Fitting brisket and wood on wsm and timing



So last night I made a prime brisket from Sam’s. $43 for a 13.85 pound brisket by the way. Full packer. So I trimmed like some of the videos said. I am still confused and know I didn’t do it correctly but that’s another thread. So I just got an 18.5. I had trouble fitting it on there. So I got the rib rack and wedged it in there. I put the temp controller at 225. I think it stayed mostly at 235 though. I put in on around 9 pm last night and it was at 203 at 9 am. I thought it would take a little bit longer. Actually had just gotten up and got very lucky I didn’t nuke it. So what is the best way to fit it on the smoker? And I thought it would take longer. And I had trouble fitting wood chunks on there as the water pan got in the way. I finally wedged them in there. But I am worried that I didn’t get the right smoke flavor. It’s holding now for a few hours so I’ll have to post how it turned out later. Did I put way too much charcoal in there I am guessing? I did like how it got up to them very fast. A lot faster than the 14.5 and having more room and the bigger door so you can get in there without opening the cooker is really nice.
I think I shared in a reply to one of your other threads that I've only done a handful of brisket smokes, so I am far from expert. But in that post I linked to a recent thread from Chris A. He placed a foil-covered chunk of smoke wood under his brisket to help with the real estate issue and included pics.

It would seem to me that a 13 lb brisket at 235 would take approximately 12 hours.

Let us know how well you enjoyed it!
I've posted this before, but I always use a weber rib rack on my 18.5 and DRAPE the brisket over it and it fits fine. After it reaches 165 or so, it has usualy shrunk back and can now fit on the smoker wrapped in butcher paper.
well, there you go!

I find that I still get good bark because the rack's ribs are very thin as opposed to something solid proping it up.
Seems that packer briskets these days are trimmed "long", with more of the thin end of the flat being included. I usually whack that thin end off, so that the brisket is about 18"-19" long overall. Then it's fairly easy to wedge it in between the grate handles. The thin end usually overcooks anyway. I'll cube up the cutoff and freeze it for when I grind burgers.

Thank you all. I tried to drape it over the weber rib rack and it did not fit. It was too long. I had to wedge it in between the racks and with some finagling I got it on there. It was a tight fit though. And it had moved during cooking so the point was touching the side of the grill so I think the point got slightly over done. But the flat. OMG the best brisket ever! So I really need help with trimming and then slicing at the end. I am sure it’s pretty easy and won’t take long to learn. But I can’t really understand from online videos or my books. It’s a little confusing. Maybe I can ask a local bbq guy to teach me.
I could really figure out where the point started to cut off. Nor could I find what was against the grain with the point. So I also don't believe I sliced correctly. I think some of the flat I didn't slice correctly either. I think I lost the line of against the grain. Any help on that would be appreciated.
Thank you. I’m assuming the eBay link on there is the one I need to get. They make that water pan so big. If I want to put more water in I am also thinking about how to do that as well. I don’t want to take the meet off and do all that cooling down the smoker. I guess I could put it in the side door but not sure how I get water in there. Maybe one of those gardening water things with the long spout I guess is what people use.
Prior to finding this site I watched this vid, which I found well-suited to my personal taste:

And this was helpful to me:

For posting pics:

I don't currently use water in my WSM's but when I did I used this sometimes, though at the time I only had the WSM 22 and never used it on the 18. I've also used it occasionally to add fuel:

Congrats on your successful smoke!
Once you've smoked a brisket, it can be hard to determine the direction of the grain of the meat. One tip I learned years ago from Paul Kirk was to "mark" the brisket flat by cutting off a small piece perpendicular to the grain. Once the brisket is cooked, just start slicing parallel to that line and you're good to go.


I hadn’t seen that Aaron Franklin you tube video. I have his book and it’s impossible to follow how to trim and slice just reading it. I’ll just keep watching his videos and practice and I think I’ll get it. I am making a brisket for Xmas dinner so I want to get the trimming and the slicing right. The brisket I made was really top notch this weekend. I was very happy with it. Just need to get the trimming and slicing when cooked down and I’ll be set. It won’t take my very long to learn.
If you look at the geometry involved I think you'll see it's not critical that your cut be perfectly perpendicular to the fibers. Quite the opposite, really. As long as you're not very close to parallel it's not going to matter that much. And the thinner the slices, the less it's going to matter.

To illustrate what I mean, take a sheet of ruled paper. The lines on the paper represent the muscle fibers in the brisket. Now take a straight edge and place it perpendicular to the lines. That's the perfect cut because all the fibers will run through the thickness of the slice, resulting in the shortest possible sections of muscle fiber. Now rotate the straight edge 45* to a diagonal. Note how the lines cross the straight edge. It's not as good as perfectly perpendicular, but you're still going to have very short muscle fibers running through your slice. Now rotate the straight edge to about a 22* angle to the lines, making it closer to parallel to the lines. A slice at this angle is still going to have lots of short muscle fibers running through the thickness of the slice. Clearly not as good as perpendicular, but really not all that bad. If you halve the angle again you'll start to get much longer fibers and you'll probably notice the difference in chew, but you're now pretty close to parallel.

If you want to really go crazy with this, draw a bunch of closely spaced parallel lines on a sheet of paper. Then cut a long, narrow rectangle out of a second piece of paper. The rectangle represents the cross section of a slice of brisket. Repeat everything above using the cut out rectangle and note the length of the lines passing through the rectangle. The shorter the better, but you should see that they remain relatively short until you're very close to parallel to the grain.

The point is that while perpendicular is best, don't agonize over it. As long as you aren't doing it exactly backwards you're probably close enough that no one will notice you didn't nail the perpendicular. Plus, the grain will usually change through the length of the flat so even if you start perfectly perpendicular and make perfect cuts, you won't remain perfectly perpendicular the whole way. Just don't get it backwards and you'll be fine.