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My first brisket: a photoessay

I've been grilling with an LGE for about three years.  My wife generally likes food grilled but not necessarily smoked, so I've never invested the time to figure out a brisket.  With the Easter weekend coming up and some friends coming over, I decided to take the plunge.  

I opted for the Travis Method.  After consultation with the man himself (Travis via direct message), I decided to raise the 9.5# packer in a rib rack above the braising sauce and put it in the allegro about four hours in.  I use my own rub: equal parts kosher salt, white sugar, montreal seasoning and chili powder with garlic and onion powder too and the not-so-secret ingredient of celery salt to hopefully assist the presence of a smoke ring.

Before I started, I vacuumed out the box and added fresh lump.  I start it with a weed burner and this time added a few cubes.  It started a bit too well and I was delayed about thirty minutes trying to the the temp down to 300.  I added chunks of pecan and the plate setter at midnight.

imageI put it on fat side up with a chopped onion, a bottle of normal Allegro marinade and a precious bottle of Shiner Bock.

imageAt 4:00 am, I checked on the temp (holding nicely at 290, so I opened the lower vent a tad). I removed the rib rack and flipped it fat side down to get the meet under the cap flavored through immersion in the braising liquid and to get some bark on the top.  Since it was being braised I wasn't really concerned with it drying out.  This is what it looked like pre-flip.

imageThen I went back to bed praying for two things: (1) that my kids realize the true significance of Easter and (2) that I estimated right on the temp and wouldn't wake up to brisket being volcanically roasted at 500 degrees or slowly cooled to jerky at 100 degrees.

When I woke up and went down, this was the answer:

image
Do other smokers maintain temperature this effortlessly?  Surely not.  I've cooked a lot on my Egg and even I was impressed that it effectively stayed the exact same temperature over eight hours.

Anyway, back to the cook.  I have a Thermapen and I use it often when I cooks steaks, chicken and burgers.  I soon realized that a brisket was another beast altogether; so many areas to test.  Nonetheless, I concluded that it was generally 185.  Then, I began fretting about how often to monitor it since the end was in sight.  I got some advice from the forum and generally waited and tested and waited and tested until 10:15.  When it finally reached about 205 internal all around, I pulled it. 

Most of the braising liquid was gone...I was hoping for some to be left to assist with the sauce.  It was mostly just rendered fat.  I wrapped it in heavy duty foil and put it in a pre-heated cooler with towels below and above.  It maintained 160 for three hours.  I ultimately decied to put it in the fridge but when I pulled it out two hours later, it was still warm to the touch.  Still, I re-heated it slightly while still wrapped in the foil.  I pulled it out fifteen minutes before eating and let it rest for about ten.  

This is what I found when i sliced it:


imageI was happy with it.  

In fact, here's a close up:



I'm a brisket snob, so I can be very picky on some aspects: the bottom was a tad too carmelized and a slightly bit too salty and the flat was a little dry.  Truthfully, everyone raved over it and I was proud of the end result.  My Egg performed beautifully.  There is just something elemental and satisfying about cooking a big slab of meat for your family and your friend's family.  I will definitely be doing it again.

I think I will go with a low and slow next time without trimming as much off the top and not flipping it.  I'll put rub all over and hope for the best.  I'll say, however, that Travis' method is super efficient.  I had an almost ten pound brisket cooked in ten hours, not too bad.  


image

Comments

  • looks great. Little advice:

     "it was still warm to the touch.  Still, I re-heated it slightly while still wrapped in the foil."

    Don't do that again. Let it cool until easy to handle with your bare hands (125-140) and then slice 

    Overall, it looks awesome but it was a bit past optimal temp which is why it was falling apart on the slice and the flat was a bit dry. WAAAAAAY better to be a little over than a little under so good job. there. That all comes with doing a few. You'll nail that in no time.

    You done good. Keep it up.



  • Solson005Solson005 Posts: 1,841
    Looks good! Always nice to make a great meal with guests over.  =D>
    Large & Small BGE, CGW Two-Tier Swing Rack for BOTH EGGS, Spider for the Wok, eggCARTen & and Cedar Pergola my Eggs call home in Edmond, OK. 
  • BeaumontyBeaumonty Posts: 159
    looks great. Little advice:

     "it was still warm to the touch.  Still, I re-heated it slightly while still wrapped in the foil."

    Don't do that again. Let it cool until easy to handle with your bare hands (125-140) and then slice 

    Overall, it looks awesome but it was a bit past optimal temp which is why it was falling apart on the slice and the flat was a bit dry. WAAAAAAY better to be a little over than a little under so good job. there. That all comes with doing a few. You'll nail that in no time.

    You done good. Keep it up.


    I was nervous about having it take too long.  Man, I mis-judged that.  

    If you're wanting a 5:30-6:00 dinner time, when and how do you plan for a brisket?  Just do a rub, grate, drip pan, trimmed brisket at around 245 with 1.5/lb?  If you start cooking at 11:00, that's about 3:00-4:00 ready with a two hour FTC.  

    I think that's where I want to go, but am a bit nervous about the details.

    We need Cen-Tex to set out his general style so we can have a "Cen-Tex Method"!


  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,141
    Beaumonty said:
    looks great. Little advice:

     "it was still warm to the touch.  Still, I re-heated it slightly while still wrapped in the foil."

    Don't do that again. Let it cool until easy to handle with your bare hands (125-140) and then slice 

    Overall, it looks awesome but it was a bit past optimal temp which is why it was falling apart on the slice and the flat was a bit dry. WAAAAAAY better to be a little over than a little under so good job. there. That all comes with doing a few. You'll nail that in no time.

    You done good. Keep it up.


    I was nervous about having it take too long.  Man, I mis-judged that.  

    If you're wanting a 5:30-6:00 dinner time, when and how do you plan for a brisket?  Just do a rub, grate, drip pan, trimmed brisket at around 245 with 1.5/lb?  If you start cooking at 11:00, that's about 3:00-4:00 ready with a two hour FTC.  

    I think that's where I want to go, but am a bit nervous about the details.

    We need Cen-Tex to set out his general style so we can have a "Cen-Tex Method"!


    yea we need a centex "how i do brisket" thread.  cyber stalk him he has some great threads on fire building and how to buy a brisket.  now we just need a how to do it.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 4,996
    If family and friends liked it then you should consider your efforts successful. Thanks for the pictorial too.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,610
    Congrats on a great cook-and thanks for the pics.  We will be interested in your take when comparing the Travis method and the more conventional low&slow cook. BTW-I'm sure Cen-Tex will PM you and ask about the trick to a smoke ring :)
    Louisville
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,140
    oh damn, we don't need a " Cen-Tex method"... he's already the internet police.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • caliking said:
    If family and friends liked it then you should consider your efforts successful. Thanks for the pictorial too.

    Amen!

  • U_tarded said:
    Beaumonty said:
    looks great. Little advice:

     "it was still warm to the touch.  Still, I re-heated it slightly while still wrapped in the foil."

    Don't do that again. Let it cool until easy to handle with your bare hands (125-140) and then slice 

    Overall, it looks awesome but it was a bit past optimal temp which is why it was falling apart on the slice and the flat was a bit dry. WAAAAAAY better to be a little over than a little under so good job. there. That all comes with doing a few. You'll nail that in no time.

    You done good. Keep it up.


    I was nervous about having it take too long.  Man, I mis-judged that.  

    If you're wanting a 5:30-6:00 dinner time, when and how do you plan for a brisket?  Just do a rub, grate, drip pan, trimmed brisket at around 245 with 1.5/lb?  If you start cooking at 11:00, that's about 3:00-4:00 ready with a two hour FTC.  

    I think that's where I want to go, but am a bit nervous about the details.

    We need Cen-Tex to set out his general style so we can have a "Cen-Tex Method"!


    yea we need a centex "how i do brisket" thread.  cyber stalk him he has some great threads on fire building and how to buy a brisket.  now we just need a how to do it.
    It's on here somewhere. It's really easy. Trim, rub, smoke, rest, eat :).

  • DMurfDMurf Posts: 479
    I happened to see the TravisTrick brisket method and decided to give it a try. Got a 13 pound packer and trimmed the fat to about 1/4 inch and removed the deckle, thanks to the youtube link on another post. My family does not like spicy but I did get a bottle of Allegro Original, in Tulsa, OK Reasors carrys about 8 or nine varieties.

    Thought that a 13 pound brisket would still take a fair amount of time to cook put it on last night around 9:30 300 degrees and it was done by 9:00 this morning. Now the cook must sample the product, quality control, and thus will be my preferred method for briskets in the future
    David
    BBQ since 2010 - Oh my, what I was missing.
  • BeaumontyBeaumonty Posts: 159

    DMurf said:
    I happened to see the TravisTrick brisket method and decided to give it a try. Got a 13 pound packer and trimmed the fat to about 1/4 inch and removed the deckle, thanks to the youtube link on another post. My family does not like spicy but I did get a bottle of Allegro Original, in Tulsa, OK Reasors carrys about 8 or nine varieties. Thought that a 13 pound brisket would still take a fair amount of time to cook put it on last night around 9:30 300 degrees and it was done by 9:00 this morning. Now the cook must sample the product, quality control, and thus will be my preferred method for briskets in the future
    I was amazed at how quickly it cooked it.  Did you raise it at all or put it down in it the whole time?  If down in it, what amount of liquid was left over at the end?  What size Egg do you have?  I used the disposable aluminum pan in the picture of the "travis method" (by accident) and it juuuuusst fit my LGE.  i can't imagine getting a 13 pounder in unless you didn't use a rack and just put it in the juice...which i may try next time after I do it more traditionally.

  • DMurfDMurf Posts: 479
    @Beaumonty

    It was a tight fit to get it all in the EGG, but that is why you can bend aluminum fairly easily. I set the meat in the marinade for the entire cook. I setup my EGG to run at 300 and that is where it sat all night long. 

    There was a good three cups of fluid in the pan when I was done, I poured this off into a container and sat it in the fridge the fat separated and I was able to scrape that off but save the onion. Poured the Au Jus over the meat and warmed it up. Absolutely delicious, a touch salty but that was due more to the rub than the process so I will change that up, I used a texas brisket rub. 

    I have a large egg, and although the meat started out at 13 pounds I trimmed a good 3 pounds of fat off that beast. But now I have plenty of left overs for lunch this week!
    David
    BBQ since 2010 - Oh my, what I was missing.
  • pwg56pwg56 Posts: 91
    Curious about your method for preheating your cooler. Do most people do this when they FTC?
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 10,672
    I don't.  If you want a shortcut on that, throw a few bricks in your egg, heat 'em up with the cook, then wrap them in a towel and throw them in the cooler with your FTC meat.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    No City.

  • pwg56 said:
    Curious about your method for preheating your cooler. Do most people do this when they FTC?

    no need

  • BeaumontyBeaumonty Posts: 159

    pwg56 said:
    Curious about your method for preheating your cooler. Do most people do this when they FTC?
    I boiled a pan of water and threw it in there while i was wrapping the brisket and getting my towels. The cooler was stored in a cool place and I thought I would need to store it about six hours. Whether it was the water or otherwise, the brisket was 160 degrees after 2.5 hours. 

     I was worried about the food being in the food safety "danger zone" so I put it in the fridge.  Again, poor planning by me because I had to re-heat it a tad.  I just didn't want it NOT to be ready for dinner so i planned for it taking too long.  I didn't know what else to do when it was ready way too early.  Until i researched it, i thought the FTC could just be extended, but my wife is a stickler on the temp issue.

    Next time I am just going to set cooler in the sun to take the chill off (unless it needs a good cleaning).
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