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Smoking Brisket

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I am smoking brisket tomorrow for my family and it's my first time. I have a brinkman vertical water smoker. The brisket is 13 pounds but I had to cut it into two pieces, both about equal, to fit it in the smoker. Couple questions...

1. Does cutting the brisket in two change the amount of time needed to smoke? Or would it still be one hour to one and half hours for 13 pounds? So 13 to 19 hours? I plan on monitoring the internal temperature with an electic thermometer to get to 180 degrees.
2. I don't really have 13 to 19 hours so any suggestions or should I just make that amount of time?
3. Should I wrap the brisket in foil after 4 or 5 hours or will I be fine with moistness if I baste and keep the water full?

I really appreciate any help. Trying to impress the whole family!

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  1. Do a smoke of about 6-7 hours to get a good smoke ring on the meat. If you're pressed for time, double wrap the meat in foil, put in your oven @ 275 for a couple of hours till you get to your desired temp. About the last 45 mins or so open the foil up so the meat can dry back out.

    1. I agree with rexster, I would just add that I would smoke it without foil for the 6-7. Don't rush it though - cooking it low and slow is what keeps it moist. Brisket will be tough if rushed. Wrapping it in foil while cooking it in the oven will allow it to create its own yummy juices and cook in them. You've made me hungry :)

      1. I'd ask what you mean about cutting it into two pieces. Do you mean the point and the flat? Did you start with whole brisket or was it trimmed so that all you have is the flat? Because if that's the case, it's much harder to ever produce the tender, moist meat that you're undoubtedly hoping for.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jaymes

          I'm pretty sure the OP was going to cut the brisket in half not separate the point from the flat, to fit the smoker grate.

        2. Its not only getting to the target temp that is important but the having it for a period of time at the temperature for the fibers to break down.

          You should aim for more like 190 and then have it rested foiled and covered with a towel or in a cooler for at least 45mins

          you can tell when it has broken down, it will have a jiggly feel to it.

          1. I admire the courage you have on this one. First time brisket for family.

            I have a Masterbuilt charcoal smoker which is just like a cheapy Brinkman.
            Firstly...I cheat and use foil. I really don't want to wait for 18 hours for my food.

            I recently had a 13 pound brisket which I also cut in half. I Injected it. Froze the smaller mostly flat half and smoked the bigger point half. It was probably around 7 lbs.
            I smoked it for around 2.5 / 3 hours and then tightly double foiled it. Continued to cook it at a higher heat for another 3 hours and it hit 195. Let it sit/rest for around half and hour and sliced it.
            It was so very good. I've done this before and it also only took around 5-6 hours. Two halfs should take the same time with my technique 5-6 hours cooking.

            I learned this from a technique on the www.instructables.com search Memphis styled bbq brisket

            One other thing, unless you know everyone likes smoke, I'd err on the side of less smoke vs more. If you overdo the smoke it could ruin it.

            Good luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

              Agree with LUV; as a beginner smoker, I oversmoked everything, brisket included. I like to smoke for 3 hours then wrap with foil. At this point, you just want low heat, so you can keep it in your smoker, or simply put in the oven at about 250F. Cook low and slow for another 5-6 hours as suggested