Believe it or not, I’m no expert when it comes to barbecue. As this amazing journey continues to unfold I find myself appreciating more and more the patience it takes to actually produce the food that so many people are enjoying.
I felt early on that if I wanted to write about barbecue I should delve into all aspects of it, so I reached out to a buddy, bought a smoker and began trying some things out.
I’ve shared pictures of various cooks before on my Weber Smokey Mountain, but I hadn’t showed any brisket pictures in detail because, well, none of them really came out that great. So now, finally, I was able to tweak some of the issues I’ve had before and smoke some meat that my family enjoyed, and something I feel I could share on here.
I have a 14 inch smoker, so there are limits to how much meat I can smoke at one time. For brisket I usually go with either the flat (the leaner side), or the point (the fattier side). And the last two times I picked up half briskets I went with the vacuum packed versions in the big freezers they have at my grocery store, H-E-B.
This most recent time I opted to buy my brisket from the freshly-cut meat section. You know, the meat that’s cut each day and is on the shelves. I also decided to give brisket ‘point’ a go this time around. Looking at the different options in the case, each point had varying levels of fat on them, but all were nicely trimmed. They were also about $4.30/ lb. The brisket halves that are vacuumed packed are usually around $6.50/ lb. And those typically have a lot more trimming needed.
I decided to trim just a little more of the fat cap off, and for this smoke I went with Meat Church’s Holy Cow BBQ rub. For the fire I went with Central Market’s oak lump charcoal. I had been using HEB’s Champion oak briquettes, but just wanted to try a different approach.
Now here’s where things start to go a little differently.
For everything else I’ve been smoking on my WSM, I had been monitoring the temperature with an instant-read probe thermometer that you can place in its designated slot on the side of the smoker. I found that the temps. were a few degrees different from what it said on the dome. But THIS time I decided to go strictly off of the temps. that were showing on the dome. To be honest, this was the difference maker.
For the brisket, I was putting it on the top rack, so it was close enough to the dome to get a great read on the heat inside the smoker. Looking back at my previous smokes, I may have also been watching the fire too closely, and not letting the meat smoke at the right temp.
That being said, I let the temp on the dome get to about 255 degrees. Placed the meat on and just left it alone. After three hours I opened the lid and decided to give it an apple juice spritz. The WSM’s allow for a water pan, but I wanted to try and get a little more crust forming on the outside by using the spray. I did this once per hour for the remaining three hours before I pulled it at an internal 205 degree temp, wrapped it with foil, and let it rest for an hour covered in a towel in an ice chest.
This was the other change I made, and one that should’ve been a ‘duh’ moment. The rest period is so important, it’s not even funny. I had been so impatient with previous brisket smokes that I kept wanting to pull it too early. Let the meat rest. If you don’t follow anything else I’m preaching, just let the meat rest. Feel free to even go longer than an hour, too.
So there you go. I’m still learning, and by no means feel this is an absolute guide. I’ve spent a lot of time watching Youtube videos, talking with other buddies, and just trying different things out. Just write down what you’re doing so you can compare your notes from each smoke to the next.
Thanks for reading! Check out the pictures below: