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May 17, 2014 07:51 AM

Smoked brisket with "deli" spices?

I'm considering doing my first brisket deli-style. I found a recipe that calls for a 4-pound flat cut brined overnight in sugar and pickling spices, rubbed with pepper, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, salt, and garlic, then smoked at 200-220 x 3 hours, wrapping and then cooking for another 1.5-2 hours.

I plan to serve this with creamy coleslaw, pickles, macaroni salad, and a cocktail called the 24th St Spritz, which is a boozy version of Cel-Ray soda.

1) best wood for smoker? Apple?
2) finish wrapped in oven or leave wrapped in smoker?
3) is the flat the best cut for this? We like our brisket (and pastrami) on the fattier side.
4) anything I'm missing?

I have a Char Griller with an offset smoker box. I'm pretty experienced with ribs, pork shoulder, poultry, but have never done a brisket. Advice so I don't wreck it?

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  1. That's almost a recipe for pastrami.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rexster314

      I know! I was thinking the same thing.

      1. I have to agree, that sounds kinda like Pastrami, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! That aside...
        Apple will be fine, I think you can't go wrong with fruitwoods. I like cherry.
        If you are going to wrap, I think the oven is fine then. I don't think it matters after wrapping. I never wrap briskets.
        Flat is the more popular cut for most people, and probably cooks more consistently. I love a properly smoked point, but many will find it fatty. That's why points, in many places, end up as burnt ends. That's ok, I love those too.
        My biggest piece of advice is... it's done when it's done. Times have little meaning. Don't count on them, and if you are trying to meet a deadline, start earlier than you think you should. Internal temp tells you a lot more than time, but the most telling is when that temp probe slides in like going into butter. At that point, you don't even need to read the temp ;-) I've never cooked a brisket as small as 4 pounds, Maybe your 4.5 to 5 hours will do the job, though I would doubt it until I've tried it. Give yourself more time. When it is done early, wrap it in a couple layers of foil and then in a couple of towels, then place in an appropriately-sized cooler. It will easily stay hot for 1-2 hours.
        Please let us know how it turns out. I have my doubts about the brine penetrating a brisket overnight, but then I've never brined a brisket. Maybe it will be perfect!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cheez62

          I too have my doubts about that brine. Also, since it's going to be pastrami-like, room temp meat won't be a problem. I'm willing to be patient and start way earlier than I need to. I may try a larger brisket (leftovers are always welcome around here), because larger cuts of meat are more forgiving. So, 1.5 hours per pound at around 200-220? Is that the rule of thumb when it comes to brisket?

          1. re: guitargirlcbr

            Ok, I'll agree with the room temp meat being ok. You can still cooler it as I mentioned, I do that barbecue often, not just brisket. It works great.
            Yeah, leftovers rock! Why do you think there are two whole racks of spares on the Weber right now? Hehe..
            I've never gone with a time per pound, so I don't know about that exactly. I would say though that for a larger brisket - like a whole packer cut, which is what I almost always cook - that rule has got to be on the high side. I've cooked my share of 14+ pound briskets, and if they took 21 hours, I'd be very tired! But then I guess I shoot more for 250 and up, I suppose. I don't think that temp matters too much, but I think that if you are down to 200, you're cooking awfully slow. I don't mind occasional spikes to around 300. I find no ill effects from that. Again, cook to temp, and to tenderness, rather than to time. I know that doesn't help a lot if you are cooking for guests, but we've already had a couple answers to how to hold it. Most of all, have fun, and learn as you go. It may not be great the first time, but it will almost certainly be good. Tell us how it goes!