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Jun 26, 2007 08:54 PM

help me cook this brisket for a bbq

I bought a whole (10+ lb) brisket to make for a bbq but it is too big to cook on my bbq over indirect heat. I can either fit in in my oven, which is what I think I should probably do, or cook it over direct heat on the grill, which I think will burn it. My husband really wants to serve bbq brisket sandwiches at our bbq. Can someone please give me advice/instructions on what I should do. Thanks!

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  1. My suggestion is to cut the brisket in half. Use the indirect slow smoke method on each half over two days. Maybe try different rubs on the two halves and compare which you like best. Enjoy!

    1. some people do bbq brisket over relatively high heat. You could do it over direct if it's fairly low and you are willing to turn it frequently. That can get pretty tiring though.

      As for cutting in half... I don't think I'd cut it right down the middle. If you decide to cut it, I think I'd separate the point and the flat (there's a rounder fattier hunk of meat sitting about 3/4 on top of a wider, flatter piece. The fattier one is the point, the wide flat one is the flat). Brisket sandwiches are most often from the "flat" portion. If you separate that, you might have room on your grill (not sure how big your grill is). Then you can indirectly grill the point too at another time (which makes for some amazing chilli, burnt ends, chopped brisket sandwiches, etc.).

      As for cooking, here's what I'd do in your case, I think. Leave about 1/4 inch of fat on the flat. Set up the grill for indirect, add 3 big hickory or pecan chunks (or apple, etc.). Put the flat in FAT SIDE DOWN. Most folks feel that fat side up is best as it "bastes" the meat. I don't think this is actually true. Regardless, in this situation, the fat cap on the bottom will protect the flat from the significant amount of radiant heat coming from the grill.

      Cook it low until it reaches around 188 to 190-ish, or, more effectively, when a fork can be easily inserted and the whole brisket gives a jello like jiggle. Much more and it is dry, much less and it is tough. Brisket is not the easiest cut to BBQ by any means...

      1. Before I bought a smoker, I cooked a 15 pound, packer-cut (flat + point) brisket on my Weber Genesis. I used just the rear burner on low with the lid down and maintained a temp of around 250-260. I used a broiler pan bottom with water in it and an extra pair of grill racks on top. I burned Traeger wood pellets in h/d aluminum foil packets and kept smoke on it for at least 8 hours cooking it fat side up the whole time. I did rotate the pan once or twice. I took it off at an internal temp of maybe 165, wrapped it in foil, put in on a giant rimmed cookie sheet, and finished it in a 200 oven overnight. Total cook time was about 18 hours and, to this day, it's still remembered by my family as the best I ever made. I bought the smoker shortly after so I've never done another brisket that way.

        3 Replies
          1. re: grampart

            260 for the gas grill strikes me as high -- I wonder where that temp was measured from. Given that you did have a pan with water in it, the whole steamy inside would have had to have been pressurized to maintain water at 48 degrees above its boiling point.

            Do you recall how often you had to add water? SThat would have given heat an opportunity escape when you'd open the lid to do that.

            I'm curious too as to what the final temperature of your brisket was -- it went into the 200 degree oven at an internal of 165 and stayed there for 8 hours? Seems like it would have reached 190-5 in much less than overnight.

            Don't mean to be critical, just inquiring, as I have done slightly smaller packer cut briskets in a similar manner at lower temps (gas grill with wood chips smoking at about 200-225) and into a 225 degree oven in about 8-12 hours total.

            I think the basic technique is an excellent compromise between 100% outdoor cooking and being tethered to the yard.

            1. re: renov8r

              don't know the thermodynamics of it all, but I can get temps well above 300 degrees in my smoker with a water pan. It is a heat sink, but it doesn't limit the temperature all that much...

          2. is there a way to cook it in the oven? I am tempted to try the grill but I don't have time to rotate frequently and my gas grill cooks reallly hot.

            2 Replies
            1. re: roxhills

              I have cooked many brisket in the oven. I use a large covered roasting pan. Cook fat side up, lots of seasoning, low heat. Cook uncovered after meat is tender, to brown fat. I have also cooked in large uncovered pan inside the turkey size roasting bag.

              1. re: roxhills

                Yes and it's really easy, and it can be done a day ahead and the fat layer removed before it is reheated. I do it in a the biggest Reynolds baking bag with a can of Salsa Ranchera, a can of chipotles in addobo, and onions and garlic. I roast it and then refrigerate, take off the fat and slice while it is cold, and then reheat (even in a BBQ if you want the dramatic effect. This stuff has turned vegetarians into carnivors. Really good and so easy.

              2. cooking in the oven with the right seasonings will give you a very good brisket. remember start high heat and then turn down and slow cook for about 8hours/ or until meat is tender. I cover with foil and add a beer while meat is cooking. Uncover during the last hour or so to brown up the meat and give it a nice look. If you can get a hold of Zach's seasoning, that would be great. it is very good for this type of cooking method.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Littlemama

                  I would not cut it in half because it will dry out quicker. Find a good rub commercial or make your own. Be very generous with the rub on both sides cover with foil and pop it in the oven at 250 and forget it. You may need to add a beer or a bit of water from time to time to keep it moist depending on how heavily marbled it is or if the fat cap is very thick. It will take 6-8 hours depending on the thickness of the brisket. Make sure it is fork tender at the center, tough brisket is no fun. good luck