First Brisket ever

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Well. I've had my EX4 for almost a year now and finally decided to make a brisket for a few good friends. Didn't do anything special just to get a baseline. Only did a flat, too. 9.7# before I did a little trimming. It turned out pretty good, actually. Just a little dry, so I think I know how to improve that aspect. Went at 250 until we were getting impatient and moved it to 310° to speed it up a little. Used grill master blend until I ran out and went to Kingsford hickory because my locale doesn't have weber pellets in stock anymore.

Key points for further improvement.
1) maybe inject some beef broth to retain juiciness,
2) i need better foil or butcher paper to wrap at the stall point, mine was too small and leaked a ton.
3) I should have ran it on the bottom shelf because it was windy as heck and I'm pretty sure that contributed to the dryness by cooking 20-40° cooler than the target temperature.
4) I used some off the shelf beef seasoning, i might try something different for a better crusty, bark


I also threw in some ribs as backup in case the brisket sucked.

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Bruno

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Good looking brisket. I had to throw away my first 2 attempts on the Smokey Mountain many years ago. (Too much booze and started at night)
The SmokeFire takes out all the guess work. Next time inject with some beef broth and get yourself some butcher paper and you will be golden!!
 

Bruno

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As for the rub I have a ton of Oakridge rubs that I love and the black ops brisket is killer, BUT, you can’t go wrong with good old quality salt and pepper.
 
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Good looking brisket. I had to throw away my first 2 attempts on the Smokey Mountain many years ago. (Too much booze and started at night)
The SmokeFire takes out all the guess work. Next time inject with some beef broth and get yourself some butcher paper and you will be golden!!
Thanks. I am impressed with the smoke ring. Just wish it was a touch more tender to match. Overall, for my first attempt at a brisket, I'm happy with the outcome. The ribs were also spectacular, but that definitely wasn't my first rodeo with them.

As for the rub. It was basically salt and pepper with a touch of garlic and "spices" called "rub some steak".
 

Bruno

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Thanks. I am impressed with the smoke ring. Just wish it was a touch more tender to match. Overall, for my first attempt at a brisket, I'm happy with the outcome. The ribs were also spectacular, but that definitely wasn't my first rodeo with them.
The SmokeFire does put out some quality smoke rings.
 

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I haven't had experience with this personally, but I've read/heard that if you're not going to do a whole packer cut, then go for a point vs. a flat. More fat and more forgiving.
 
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I haven't had experience with this personally, but I've read/heard that if you're not going to do a whole packer cut, then go for a point vs. a flat. More fat and more forgiving.

Unfortunately, I haven't found a point, only. This was a pretty fatty flat. It might have been served by placing it fat side up instead of down to let it render into the meat rather than onto my ribs. I prefer flat meat for sandwiches though. I will probably try a packer next time now that I have some confidence.
 

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I haven't had experience with this personally, but I've read/heard that if you're not going to do a whole packer cut, then go for a point vs. a flat. More fat and more forgiving.
Very true. That’s a beast of a flat you got. I say go for a packer next time.
The next brisket I do I will go packer and inject the flat only.
Fat side down is a much better presentation and I have heard the fat does not penetrate enough to make a difference.
 

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Unfortunately, I haven't found a point, only. This was a pretty fatty flat. It might have been served by placing it fat side up instead of down to let it render into the meat rather than onto my ribs. I prefer flat meat for sandwiches though. I will probably try a packer next time now that I have some confidence.
The whole fat rendering into the meat is a scientifically disproven myth. Fat is oil and meat is water. They do not mix or reintegrate. Rather always put the fat towards the heat source to help protect the meat. I would have also cooked it on the upper rack. What grade of flat was it? What was the final IT when you removed it? I am a firm believer in injecting any brisket graded less than prime with a commercial injection. Commercial injections are not only flavor, they have phosphates in them. The phosphates don’t add any flavor per se, but they retain moisture extremely well. I’m also a huge proponent of the wrap when doing less than prime. If you have the ability to place the brisket flat in a foil pan on a cooling rack and then covering the whole thing in foil when you go to wrap, I recommend that as well. This allows you tho capture all the rendered juices so they can be reincorporated over the sliced meat or served as an au jus. Do things that give you the widest window for success until which time you feel confident because you have done enough of them to recognize the subtle signs the brisket reveals to you. Then you can tweak things a bit with confidence. Cheers!
 
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The whole fat rendering into the meat is a scientifically disproven myth. Fat is oil and meat is water. They do not mix or reintegrate. Rather always put the fat towards the heat source to help protect the meat. I would have also cooked it on the upper rack. What grade of flat was it? What was the final IT when you removed it? I am a firm believer in injecting any brisket graded less than prime with a commercial injection. Commercial injections are not only flavor, they have phosphates in them. The phosphates don’t add any flavor per se, but they retain moisture extremely well. I’m also a huge proponent of the wrap when doing less than prime. If you have the ability to place the brisket flat in a foil pan on a cooling rack and then covering the whole thing in foil when you go to wrap, I recommend that as well. This allows you tho capture all the rendered juices so they can be reincorporated over the sliced meat or served as an au jus. Do things that give you the widest window for success until which time you feel confident because you have done enough of them to recognize the subtle signs the brisket reveals to you. Then you can tweak things a bit with confidence. Cheers!

Internal was 205 when pulled. Wrapped at 168° definitely not a prime cut. Choice, I think. Main point for thinking of starting on the lower rack was the wind affecting the temperature distribution. We were getting 60mph gusts all day and you could watch the gusts pull all the smoke out of the grill. Temperature swings were also more intense than I've ever seen. Set at 250° and seeing swings from. 170°-345° it stabilized most of the time though.
 

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Internal was 205 when pulled. Wrapped at 168° definitely not a prime cut. Choice, I think. Main point for thinking of starting on the lower rack was the wind affecting the temperature distribution. We were getting 60mph gusts all day and you could watch the gusts pull all the smoke out of the grill. Temperature swings were also more intense than I've ever seen. Set at 250° and seeing swings from. 170°-345° it stabilized most of the time though.
Yeah sounds like maybe just a bad day unless you could pull the thing in a garage a bit to block the wind. 345 is way to hot IMO. Chalk it up to poor weather conditions.
 

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Thanks. I am impressed with the smoke ring. Just wish it was a touch more tender to match. Overall, for my first attempt at a brisket, I'm happy with the outcome. The ribs were also spectacular, but that definitely wasn't my first rodeo with them.

As for the rub. It was basically salt and pepper with a touch of garlic and "spices" called "rub some steak".
Great looking brisket!
The hardest part in smoking a great brisket is “Patience”. No two briskets are ever the same and as the old saying goes “ it’s done when it’s done”, which often has little to with temperature.

I have been in your shoes many times over the years when a brisket refused to adhere to my schedule and whenever I upped the temp to rush to the finish line I was always a bit disappointed with what went on the table.

I have learned to just go low and slow, (225F) especially when cooking a Flat. Sprtizing is key as is wrapping in butcher paper at the stall and letting it go to “inserted probe done”. Finally, it is absolutely critical to then tightly wrap in blankets or towels and let it rest in a tight cooler for at least an hour (preferably two) to allow the moisture to re-absorb into the meat.
 

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I watched a video by Harry Soo who copied Aaron Franklin's Texas method. I cooked a Costco prime whole packer trimmed to 13 lb. I cooked it on the upper rack at 275, also injected with commercial seasoning by the way. I used a drip pan that doubled as a water pan. My seasoning was a combination of salt pepper celery seed and garlic powder. At 165°, I wrapped it in unwaxed butcher paper and placed it in a pan and finished it on my propane barbecue at about 300. That was because with two burners out of six on low and the others off that was as cool as I could get it haha. I pulled it at 203°, which was after 10 hours and wrapped it in towels in a preheated cooler for 3 hours. Other than the flat portion being a little bit salty it was perfect. Outside temperature was at about 32°
 

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I haven't had experience with this personally, but I've read/heard that if you're not going to do a whole packer cut, then go for a point vs. a flat. More fat and more forgiving.
While the point is more forgiving, locally it is much harder to find unless I purchase a full packer brisket. It also tends to more fatty, which makes for great burnt ends, but a bit too fatty for sandwiches for my liking. Hence the reason I have migrated to full packers and vacuum sealing and freezing the leftovers.
 

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Trim the fat before cooking and trim the fat between the flat and point after.
 

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Trim the fat before cooking and trim the fat between the flat and point after.
I always trim the fat before cooking, especially the yellowish, hard fat. I have a couple of friends that carve out the fat line between the point and flat, and they get great results.

However, Like you, I never bother to trim all of the fat between the point and flat, but just working to eliminate all but 1/4-3/8” fat on the fatty side and almost all of the “silvery” stuff on the flat from the opposite side, just as I do with ribs.

On the last 21# USDA Prime full packer brisket, it lost over 3.5# of fat and scrap meat...hardly restaurant or competition trimming, but when cooking fat side down on my ex4 I like as much insulation between the fire and the meat... just personal preference.
 

ftank47

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Well. I've had my EX4 for almost a year now and finally decided to make a brisket for a few good friends. Didn't do anything special just to get a baseline. Only did a flat, too. 9.7# before I did a little trimming. It turned out pretty good, actually. Just a little dry, so I think I know how to improve that aspect. Went at 250 until we were getting impatient and moved it to 310° to speed it up a little. Used grill master blend until I ran out and went to Kingsford hickory because my locale doesn't have weber pellets in stock anymore.
Do you remember how long this cook took? I just did my first brisket, it was a flat as well. It was only 5 lbs and I read through your thread to pick up pointers (thank you!). Still ended up drying out at the end. Maybe that's just the case with flats...but I also did a pork shoulder a few weeks back and it also ended up dry. The one similarity between both cooks, I wrapped in butcher paper at what I thought was the stall but they both still "stalled"! My 5# brisket took 14 hours (wrapped after 6 hours 154 internal) and the 8# pork shoulder took like 15-16 hours from what I remember. I think I skimped out on the wrap material and didn't focus on making it super tight. The paper was soaked in the end but the meat was dry. Both rested for about 30 mins before cutting.

Does anyone not wrap and get good results on the smokefire? It's like the butcher paper acted like a paper towel and stole my mojo!
 

rwhapham

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Do you remember how long this cook took? I just did my first brisket, it was a flat as well. It was only 5 lbs and I read through your thread to pick up pointers (thank you!). Still ended up drying out at the end. Maybe that's just the case with flats...but I also did a pork shoulder a few weeks back and it also ended up dry. The one similarity between both cooks, I wrapped in butcher paper at what I thought was the stall but they both still "stalled"! My 5# brisket took 14 hours (wrapped after 6 hours 154 internal) and the 8# pork shoulder took like 15-16 hours from what I remember. I think I skimped out on the wrap material and didn't focus on making it super tight. The paper was soaked in the end but the meat was dry. Both rested for about 30 mins before cutting.

Does anyone not wrap and get good results on the smokefire? It's like the butcher paper acted like a paper towel and stole my mojo!

What temp were you cooking at and what internal temp did you pull from the pit at? I recently did an 8 lb. pork butt at 275F and it took about 10 hours. I wrapped in butcher paper at 165F-170F (where the stall typically happens) and pulled it off at 203F, and it turned out quite moist. I wouldn't think that wrapping before the stall would make much difference, but I'm not an expert there. Also, did you spritz or wash it at all during the cook?
 

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