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I have a Cooshack 025 elite (the model right before they added the temperature probe). I've been smoking ribs, butts, almonds, salmon, turkey, chicken, meatloaf, etc with great success for the past 4 years.

I've never done a brisket, mostly because they seem to be exceptionally difficult to find here in Vancouver, Canada, or are super expensive -$7-8 a pound.

Finally lucked out and found a wholesale meat place and picked up a 11.44 pound packer brisket, untrimmed, for $2.75 a pound. Not sure of the grade, as it didn't say on the cryovac, just said made in Alberta, which is the Texas equivalent in Canada. (Grew up on a dairy/beef farm, so I know my meat).

I read numerous posts here and watched several videos before deciding how to proceed.

I did some trimming, based on a video Smokin' Okie posted here where he did a bit of trimming for a competition. I made sure not to be too liberal in doing so and removed 1.44 pounds of fat - just the real hard stuff that was super thick on the point and some around the edges.

I used a mixture of 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup black peppercorns, 1/4 cup paprika, and 1/2 cup no-salt seasoning from Costco (has about 10 different spices). I have about 1/5 of the mixture leftover. I ground that up in my Nutribullet until it was a very fine powder. I did apply a small amount of mustard on the brisket and applied the rub generously. I let the brisket rest for 6 hours on my apartment balcony. I saw some videos scoring the fat, etc, but I wanted to KISS and didn't bother based on comments here.

Placed the brisket on the top shelf, fat side down and point to the back right - had to angle it to fit. I used 3 oz EACH of mesquite and hickory (5.95 ounces total - per digital scale). Set the smoker to 225, inserted two temperature probes - Maverick E733 - one into the flat and the other into the point. That was 9 1/2 hours ago. Plateau has hit- point at 169 and flat at 163 for the past 1.5 hours.

I won't open the door until 190 and then I'll skewer test it. It's done when it's done, but I figure that will take quite a few hours yet.

Plan on FTC'ing for 1-2 hours before slicing.

Doing this as a test run before a work Christmas pot luck in 2 weeks.

Will post results with additional photos.

Any comments or thoughts are appreciated.


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Wow. You are so far ahead of the learning curve for a first brisket. Bet it is fantastic.

I had to murder a few pieces of meat before I ever got to your level of knowledge. But if you think the brisket is dry and/or tough, it is likely undercooked. If it falls apart, then it is overcooked. No one ever explained to me that it is better to be overcooked than undercooked in brisket.

My rule of thumb for a Cookshack (Smokette or Model 50) was 225 degrees, 1 hour per pound for the biggest piece in the cooker. Then add 30 minutes for each time you open the door.

Best of luck.
Thanks for the encouragement Know Bull.


First off, I am very full of some very tasty meat, and I am happy with my first attempt.

I did overcook it, as the point is hard to keep in sliced form, as it wants to simply pull/fall apart, though the flat will hold a pencil thin slice. The slices of flat will hold when picked up, but using a VERY gentle pull, comes apart with ease.

As for moistness, the point is very moist, and the fat rendered beautifully. The flat isn't dry, it has some moisture, but is not super moist, and I would like it a bit more moist. None of the meat is dry though. I can squeeze the flat between my fingers and the meat starts to give way/separate and I can see some juice too.

The thin/trimmed layer of fat on the bottom is still there, mostly rendered to a nice and soft consistency just under the bark.

The bark turned out beautifully; deep, dark, crisp, and flavourful. The rub was great.

Cooking Details:
I cooked at 225 for 19 hours. The 2 inserted probes were 4 degrees off one another (the one in the point was the higher temp of 194 and the one in the flat the lower temp of 190). It took 5 hours for the temperature to go from 182 to 194 and 2.5 of those 5 were to go from 189 to 194, at which point I removed it from the smoker. I never once opened the door during the cook.

Then I FTC'd it for 1.5 hours. When I took the meat out and unfoiled, there was a very small bit of moisture on the bottom, perhaps a teaspoon worth. Temperature in the point was 165.

What I will do differently next time:
The ONLY thing I am gong to change is checking on the brisket with the poke test earlier and if it passes through like butter, remove it. I have a feeling had I taken it out at 189 it would have been perfect, rather than just very good. As Smokin' Okie says, it's done when it's done.

Do you think it would be worthwhile to take some of the trimmed fat and put it on top of the meat as it cooks? That way there is the layer of fat on the bottom and then some on the top. Or would that impeded bark formation?

Any other thoughts/comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

I know my posts are long, but I like to give detail of what I did.


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Great posts throughout this thread Countrypete. Congrats on your 1st brisket. The pics do seem to indicate a bit of over-doneness but I'm sure the flavor was terrific.

Your plan to test tender a bit sooner next time sounds good. I usually start at 185 as some briskets just finish sooner vs others.

As for adding some fat slices to the topside, never tried it myself but don't see any downside to it. I'd apply rub to the fat trimmings once they're sitting atop the meat.

Well done, sir!
Excellent job on your brisket, regardless of the fact that it was your first attempt.

I'm sure you'll keep excellent notes. I would not change alot on your next go around. Maybe pull a little earlier.

As you continue to research, maybe consider injecting or other meat prep techniques. All in all, you did a great job.

Practice, Practice, Practice.
Fast Eddy Maurin told us this weekend that he takes his fat trimmings from his brisket and puts them in the empty spaces in his cooker. He thinks it adds moisture and flavor during the cook.

Though I have not tried Eddy's technique, I tend to agree. I believe that if you are not going to wrap your brisket during the cooking process, that you get a moister and better product with minimal trimming. However if you do wrap, you get a better product by trimming away much of the excess fat. Especially the hard fat, as it will not render anyway.

I would say consider two things. (1) Putting fat on top of the brisket will have a huge impact on your bark. Consider whether it is important to you to a crunchy bark. (2) Anytime you put more weight in the cooker, it increases the thermal mass that you must cook. It simply takes more BTUs to get the product done. Consider your cooking times.
Again, I appreciate all the feedback.

It was very tasty and I gave some to friends today and they loved it, though those of us on this site are perfectionists and know we can do better.

I'll definitely check starting at 185.

I will try putting some of the trimmings, with rub, on the top of the meat, even if it does affect the bark. That's the only change I'll make, besides checking earlier, as changing too many variables isn't going to help figure out what works vs what doesn't. Fast Eddy's tip is a good one.

I'll be doing my second brisket next week and will post results with photos.


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