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Smoking a whole brisket

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The Chowhound Team split this cooking tangent from its original location on the Los Angeles board:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617620

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I've smoked brisket from both Costco and Smart and Final and found both to be great. You can get a higher quality beef from a butcher (e.g. Handy Market in Burbank) but there's no guarantee that the flavor will be considerably noticeable if you smoke it with a rub (i.e. the subtle flavors of a better quality beef may be lost in the smoke and spice).

It's nice to see someone who is into smoking meats. Get ready for the epic brisket smoke (about 1-1.5 hours per pound of meat)... good times!!

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  1. Another vote for S&F. that's all I ever use. Although I'm sure that a higher quality cut might be a little better, I'd save your $ until after you've practiced a few times. Keep in mind that a whole brisket CAN be done in 12 hours(depending on the size) but you'll need to keep the heat higher (between 275 F and 300F). I'm more a 225F degree guy. Takes longer, but the taste is great and is the secret for turning the lesser cuts into the apex of smokey goodness.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Grubber

      Time is really subjective when cooking a brisket. Your smoker will play a big part in how long it takes to cook your brisket. And each piece of meat is different and will cook differently. I cooked three briskets the other day at 230 degrees. 2 were done in 10 hours. The other was done in six. Keep this in mind, "It's done when it's done."

      When it hits about 195 degrees internal your probe thermometer should slide in like butter. If it doesn't keep cooking. If it does, wrap it in foil and put it in an empty cooler for at least an hour. If it finishes early, just leave it in the cooler until serving time.

      1. re: bigmista

        Or you could say time has no bearing on cooking a brisket. It all depends on the meat. I agree, "it's done when it's done". I love cooking a whole brisket with both point and flat. A good rub overnight and into the smoker. I like to pull mine at 200 and foil to rest. As you said they can be wrapped in foil and towels and placed into a cooler to rest where they will stay hot for hours. The last packer I did was rested on the counter in foil. Took 3 hours to cool enough where I could handle it and slice it. I usually slice the flat and pull the point. On my next brisket I want to use the point to make "burnt ends". This sounds so good I have to try it.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Interesting you should mention the extended resting, Scuba. I had to let a brisket rest for 3 hours wrapped in a cooler one time (waiting for guests) and it actually turned out BETTER than if I were to slice in within an hour. Resting the brisket in a cooler for a minimum of 2 hours after smoking it is a part of my routine now.

          Somebody mentioned Wagyu brisket as the beef to smoke. Anyone tried this? Seems like A) it's too expensive and inherently flavorful a meat to subject to the intense flavors of smoking and B) as heavily marbled as the meat is, I would guess that it would finish poorly and too soft, almost pasty.

          Any experiences and thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I'm willing to try this if there's any vailidity to it (heck, let's face it, I'd smoke a shoe if there's was a chance of it tasting good at the end).

    2. There's a place in LA off of western that serves smoked brisket and preps a 10-12lb cut of brisket in 6-8 hours and the brisket is tender and flavorful. The trick is to wrap the brisket in foil but leave the top exposed (kinda like a boat or swan)... kinda like foiling but not completely. That way, the brisket steam cooks itself a little more quickly while being exposed to the smoke to add flavor. I've never tried it but I was shown the smoker and the cooking brisket there and the look/texture/aroma was that of a long-smoked brisket.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrshankly

        I just did a 14 1/2 lb brisket yesterday. I tried something new and had great results! I marinated/injected it with a cider vinegar/homebrew/spice recipe I got online overnight in the fridge. I picked up a disposable large aluminum tray, like a turkey container at S&M. Smoked it at 170 to 200 for about 12 hours with apple wood in my offset smoker. I couldn't believe the results! More tender and juicy than ever before. I basted it every couple of hours. The container allowed the brisket to bask in it's own juices like a crockpot... amazing. Meat was bought at Winco for $2&39c a pound!

      2. When we did bbq contests we used lots of Wagyu from Snake River Farms. Nice product and we did well with it. It does cook different and can hit temps much faster than a choice or prime packer. It really was not that expensive, I remember that we paid about $3.50 approx per pound.

        3 Replies
        1. re: duck833

          Thanks duck! How was the texture of the meat once you finished smoking it? How does it compare to a regular brisket?

          1. re: duck833

            Either this was a really long time ago before Wagyu was popular, you have a relative at Snake River Farms or somebody bumped your head because you can't even get prime brisket at that price now.

            Wagyu briskets do well in contests but I wouldn't sell it on a regular basis. The beauty of cooking a brisket is taking a cheap, tough cut of meat and turning it into a delicacy.

            1. re: bigmista

              Both Paradise Farms and Snake River have their Kobe/Waygu briskets for right at $4 a pound.