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Help the Judge - I want brisket perfection for my draft party (1 Viewer)

Judge Smails

Footballguy
So, I often host our draft party. Draft is Saturday (I know - earliest we could get together). I have done ribs, pulled pork, chicken, hot links etc on the smoker. Last year was pulled pork - came out great.

Brisket is something I haven't mastered yet. It hasn't come out as moist as when I see the pros make it. I saw some nice whole prime briskets at Costco a few days ago and I'm wanting to try again. So, turning to you guys - (hoping Tipsey chimes in) for tips to make great brisket.

I have a Traeger smoker. I know - not necessarily old school but damn it's more convenient than my old double barrel New Braunfels. I can use mesquite, hickory or other wood pellets.

So, assume the prime brisket is fine. How much how much fat to trim? 1/4 or 1/2 inch? What about the rub? I've usually done my own with garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, brown sugar. Saw an episode of DDD the other night and the guy used mustard seed as well. Finally, and most importantly, how long and at what temperature? 15 or so hours at 250? Is there an internal temp to get to before I pull it? Any special resting tips? What about carving?

Anybody have a recipe for a great sauce from scratch to serve on the side?

Greatly appreciate any help. Take my responsibilities for the draft party seriously!

 
So, I often host our draft party. Draft is Saturday (I know - earliest we could get together). I have done ribs, pulled pork, chicken, hot links etc on the smoker. Last year was pulled pork - came out great.

Brisket is something I haven't mastered yet. It hasn't come out as moist as when I see the pros make it. I saw some nice whole prime briskets at Costco a few days ago and I'm wanting to try again. So, turning to you guys - (hoping Tipsey chimes in) for tips to make great brisket.

I have a Traeger smoker. I know - not necessarily old school but damn it's more convenient than my old double barrel New Braunfels. I can use mesquite, hickory or other wood pellets.

So, assume the prime brisket is fine. How much how much fat to trim? 1/4 or 1/2 inch? What about the rub? I've usually done my own with garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, brown sugar. Saw an episode of DDD the other night and the guy used mustard seed as well. Finally, and most importantly, how long and at what temperature? 15 or so hours at 250? Is there an internal temp to get to before I pull it? Any special resting tips? What about carving?

Anybody have a recipe for a great sauce from scratch to serve on the side?

Greatly appreciate any help. Take my responsibilities for the draft party seriously!
I know Cali is on a weird time but I didn't think that everyone else's Thursdays were Saturdays on the left coast.

 
I really do like the high heat method as well. One other thing with brisket and rubs is generally avoid sugars. I have seen better results with kosher salt and pepper and minimal other spices, while with pork and ribs, I'll do the dark brown sugar, smoked paprika and all kinds of spices.

 
This is my somewhat unconventional way to do high heat brisket flats (usually 5-6 pounds)

- Use a rub similar to this http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/basic-barbecue-rub-242244

- Apply the rub before getting coals lit.

- Get smoker ready and add mesquite chips to unlit coals. Dump lit coals on top. Aim for temp 0f 300

- Put brisket fat cap UP in an aluminum lasagna pan on the smoker.

- After an hour turn fat cap down. Pour around 3 ounces of beer over top of brisket and into pan to mix with the juices. Distribute thinly sliced onions over top.

- Drink rest of beer

- Roughly 2 to 2.5 hours later, check for internal temp of 170 or above and put aluminum foil over pan (and brisket).

- Roughly an hour after that, check for tenderness and pull brisket off .

- If any partial point attached, slice point off, cube, and add back into pan full of liquid goodness for burnt ends

- Let flat sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

- After point has cooked for 45- minutes or so, pull off, cube and mix with ketchup based barbecue sauce, extra brown sugar and/or honey, and small amount of bourbon.

 
Did a 14.5 lbs brisket for Labor Day

- covered the brisket in yellow mustard both sides

- rub consisted of brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, a little cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, minced garlic

- Apple wood chips in the smoker

- Big Green Egg set for 200 degrees give or take

- Cooked for 15 hours

Delish!

 
Did a 14.5 lbs brisket for Labor Day

- covered the brisket in yellow mustard both sides

- rub consisted of brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, a little cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, minced garlic

- Apple wood chips in the smoker

- Big Green Egg set for 200 degrees give or take

- Cooked for 15 hours

Delish!
That almost sounds like the exact method used for doing pulled pork (slather in mustard, using apple vs other wood, etc). Never heard that combo for brisket.

 
I'm thinking of whole brisket and trimming some fat. When you guys mention flats, they do have 6 pound cuts at Costco as an example. I've made them before, pretty good, almost zero fat. Almost fully trimmed. When I see the big boys do it on TV it's always the whole brisket, and have some fat is key.

I found this..Looks about right - now just have to perfect the rub..

http://www.thesmokerking.com/page1a.html#.VfBkOGRViko

 
Judge Smails said:
I'm thinking of whole brisket and trimming some fat. When you guys mention flats, they do have 6 pound cuts at Costco as an example. I've made them before, pretty good, almost zero fat. Almost fully trimmed. When I see the big boys do it on TV it's always the whole brisket, and have some fat is key.

I found this..Looks about right - now just have to perfect the rub..

http://www.thesmokerking.com/page1a.html#.VfBkOGRViko
Smoking just the flat is an awful idea if you haven't done this before. And it's an awful idea in general even if you have.

 
If the directions for the cooking portion of a brisket are so similar to a pork shoulder, then why is a brisket considered more difficult? What do most people get wrong when cooking a brisket? Haven't done one yet, but just curious what the learning curve is.

 
If the directions for the cooking portion of a brisket are so similar to a pork shoulder, then why is a brisket considered more difficult? What do most people get wrong when cooking a brisket? Haven't done one yet, but just curious what the learning curve is.
No bone

Much leaner

More connective tissue

 
If the directions for the cooking portion of a brisket are so similar to a pork shoulder, then why is a brisket considered more difficult? What do most people get wrong when cooking a brisket? Haven't done one yet, but just curious what the learning curve is.
The Stall!!

 
If the directions for the cooking portion of a brisket are so similar to a pork shoulder, then why is a brisket considered more difficult? What do most people get wrong when cooking a brisket? Haven't done one yet, but just curious what the learning curve is.
No bone

Much leaner

More connective tissue
And the stall. Oh that freaking stall. "It was 170 an hour and a half ago!!"

A lot of the links above are great. My method, for what it's worth (not enough time left to do a pastrami properly, but see below):

- 1/4" to 1/2" trim on the fat cap. Slice it in diamonds to allow some spice and smoke penetration on top.

- Rub: Black pepper, garlic granules, paprika or ground guajillo, either cumin or coriander (black pepper and coriander is classic for pastrami), kosher salt, cayenne, dry mustard. Roughly in that proportion; mix it until it tastes good.

- Rub it the night before.

- Smoker at 200-225.

- Smoke it for about 12 hours (6-8 lb brisket) spraying once an hour with a mix of cider, water, and a bit of leftover dry rub.

- Remove from smoker; place on a rack in an oven roasting pan with about 1/2" of water in the bottom. Cover and put it in a 225 degree oven for a few hours. Blasphemy? Maybe, but it comes out succulent.

- Goal temp is around 190, but it will let you know when it's done. It goes from roofing shingle to fall apart - test it like you would ribs, see if it bends happily.

Now, about pastrami - take a corned beef round, soak it in fresh water for an hour or so, coat with black pepper and coriander, and throw it on the smoker. Totally cheating but also damn tasty.

Good luck!

 
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Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
I see #5 being a big issue because the Judge never slices.

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
IMO brisket is the hardest to get right on the smoker and it's not even close. While you have the fat cap, the brisket itself is lean. So to get it where it's not dried out, tough or stringy is more challenging. Pork shoulder is 1,000X easier. Hard to screw up chicken, links. Ribs are easy. You have to be pretty precise with brisket. But great brisket is just that - great. It's the holy grail to me. And the biggest challenge. If I F it up - more links and chicken for them or they can order pizza.

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
I see #5 being a big issue because the Judge never slices.
how bout a Fresca??

 
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
Good stuff. Thanks. Sounds like the steps are similar but the margin for error is much smaller. Makes sense.
 
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
IMO brisket is the hardest to get right on the smoker and it's not even close. While you have the fat cap, the brisket itself is lean. So to get it where it's not dried out, tough or stringy is more challenging. Pork shoulder is 1,000X easier. Hard to screw up chicken, links. Ribs are easy. You have to be pretty precise with brisket. But great brisket is just that - great. It's the holy grail to me. And the biggest challenge. If I F it up - more links and chicken for them or they can order pizza.
I totally agree with this. I've only smoked brisket twice in my career (once my first smoking experience ever), and I don't feel qualified to give advice even though everything else I smoke generally comes out amazing. I still need to master brisket myself. It's definitely the hardest meat to smoke in my opinion.

 
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
So you are supposed to wrap and let a pork shoulder rest for a couple of hours after removing? Same towel wrap and cooler treatment too?

 
Why are we ignoring the fact that he's drafting AFTER the NFL has started play? Am I caught up in some weird left coast cannabis induced twilight zone?

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
I see #5 being a big issue because the Judge never slices.
:golfclap:

 
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."

 
If you are making the whole brisket, don't forget the cut off the point and make some burnt ends.

 
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.

 
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Hence my caveat about "if your guests want..." ;-)

 
bakes said:
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Hence my caveat about "if your guests want...and you're too much of a ##### to stand up for your food" ;-)
:P

 
:dot:

Doing a brisket tomorrow or Saturday. I have a basic method but new ideas are always nice.

 
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Me too. They can put "fall of the bone ribs" in a chafing dish at Hometown Buffet. It's probably the biggest misconception of the eating public out there when it comes to ribs. They've never had ribs properly done. It's like when somebody tells me they boil their ribs first....

 
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Me too. They can put "fall of the bone ribs" in a chafing dish at Hometown Buffet. It's probably the biggest misconception of the eating public out there when it comes to ribs. They've never had ribs properly done. It's like when somebody tells me they boil their ribs first....
A slight pull is perfect.

 
bakes said:
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Hence my caveat about "if your guests want...and you're too much of a ##### to stand up for your food" ;-)
:P
LOL! Hey, you sampled my pastrami... :unsure:

 
culdeus said:
bakes said:
Judge Smails said:
Gopher State said:
Trim the fat to about 1/4 inch

Rub with olive oil

Apply your favorite rub

Hang in your smoker until temperature is 170

Take out add 12 oz beef broth and double wrap with tin foil

Put back in smoker on rack until temp 200

Remove and wrap in towel, place in cooler with no ice for two hours (resting is the key to flavor and tenderness)

Take out and enjoy
so resting is similar to a pork shoulder? Never knew that...
:yes: and for pretty much the same reason; lets the whole damn thing equalize itself. Like Gopher State, I am a fan of smoke, then steam for the last part of the cook. Same trick that you can use for ribs if your guests want them to "fall off the bone."
Falling off the bone is considered a defect by most serious bbq chefs.
Me too. They can put "fall of the bone ribs" in a chafing dish at Hometown Buffet. It's probably the biggest misconception of the eating public out there when it comes to ribs. They've never had ribs properly done. It's like when somebody tells me they boil their ribs first....
A slight pull is perfect.
:yes: Exactly this.

 
Still don't follow what a newb gets wrong on a first brisket vs. someone who's mastered it.
Ranking from most important noob mistake to last

1) Doesn't allow enough time. Not even close so they push the temp late and/or serve too early.

2) Doesn't allow enough resting time. See 1)

3) Can't maintain a constant temperature.

4) Overestimates/underestimates the amount of live wood needed.

5) Can't slice
:goodposting: :goodposting:

All true.

This will be my third one. The first two came out very good but I was serving it at like 9pm and still it was a little rushed. Had like a 3 hour stall last time before finally pushing the temp. I usually do something like that on a Saturday but I don't wake up early enough and usually only start at like noon or 1pm. I'm off tomarrow and will start hopefully around 8am. 6.5 pounds, I'm giving it 9 hours plus 3 wrapped for 8pm dinner.

 
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