It all started with a simple question on how to smoke a brisket by Phil Wooten in our I Love Grilling Meat Private VIP Facebook group forum.
The following is a transcribed conversation between veteran, beginner, backyard, and competition Pitmasters.
We strongly recommend that you pay attention as you read this entire article because when you do you’ll more than likely pick up some highly valuable tips on how to smoke a brisket from these fine gentlemen and at the same time save yourself the time of reading through dozens of recipes and articles which more than likely do not contain this valuable information.
How To Smoke A Brisket
Here’s the question that started it all (special thanks to Phil for asking it!)…
Phil Wooten: So I’m going to be smoking a brisket for the first time this week, any tips on not messing it up?
Danny McTurnan: Smoke at 250F internal temp 175F
Phil Wooten: Wrap or no wrap?
Danny McTurnan: You can brine the day before then add your favorite rub then to the smoker. I use oak and hickory.
Phil Wooten: Ok sweet, I’m going to be using alder and hickory.
Danny McTurnan: No wrap until resting time. Just keep it moist.
Phil Wooten: Yea that’s what I meant, wrap after I pull it or no wrap, sorry I should have clarified.
Danny McTurnan: Apple juice.
Phil Wooten: Apple juice? In the water tray or use on the meat itself?
Danny McTurnan: When you wrap it for resting add some apple juice on the meat itself.
Phil Wooten: Ok will do. Thank you a lot.
Danny McTurnan: Most welcome
Tony McHale: I like to spray mine with apple juice every couple of hours too, just a personal preference, and its a big cut of meat so I usually let it rest for at least an hour. And I also bring to room temp before I put in the smoker.
Phil Wooten: Okay my buddy is bringing it over tomorrow he just pulled it out of the freezer should be thawed by the time I get it. Going to brine and set in fridge over night. I was thinking of pulling out about an hour or two before I put it on the smoker to bring the temp close to room. Thank you for that advice, and I will contemplate the spray idea sounds good to me.
Tony McHale: Awesome, smoke the hell out of it, it will be great, do you have a meat probe? If so make sure you smoke it to temp, not to a time limit.
Phil Wooten: I have a couple of digital thermometers, no probe sadly. I was going to first check the temp 4 hours in then check accordingly.
Danny McTurnan: you got this.
Tony McHale: Sounds like you got a good plan going, smoke on!!
Phil Wooten: I’ll be sure to post pics. Thank you both again, great advice.
Leroy Bee: I have done the apple juice spray also you could layer the top of it with bacon in a pan that keeps it real moist and then wrap to let it rest for about an hour. But definitely around 250 to internal temp of 175 to 180.
Jason Lum: I am by no means an expert, just a back yard enthusiast, but here’s what I recommend. I rub with the following 1 part paparika, 1 part granulated garlic, 1 part kosher salt, 2 parts coarse ground pepper. I pierce the top of the brisket all over with a fork through the fat cap so the juices can flow down during smoking. I smoke for 6 hours with hickory, then I pull the brisket and place on a rack in a commercial hotel pan and cover with foil or hotel pan cover internal temperature hits 205, yes I did say 205 degrees.
Then I pull and let rest (still covered) for 30 minutes before carving. I then slice of the point (which I throw back on the smoker for about 2 hours for burnt ends). Slice across the grain on the flat of course. Take the juices that accumulate in the hotel pan and separate off the fat. Mix the drippings 1 to 1 with favorite bbq sauce and use to toss your burnt ends.
Anytime I have pulled a brisket under 200 degrees, it has still been tough. Like I said I am no expert, but this method has yielded good results for me. Not cooking for competition, just hungry party guests.
Phil Wooten: I have a great rub I have used in the past, on prime rib that I was thinking of using for this one. Thank you for the suggestion though. I didn’t even think of doing burnt ends, that’s an awesome idea so thank you for that as well. Your way definitely sounds good, I will take that into consideration. Thank you.
Jason Lum: You HAVE to do burnt ends! Hopefully it is a packer brisket and not just the flat.
Jason Lum: 75 lbs of brisket this past weekend.
Tony McHale: Damn Jason Lum, you got a smoker behind all that meat??
James Vredenburg: I agree with Jason Lum, 205 will be moist and tender, good luck, let us know how it goes.
Phil Wooten: Damn!!!! Those look absolutely delicious.
Tony McHale: All this brisket talk is giving me the itch, I haven’t smoked one yet this year, I did three last year, gonna have to go get me one now!!
Jason Lum: (Smoker) Handed down by my wife’s late grandpa. I use my kamado for small cooks, but break out “the gun safe” for big ones. The previous weekend was 75 pounds of pork butts.
Jason Lum: When brisket loves you back!
Leroy Bee: Jason Lum I like how you make the statement no expert but then you post competition looking burnt ends and four huge cow chest on your smoker, LOL, those look great.
Jason Lum: Leroy Bee, I just love to eat and do a lot of experimenting. Groups like this one and YouTube videos have been very helpful in my quest to learn to BBQ. I used to have 50% success rate with brisket, but getting the right gear and know how, and with enough practice, I think I finally have it down. I am my own toughest critic, but I do have to say, those burnt ends were off the charts good.
Leroy Bee: Jason I agree with you this groups has helped me a lot also. Those burnt end do look great now I have to do a brisket this weekend and make me some burnt ends.
James Vredenburg: I am 100% in agreement with Jason Lum and Leroy Bee. Being part of this group has made me a better Pitmaster. I am far from being an expert. I can say though from feedback and questions being answered by really good Pitmaters has helped me. Thank you everyone.
Wayne Sprague: I smoke mine also to 205 but I inject mine and trim fat cap down on the point end for better burnt ends. Smoke at 225 to 250 till internal reaches 150 then I wrap with foil add a little of the injection to the foil and let go till internal is 205. I let min rest about 2 hrs. When I pull it out of the smoker I open the foil to let out all the steam for about 15 minutes then wrap it back up in the foil and wrap it up in a bath towel to rest and absorb all the juices back into it. I’m into competition and this produces fantastic brisket.
Jason Lum: Thanks for the tips Wayne Sprague, I will try it out on my next cook.
James Vredenburg: Thanks Wayne Sprague, I just started competing and that is great information. I will be doing that next cook.
Wayne Sprague: Glad I could help Jason and James.
Jason Lum: Wayne Sprague, when you say you trim the point side fat cap down, does that mean you take it off the flat and smoke it separately? Or do you cut it off after you rest the brisket?
Wayne Sprague: Jason I just trim the fat cap from the off of the point. I don’t separate the point from the flat.
Brian Sims: Cook it whole and be patient make sure you have plenty of time and start early.
Wayne Sprague: That’s very true Brian lol
Hope you took some notes on these incredibly valuable tips and techniques on how to smoke a brisket from the experiences of these fine Pitmasters.
Special thanks to Phil Wooten, Danny McTurnan, Tony McHale, Leroy Bee, Jason Lum, James Vredenburg, Wayne Sprague, Brian Sims for participating in this conversation and providing your brisket knowledge!
Be sure to show these highly insightful Pitmasters some love by sharing this article with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest, and any other social media you can think of.
Photo Cred: Jason Lum’s beautiful briskets! Well played Jason!
Happy Grillin’ & Smokin’,
~I Love Grilling Meat
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