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Anyone good with Brisket?

edited 12:23AM in EggHead Forum
I tried brisket on the egg for the first time yesterday. It was a small one (about 4 lbs.)and was lean for brisket. I didn't marinate it, the recipe I using did not call for it. Cooked low (approx. 200-250) for about 6 hours. I don't think I overcooked it (it never got very tender), and I don't think I undercooked went for alot longer than any recipes I could find and was clearly done.
Bottom line is it was tough! My wife does brisket in the oven in a plastic bag and it literally falls apart when she's done. I didn't expect perfect but I expected better than I got.[p]I've heard brisket is a difficult cut to master on the grill and now I agree. Anyone have any ideas?


  • Roger,
    Well, most of the eggers are recovering from the weekend so I figured I'd take the liberty here...
    It sounds like you picked up a brisket at publix or the like. These are often flats that have been trimmed of most of their fat cap and somtimes cut up into pieces. Usually with brisket you can end up with tough brisket that isn't undercooked, however I've seen it with small pieces of flats as you describe. Here's what to do, go to Walmart or Sams and get a smaller sized packer brisket, around 12 lbs. (FYI, this is usually cheaper per pound that the regular stores) Don't trim it, just put on something wet, ie. mustard, wooster sauce, or the like, then sprinkle with rub (there are many good ones that the teams on the forum sell, as well as good recipes amoung them too). Put it on your egg with a indirrect setup and a drip pan below it and let that egg run at the temps you described, figure 1 1/2 - 2 hours per pound, some times it will take longer some times not, I usually go by internal temp. You'll hear every thing from 185-205 from people, I say start off in the middle and see what you think, then adjust it the next time. Another thing is to not check on it too often, as some once said "If you're lookin, you're not cookin." Oh yeah after you take it off you should probably let it rest for a while before slicing it up. Some will wrap it up in anything from towels to paper bags to foil, to throwing it in a cooler. Of course make sure you slice it across the grain. [p]Hope this helps

  • Don Sparks, Well done Don! Brisket is tricky, but the EGG can handle it. DK

  • Roger,
    I've cooked the little 4 lb flats many times, and they're a little tricky to get right. Your cooking temperature is about right, but I would err on the low end. I think the secret to moist, tender brisket is a long time in the cooker (callogen breakdown). My last small brisket went for about 9 or 10 hours before it reached 195-degrees. Also, cook indirect; don't expose that meat to radiant heat or you'll get shoe leather. When my rub is set (usually after 4 hours) I begin to mop the brisket with an appropriate mop. This adds flavor and moisture to the cooking system. You might even want to put a pan of water in there to help with that.[p]Lately my mops have involved cider vinegar, Captain Morgan's or Jack Daniels, Dale's cooking sauce, butter, and a few tablespoons of whatever the brisket was rubbed with (usually Ken Stone's Witchy Red). For ribs I drop the Dale's and add orange blossom honey.[p]Let me put on my Texan shield suit... You >can< wrap your brisket after it's thoroughly smoked (4-5 hours) and finish it in foil. Add some drippings or something moist to it when you wrap it, and it'll come out pot-roast tender, just like your wife's oven brisket. I'm not a fan of that degree of tenderness, but many are. Personally, I prefer a brisket to be tender, but I want the slices to stay intact and not crumble or shred up.[p]Oh, a couple of other points... You didn't mention what the internal temperature was when you pulled it off the grill. Get a good meat thermometer (Poulder type) and use it. Also, the temperature on the dome thermometer is a bit hotter than the temperature on the cooking surface if you are set up for indirect cooking (opposite is true for direct cooking). For a low-n-slow the difference is about 25 degrees. 225 on the rack translates to about 250 on the dome thermometer (yes it's calibrated). 325 on the rack translates to about 375 on the dome thermometer, so there is significant variation and it does increase with temperature. You might invest in a second Poulder to keep track of the temperature at the cooking surface, or you can run an experiment and plot of graph of grid temperature versus dome temperature and use it as a guide.[p]Okay, enough. I hope you can find something useful among these 5:00 AM ramblings...[p]Kelly

  • Roger,
    I cooked my first brisket last Sunday as well. It was a tiny 2 pounder that came from my in-law's organic beef farm. I trimmed some of the fat off, rubbed it with a BBQ spice mix and let it set for just a couple of hours before putting it on the egg at 240 degrees over indirect heat.[p]I was going to do a low and slow for 2 hours per pound, or 4 hours, but had the foresight to put a quick post to this board asking if that made sense for such a little brisket. Qbabe responded that it would need to go much longer. It ended up going for 8 hours at which time it was at 190 degrees. I wrapped it for a couple of hours and served at about 8pm. It was super. It held together very well but was quite tender, moist and well seasoned. [p]Maybe it was beginner's luck but I look forward to trying this with a larger brisket next time.[p]Paul

  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Don Sparks,[p]Great information but I would recommend that you DO TRIM the packer brisket. Those things have a TON of fat on them, especially the point end and the seam between the point and the flat. If thats not trimmed somewhat then there will be a LOT of extra fat in/on the brisket and its just not that attractive for serving nor does it add anything to the final product. Sometimes there is a pretty good layer of fat on the flat itself also, its worth trimming that down a bit, say 1/8th of an inch remaining. Again, not 100% necessary but I've cooked briskets for 14 hours and STILL had some of the fat on the flat that didnt get trimmed off, wish I would have.[p]Just my two pennies.[p]Troy
  • Roger,
    Brisket always eluded me also. About a week ago someone left a link to a web site with the following directions for cooking good brisket. Best brisket I've ever tasted! I only copied the directions, and no longer can find the link. The link also has pictures and hopefully someone reading this can provide you with the actual link. The following is what the directions say: (Once again I apologize for not giving proper credit):[p]Cooking beef brisket has traditionally been a lesson in compromise. Nature supplies the cut with a hearty taste, so producing flavor is not difficult. The tricky part is the delicate balance between toughness and moisture - you can have one or have the other, but it is very difficult to get both in the same piece of meat. [p]Because the brisket is cut from a load-bearing portion of the steer, right next to the foreleg, this cut has a much higher concentration of the connective tissue protein collagen than is found in a less active section of the steer. The collagen is what makes the meat tough, but if it is cooked long enough, the connective tissue will break down into gelatin, causing the meat to become tender. Collagen begins to convert to gelatin at about 150 degrees. As the internal temperature increases beyond 150 degrees and even though the collagen is being converted to gelatin, moisture is being driven out of the brisket. [p]As the brisket gets drier it actually starts to toughen again even though the collagen is being converted. This is true as the internal temperature rises to near 200 degrees. But at approximately 210 degrees a dramatic reversal occurs. The brisket becomes remarkably (fork) tender and the rapid increase in the gelatinization of the collagen at this temperature outpaces the loss of moister thus producing a texturally pleasing brisket. An ideal situation.[p]A full, untrimmed beef brisket can weigh as much as 14 pounds, of which about 10 percent is surface fat. During the cooking process the brisket will lose up to 35% of its weight and will shrink in size.[p][p]HERE'S HOW[p]If you are not cooking a whole brisket, then chose the "point" end to BBQ. The "point" end is the thicker end and contains more ribbons of fat. Even though the "flat" end is considered the better cut, the "point" does an outstanding job of BBQing because the ribbons of fat help keep the brisket moist during the cooking process. Generally the "point" end is not readily available at the meat counter - ask your butcher for an untrimmed "point" that is 5 or 6 lbs. If you do the "flat" or a whole brisket instead, be sure to ask the butcher for an untrimmed cut.[p]Apply your favorite rub prior to putting the brisket on the BBQ. Cook the brisket for about 14 hours. BBQ the brisket with the fat side up. Adjust the BBQ for a grill level temperature of 225 degrees. Apply heat and smoke (Hickory, Oak, Mesquite, etc.) for the first 3 to 5 hours of cooking; apply only heat beyond that. Too much smoke can impart a bitter taste. [p]When the internal temperature reaches 205 to 210 degrees remove the brisket from the cooker and let rest for a half-hour so. Slice the brisket across the grain. The brisket should be fork tender and quite moist.[p]
    Before Cooking After Cooking
    10 lbs 6.25 lbs (35% loss)
    Size: 18" x 8.5" Size: 13" x 8". [p]Buy a Choice, un-trimed Brisket. [p]

  • BBQBluesStringer,
    PS... If the brisket is trimmed of fat, I add a layer of thick-sliced bacon where the fat cap used to be.

  • BGE Pit Crew,
    And from what I've seen that xl could probably handle a buffalo brisket...

  • sprinter,
    I agree with you about the trimming part, I actually go pretty lean in contests and usually have 2 butts above my briskets. Just figured it was something a first timer should ease into. After he cooks a few I'm sure he'll be able to gauge about how much he can trim depending on the way hes cooking it.

  • yaByaB Posts: 137
    Mark from Utah,[p]Found the link, click below.[p]Bob
    [ul][li]The Missing (Brisket) Link[/ul]
  • drbbqdrbbq Posts: 1,152
    sprinter,[p]You can trim it after cooking.
    Ray Lampe Dr. BBQ
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    drbbq,[p]Yeah, but at that point you kind of take all or nothing, not to mention all of the rub that may be left on the outside of the brisket also. At least thats my experience.[p]I typically cook the briskets whole then take the point/flat apart after the cook but the flat I like to have trimmed as well as I can so I can basically slice it and serve it. A small bit of fat on the top is OK and leaves the rub on there if there is any left.[p]Just personal taste, it can be trimmed after the cook, and is MUCH easier at this point but my experience is that after the cook its either take ALL of the fat off, or leave it all on, not much grey area.[p]Missed you at contests lately Doc, you going to be in Charleston, MO early next year? We're done this year but planning on that one first thing next year.[p]Troy
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