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Old 05-21-2007, 07:53 AM   #1
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That is a flat. Figure anywhere from 1hr to 1.5 hrs per lb as an estimate. The most important thing I can tell you about cooking a brisket is to let it rest foiled in a dry cooler for a minimum of 1 hr, several hours is better. Good luck!
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:23 AM   #2
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I never rest mine unless I aint had enough to drink yet...
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Old 05-21-2007, 10:12 AM   #3
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It appears to be half of a flat. The bald area is where the point sat. Because the point's been removed there isn't much of a fat cap to prevent the brisket from drying out.

So, the best way to cook it is NOT at a low temperature, but in the 250 range. At 250, you can expect your cooking time to go right around an hour to an hour and a quarter per pound.

I'd also recommend wrapping the brisket in foil at 160 with a little splash of something -- say beer if you have one handy, or your injection marinade, or ... Wrapping won't do wonders for your bark, but dry is worse. It's stopped taking smoke in a good way, anyway. So, if it's more convenient you can finish it in the kitchen oven without offending the barbecue gods too much.

BOS doesn't post here, does he?

Wrapping will also help push you through the stall with a little less fret. Although, in a brisket that small I wouldn't expect too much stall.

Normally, I don't wrap. But normally I don't cook clean shaven briskets. Or partials, for that matter. Here's one I trimmed:



You'll want to take the flat out just a little past 190. 195 is what most of us shoot for, especially with a piece of flat. You'll also want the brisket to rest at leas an hour. The high pull temperature and long rest period help with the protein denaturing process that makes a tender, juicy brisket.

Good luck,
Rich
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:57 PM   #4
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Ribs are never a bad idea.

You've hit the dreaded stall. You always get them with big, whole briskets. More often not with pieces. Especially the point -- but of course, you've got the flat.

FWIW, the stall occurs because the density of the meat changes with heat as does the liquid distribution. At a certain combination of density and fluid levels, the meat transmits heat better than it absorbs it. You'll hear people say the heat energy is going to "dissolve collagens," or "fats melting" or "connective tissue [doing something]." If you look at it in a very complicated way, I suppose that's sort of true. But honesly, selective energy usage in a more or less homogenous environment is pretty rare.

The interior of a brisket is almost all protein, including collagens and "connective tissue." The protein molecules are long strands, wrapped around one another. Heat causes them to contract. They pull together increasing the density (and toughness) of the meat. The contraction causes the area to expel fluids. After enough heat over a long enough period of time, the strands start to relax and in the process the regional density drops, allowing fluids to flow back into the area. The relaxation is called "denaturization."

Look at it, and you can see why you rest meat after cooking too. As the temperature throughout the meat equilibrates the juices redistribute equally throughout the cut. That way, when you carve, the juices stay with the meat rather than spurting out on the board. A puddle of juices you can use as a sort of gravy may look appetizing, but it's really a harbinger of dry meant.

Meanwhile, back at reality: If I were you -- and I'm not, am I? -- I'd pull it out, wrap it, and put it back. The wrap will take it through the stall quicker than otherwise.

Rich
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:22 PM   #5
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Don't worry, it will get yet more tender in its blankie as the proteins continue to relax and unwind. You should relax and unwind, too.

FWIW, when you do a full brisket and can control the trim, and you have a nice tight smoker like a WSM, you don't have to foil. When and if you don't foil the big trick is to wrap for rest in saran wrap instead of aluminum foil Makes a difference.

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Old 05-21-2007, 04:34 PM   #6
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Allrite Rich Call me a dumb coon ass, Why can I blast a briskit @ 325 till 195 & it still comes out the same? Learn me suthin new, I allways love to hear your advice. I know it comes experiance.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:51 PM   #7
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Dang, I'd like to try a brisket one of these days but there seems to be more diversity of opinion regarding preparing one than the perpetual debate over Eastern vs. Lexington style NC BBQ.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:57 PM   #8
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James,

I'm no fan of low and slow. I cook at around 275 myself.

Anyway, a brisket cooked in the 300 - 325 range doesn't come out the same as one cooked at 250. The relatively high heat cook gives you tough bark, a shallower smoke ring, usually less smoke in the meat (not the same thing as the ring) -- and depending on the trim some nicely charred fat. And yes you can get a tender, juicy brisket. In fact, maybe juicier.

Most of the tenderizing denaturing occurs as the internal temp of the brisket goes past 180 into the 190s -- as the saying goes, "beyond done and into tender." And the rest of it, during the rest. If you've carved with fifteen minute and two hour rests you KNOW there's a difference there.

I prefer 275 because it goes pretty quick, but you don't have to trim off too much of the bark because it got too chewy.

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Old 05-21-2007, 06:44 PM   #9
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Congrats on the first brisket

See you next weekend,

(Are you going to bring some of your wifes butter tarts???)
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Old 05-22-2007, 09:29 AM   #10
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kimmal,

"... I'm hoping that the big problem was ..."

Whole briskets with a fat cap cover usually cook better than partials with too close a trim.

Lots of little things make a difference, and no doubt they add up. The biggest thing is to start with a good piece of meat. The next biggest is not doing anything to screw it up. Everything else, comparatively is a little thing.

I've been making these suckers for decades. As of two days ago, I finally made three in a row that I'd rate as excellent. The biggest change? I found a butcher whose supplier provides Black Angus beef for the best Korean restaurants in the SGV. All three briskets came from him. The next biggest? I realized, when I was reviewing what I'd done to the second of the series, that for the first two, I'd done only minimal tending to the cooker during the cook. The doors, vents, etc., remained unscrewed with. Finally, I kept the rub and injection limited to very simple recipes -- nothing exotic.

Consistently good brisket is the holy grail of barbecue. You aren't supposed to find it the first time, or the second. It takes some of us decades. It sounds like you're on your way.

Good luck
Rich
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