat was a bit lacking in moisture. I did inject with Butchers. Any other suggestions?

Thanks folks!
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Well, Brisket is my worst category for the four so not sure how much you want to learn from me (although everyone has tried to help, it's just not my category...yet)

Maybe Tom or Butcher will join in with some info. Butcher finished 2nd in TOY in Brisket.

I know the guys that love those big ones, but I rarely see them and I live in the middle of Beef Country.

What matters most to me is the area I'll be slicing from (and I do know that before I cook it) so I look for thickness more than overall weight.

Although I do like heavier because I get a bigger point and more burnt ends.

The total duration is of course a function of size, shape, fat in the brisket, so checking it at 10 hours was probably a little long. If you smoke for 5, I'd check at 8 hours. With a little practice and taking notes you'll get it close to when you need to wrap.

My thoughts on moisture would be wrap it sooner if that's what you do and inject more butchers. Butchers should have given you plenty of moisture, although the quality of the beef is a biggie on that one
I'm no expert,but I have cooked with several. ,and I'm still looking for that fellow that has the prizewinning secrets on comp briskets. Big Grin

Answer one is :Yes,always.

Yours probably come from restaurant suppliers,and chefs prefer small-as they may braise,slice,present,easier to handle,leftovers,etc.

If you have a SYSCO supplier,they may have prime,and can order "heavy" cases?Save the bigs for comps,develop menu items for the rest.

15-18 lbs may have better slices,to plate/presentation box,and comp cooks throw the rest away,anyhow.

Comp cooks could cook three to six large packers,all prepared the same,to select the one "best" to present. Eeker

If you have a "quality purveyor",your 12 pounders might be 15 pounders ,trimmed down for restaurant?

I realize that it defies logic,but a "lower level choice" may get more tender/juicier by cooking that few extra degrees. Confused

...or just get worse.

You know, that not all parts of braising meats will be the same quality,and the larger packers give you that better shot of the better slices..

Too long slices may have the sides trimmed to present,anyway ,and might be dry.

As to 195º internal,even with a several hr hold in a cambro,we, personally, may have less than 10% come tender/juicy.

As you know,that few seconds core check in the loin,doesn't really tell how far down the grade a packer might be.

If you can find CAB,or prime packers,do two tests,two packers each.

All the way at 225º,the second cook-all the way at 250º.

In each cook,foil one of the packers at 170º.

Hold 3-4 hrs in cambro.

To your experienced palate,also VERY important,do some taste like beef,do some have a "pot roasty" flavor and mouth feel?

Until the experts chime in,this might get you started. Wink
Smokin', Tom & Coach...thanks for chiming in. I chatted today with a bud (Coach...Clay who did our wedding) who runs two BBQ joints here in Vermont. His consensus is similar...east of cattle country, it's almost impossible to find packers over 12 lbs.

I guess you learn to live with what the good Lord provides so I'll just adjust my techniques accordingly.

And yes Coach, next time I'll haul my butt outta bed a few hours earlier Smiler
I can go on for a few paragraphs about your process and try to explain moisture cooking out of meat. End result would I will say wrap your briskets when internal temp is 160.

Half of the briskets I cooked last year in comps were average 12 to 14 pounds. I do cook a large ones but I have no problem with a smaller one either. Each piece of meat reacts different so tend to each piece separately.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.