What To Expect From My First Brisket?

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
4.5 hours in. Brisket at 155. I imagine I wait til it hits 170 and then wrap in foil and oven it at 275 til it hits 205d.
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
8.5 hours. Been in the stall at 155-158 for about 4-4.5 hours. Bark still doesn’t seem set. Here is a pic...

Charcoal is getting iffy. Raked it a bit and opened all vents. Got it at 275.

What’s next?

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ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
Almost 10 hours in...brisket still stalled at 154d. Some other parts are reading in the 160s though.

Added 20 unlit briquettes through the side door 1 at a time and the probe temp is now at 255-270...was falling into the 230s. Hope that was the right move.

Still waiting for some kind of move in temps and a better set bark. Is 10 hours in where I am at seem right?
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Chris,
I had a tail chasing brisket smoke this last weekend and even when everything seems to be a hurdle in the end, it comes out delicious, it’s always worth it!
Brisket, like all good things, is worth waiting for!
The funny thing is, I was emailing a buddy that happened to be in freaking ANGOLA! The country not, the city in Indiana or wherever there is another one stateside. It was really fun, voiced my concerns, he calmed me down. Making things make sense. Great forum!
Thanks for doing it Chris A.!
 
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Jim C in Denver

TVWBB Super Fan
It just takes time sometimes.

Last brisket I did was 12.5 hours, 176F until I wrapped it. Then four more hours wrapped.

No problem in bumping up the temps at this point to set the bark and move things along.

Not surprised your charcoal load is dwindling down. The water pan sucks up a lot of BTUs, plus you have more water injected into the meat.
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
What is the best way to bring up the temp now? Keep adding unlit briquettes? A bit hesitant to try and add lit briquettes thru the door as I don't have a system for that yet... Other than that, all vents are open and temps are dropping into the 220s. Brisket is finally coming out of the stall - now at 161.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I had to add some lit and I used the chimney, reversed and added it right through the door with a quick swing, only lost two briquettes grabbed them with gloved hands and dropped them in. For unlit, I use a fireplace shovel, the longer handle let’s you get the coal farther back in the bowl.
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
Ok so put together a ramp thingy with a long piece of cardboard wrapped in foil that fit inside the door and dumped in half a lit chimney of coals. Worked "ok" but some coals fell between the ring and the WSM base and I picked them out with my charcoal tongs and got them in the ring.

Brisket is now at 162 and climbing and WSM probe temps are in the 280s. Where there is a will there is a way.

I am just hoping that the extra "smoke" from the new charcoal (both lit and unlit) won't cause a bitter taste to my meat.

Planning to pull at 1:30pm (12.5 hours total) and wrap with foil and into the oven until I get the 203-205 temps and then into a cooler with a towel for a few hours before dinner.

Here's to hoping it turns out good.
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
Ya I love the Weber charcoal shovel I have - so versatile to rake the coals, push them around and also lift dirty grates as well as adjust hot vents.

Also using some long tongs to pick up coals and move them around.

I had to add some lit and I used the chimney, reversed and added it right through the door with a quick swing, only lost two briquettes grabbed them with gloved hands and dropped them in. For unlit, I use a fireplace shovel, the longer handle let’s you get the coal farther back in the bowl.
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
Ok, all is done on the smoker. The lit briquettes ramped the temps up to 300-310 even with 2 vents closed and the brisket got to 170 within half an hour. So, I double wrapped tightly in foil and added a bit of water/acv in the foil to give it a bit of moisture and into the 275d oven on a baking sheet.

Will probe with Thermapen in an hour and again every 20 after that til I am getting consistent 203-205 temps. Then into the cooler to rest.

Looking good so far. Nice crusty bark.
 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
Here are pics of the finished smoked brisket before it heads to the oven wrapped in foil as well as the drippings and the makeshift lit coal dispenser.

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ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
Resting in the cooler now. Might have overcooked...yikes! Was mostly in the low 190s...then checked again 30 minutes later and 207-210 almost throughout. Hope that isn't too far!

Can't do anything now except wait 3 hours for dinner.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
The three hour rest will not hurt anything and be careful! When you unwrap the beast, it’s going to be HOT! Use the longest sharpest knife you have, mine from Saturday would have benefited from another hour rest I’m absolutely sure of that. Looks pretty darned good to me! I probably trimmed two # of fat from the 12# prime brisket Saturday, I don’t tent to trim too closely, let it roast in its own fat! A sandwich yesterday for lunch, one for lunch today, large (4qt) pot of chili to have a bowl for dinner tonight and lunch for the guys doing the remodel of my back room! Heck, the kitchen isn’t quite done! Small projects left in there. Replacing an entire wall really, redesigning the flow of the place as well.
Nice coal chute!
“Learn the lessons slowly, grasshopper, the journey is more interesting than the destination.”
 
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JimK

TVWBB Olympian
It's been well over 3 hours since the "it's in the cooler" post...

 

ChristopherC

TVWBB Super Fan
LOL!

SO HERE IS THE FINAL REPORT...

I would give the results a 7/10. I will explain my reasoning and what I learned...

Mistakes I Made:

1) Over-trimmed. The end piece of the point was like a boulder. It had no fat protection. I probably should have left a chunk of the hard white fat on it. So it was inedible. Was debating to remove it during the stall when the rest of the meat was at 155and it was probing 195-200.

2) Over-seasoned. I found the bark too thick and spicy...mostly the pepper I think. Next time I will season but not lay it on thick. Found thinner slices just too spicy/seasoned.

3) Slightly over-cooked. I think I was just a touch late taking it out of the oven and putting it in the cooler...and this mostly comes back to #1...because of the over trim, the thinner parts of the flat had trouble coming to the same temp as the thicker parts and was a little drier.


What Went Well

1) What an experience! Learned a ton and had fun.

2) The WSM performed very well for 9-10 hours. Then I had trouble with getting it back up to temp as the coals were essentially all disintegrated. Blaming this on the coals I think. Not “that” impressed with KBB. Too much ash and too quick a burn in my opinion. I am used to lump when camping.

3) Taste and quality of the meat was good. I especially loved the pieces where the flat and point met and it had some fat but also some nice meat.


Some Things That I Question

1) The cut of meat. There was so much hard white fat. This caused me to over trim thinking most of the “hard stuff” must go. I would like to get my hands on a Prime cut next time.

2) The brisket stuck to the foil I wrapped it in. At least the bottom did. This ripped off a large piece and many small pieces of fat and meat that were attached to the foil. Not sure what to do here besides try butcher paper.

3) Wrapping the water pan with foil. Found this just as messy as cleaning up a dirty water bowl. Think I will stick to a naked water bowl going forward if I put water in it. Easy for me to dump the bowl in the bush and then wash it out.

4) Already mentioned the KBB briquettes above.

5) I wish the water pan was a bit shallower. I know there are other options. I might explore them.

6) I thought most of the pan drippings could be used as Au Jus...so I strained and filled a bowl with them and put them in the fridge. When the fat hardened, took it out and scraped out the fatty layer on top. There was barely anything left! So 85% of the drippings were just fat. Probably should have attempted gravy with all of it.


Bottom Line

1) Wife and I had a nice dinner. There are lots of leftovers that I froze mostly and kept a bit of the smaller bits and pieces for some wraps tomorrow.

2) Have this cook under my belt. Now have a baseline of where I can adjust and tinker.

3) I appreciate all the ideas, tips and advice and info here on this forum! Thank you!!

4) It was a marathon.

5) I will try different briquettes or maybe lump next time. I might get some butcher paper. I might explore a shallower water pan. I might make gravy from the drippings. I may or may not inject next time. If it is a Prime...probably not. I will season lighter next timeI will put a probe in the meat in the oven next time and monitor.

Here are the final pics....

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It's been well over 3 hours since the "it's in the cooler" post...
 

MikeLucky

TVWBB Pro
Nice looking smoke ring.

So, I've only done a few briskets, and only 2 that I remember were actually good. Lol. For me the problem is always that I never properly anticipate the stall and inevitably I would have a house full of people ready for dinner and my brisket is still only at 175.

My wife isn't a huge fan of brisket and actually loves pulled pork, so I just don't do a lot of briskets. But, my next one I will plan on having it ready 6-8 hours early and foil/towel/cooler that ***** until dinner time.
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
You can spend as little or as much time as you want trimming as you want.
cutting that deep deckle out is kind of a competition thing, to get more bark around that meat. Restaurants don't do it. Most people cooking at home don't do it.

I will say, that's looks like a lot of rub. You can over salt and over pepper a brisket. I done it.
My first one I laid the salt/pepper on like I would rub on a rack of pork ribs......too much. It was edible but it was a tad salty and a lot peppery. 1/3 cup total salt+ pepper is about right... Look at Aaron Franklin's videos and how little he puts on there...... In fact I'd say do what Aaron Franklin does.. for starters. there's no need to inject, there's no need to do fancy excessive trims.... That's competition stuff. There's really no need for anything but salt and pepper for a fantastic brisket. BTW when Aaron competed in a competition his brisket came in about 50th.......and it's widely regarded as one of the best so that tells you a lot about competitions. it's more about giving the judges what they're looking for in one bite, than it is good food to eat. You can always get fancy later.

The prime has the white fat also the difference is the prime has more marbling in the meat. The flat will be less dry.... But the point will be more fatty. Pick your poison I think the point comes out better from a choice brisket.

Get the peach butcher paper and use it instead of the foil it works pretty good and a big roll is cheap a lot cheaper than foil. Huge roll is $25 on amazon.

you'll probably have to fill it up with a lot of coals as many as you can put in there for any brisket. At some point you'll have to shake the *** down and at some point you won't have any coals left. That's why I extended my coal ring up with expanded metal..... Easily holds 50% more charcoal than just the standard ring. I use the flat clay saucer lined with foil instead of the water pan......... And I hold more coals than are needed I never have to add coals, even past 20 hours. I use an atc, but I made those modifications before I got the atc, explicitly so I could sleep through the night when cooking without the fire dying out, or the ash needing to be knocked down.

In any case looks good I'm sure it was great.
Normally you might trim 4-5 lb fat off of a 17 to 18 lb brisket.
then you get about a 50% yield of meat after you're done cooking
So ~ 7 lb of cooked meat really doesn't go as far as you're thinking when you buy that 18 lb brisket.
 
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ChuckH

TVWBB Member
When it is all said and done, it sounds to me like you had fun and learned a lot. I would chalk it up as a win. I made some of the same mistakes as you, and some more of my own and it was still worth every penny and minute I put into it. Keep trying and keep having fun with it.
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
Wrapping the water pan with foil. Found this just as messy as cleaning up a dirty water bowl. Think I will stick to a naked water bowl going forward if I put water in it. Easy for me to dump the bowl in the bush and then wash it out.
Dump too much grease in the bush and you'll be inviting a bunch of unwanted guests. :oops: 🐭

This is a 13 year old video, videography sucks and I need to make this video again using current water pans, but it makes your point...I tend not to wrap the inside of the pan when using water, only when cooking without water. I always wrap the outside.

 

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