My first brisket turned out great!!!


M Strickland

TVWBB Member
We had our Thanksgiving celebration on Saturday this year due to scheduling conflicts. Our son smoked the turkey, so I decided to try smoking a brisket on my WSM! I've done a LOT of smoking over the last 40 years, and have had excellent success with everything else, but this was my first brisket and it was easier than I expected and turned out great!

I used a 5 1/2 pound flat and, in the process, I accidentally hit on a technique that I plan to try again. Since I wasn't sure how long it would take, I cooked it on Friday, planning to re-warm it Saturday.

I have a dry rub that I developed that I use for everything else, so I decided to use it on the brisket. It's similar to the Cajun rubs, but I think anyone's favorite rub will work.

To prepare the flat, I rinsed it off and then put some apple cider vinegar over the meat. Then I slathered it with ballpark yellow mustard, sprinkled kosher salt on it and liberally added my dry rub. Then I rubbed it all into the meat. I did this on both sides.

Then I fired up my 18.5 inch WSM using the Minion Method using about 30 lit coals and mixed pecan chunks in with the charcoal. I put the smoker together immediately and added 1 1/2 gallons of hot water to the water pan.

Using 1 1/2 gallons of hot water turned out to be the key to my accidental discovery.

I put the meat on, closed the lid and opened all the vents. This was at about 8:30 am. When the smoker hit 210 degrees, I partially closed the bottom vents. Then I left it alone. At between 4 and 5 hours, I checked the internal temperature of the meat looking for around 165 degrees. It wasn't there yet, so I let it go for a little longer.

A while later, I looked out and the smoker temperature had gone up to 300 degrees. I hadn't added water when I checked the meat temperature! I checked the meat and it was right at 170 degrees, right in the sweet spot. I had read about cooking it to that range, wrapping it and then finishing it in the oven at around 300 degrees, so I used the Texas Crutch and wrapped it in aluminum foil and put it back on the smoker, since it was running at 300 degrees.

At about 3:30, it was at 205 degrees, so I declared it done! After letting it rest, we sneaked a bite and it was wonderful!! The next day, we re-warmed it in the kitchen oven. It still tasted great, but was at its best right off the smoker. Big hit!!

So, my "discovery" was that the 1 1/2 gallons of water boiled off at about the point that the brisket was ready to wrap so that the smoker automatically went from smoking temperature to 300 degrees. I just wrapped it in aluminum foil and finished it at 300 degrees on the smoker. Once it got to smoking temperature, I was able to leave the vents in the same position the entire cook!

I don't know why I was so hesitant to try smoking a brisket! With the WSM, it's almost automatic!! I got my WSM in 2007 and I think it's going to outlive me!!
40 years til the first brisket? That's like saving yourself for your third marriage!!!!

Glad it turned out well. Brisket is always daunting if only for the cost if you screw it up (and I have a few times.) But it is so rewarding when it turns out. Congrats!