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NFT: Smoking brisket in my new Traeger smoker....

Keith : 8/21/2017 4:39 pm
I've been blessed with an amazing gift of a brand new Traeger smoker and I'm looking to start off my new hobby with a brisket. I've watched many videos and there are a lot of differences...

1. Dry rub
2. Marinade
3. Kind of wood
4. Temp and time
5. What to wrap it in

Here's my thoughts so far(I've yet to smoke anything!)..

I plan on keeping the rub simple, kosher salt and corse pepper. Maybe a little garlic. I don't want to marinade because I feel like the flavor of the beef is perfect as is. Pecan wood seems to be the wood of choice amongst the professionals. I bought bbq paper as opposed to tin foil because all the videos I've watched, the meat looks so much juicier with the bbq paper.

Time and Temp? This is where I'm stuck. I've seen some that last 8 hours and some 12. Any reco's here? Anyone point me to a good recipe online that they've used?

you're not wrapping it  
Rocky369 : 8/21/2017 4:41 pm : link
until you fully smoke it right?
From what I've seen,  
Keith : 8/21/2017 4:45 pm : link
it looks like I'll be smoking it for anywhere from 3-5 hours and then takign it out and wrapping it. Then finishing it off in the paper. Good or no?
I usually shoot for 225 degrees,  
smshmth8690 : 8/21/2017 4:55 pm : link
which normally takes 10-12 hours. Of course it all depends on the size of the brisket, and how much you have trimmed. I've seen where some run at a higher temp, 275 or so, that brings it into the 8 hour range. (ala Franklin BBQ)

I usually wrap around 170-175 degrees.
Let me clarify,  
smshmth8690 : 8/21/2017 4:56 pm : link
I try to run the smoker at 225 degrees, the internal temp of the finished product in usually a little over 200.
Good stuff,  
Keith : 8/21/2017 4:58 pm : link
thanks. From the videos I've watched, it looks like 250 for up to 12 hours. Gotta trim it a bit.

Do you separate the point from the flat before smoking? I've seen some that separate it a bit just so they can season the whole thing. They don't cut it completely, just enough so they can season the top of the flat.
RE: Let me clarify,  
Keith : 8/21/2017 5:00 pm : link
In comment 13567049 smshmth8690 said:
Quote:
I try to run the smoker at 225 degrees, the internal temp of the finished product in usually a little over 200.


Yeah I figured. Do you wrap it in paper or foil? Looks like the paper is much better because its permeable. What about wood chips, any preference there?
If you are doing a whole packer  
larryflower37 : 8/21/2017 5:01 pm : link
You are looking at 12 to 16 hours if you wrap at the stall
Could much longer like 24 if you don't wrap.
This is a 225 degrees.
Ideal internal is 200 degrees and cut it when it drops to 140.
I don't know if brisket is where you want to start if you are new to smoking meat.
Do ribs or a pork shoulder first.
There are a lot of different ways with a brisket
Appreciate the info and advice larry,  
Keith : 8/21/2017 5:03 pm : link
however I am going to neglect your advice and start big! My goal is to become a brisket master being that it's my favorite piece of meat.
RE: Appreciate the info and advice larry,  
larryflower37 : 8/21/2017 5:06 pm : link
In comment 13567057 Keith said:
Quote:
however I am going to neglect your advice and start big! My goal is to become a brisket master being that it's my favorite piece of meat.


Go big or go home!
Give yourself enough time. You can always pack it in a cooler with towels if you finish early to maintain the temperature.
Amazingribs.com is a pretty good BBQ community for tips and reviews

Good luck your sunday's will never be the same.
Thanks larry!  
Keith : 8/21/2017 5:08 pm : link
You nailed it. I figured, I'm sitting on my couch all day sundays anyway. Might as well be productive.
The only advice I am going to give is to cook  
EricJ : 8/21/2017 5:49 pm : link
at as low a temp as possible. The 225 degrees referenced is perfect.The lower temps help to break down the connective tissues. If you go up in that 275 range the meat reacts differently. So, start early and plan on having this brisket smoke for a long time.

You cannot rush perfection.
You have to know the pounds before you can estimate a time.  
robbieballs2003 : 8/21/2017 5:54 pm : link
My first one I thought I did something wrong because I had a tiny brisket. It was only in a couple of hours and it came out perfect because i paid attention to the temp. The temp is more important than the hours. Don't over cook it. I did that with my second one (it was a higher temp in the smoker too because I think my guage was wrong and it was a windy day). That tasted like shoe leather.
Made brisket in the oven the other day (suck it purists)  
adamg : 8/21/2017 5:56 pm : link
I don't have a smoker actually.

Anyway, I used an asian style marinade that came out really good:

ketchup
soy sauce
seasoned rice vinegar
sriracha
molasses
deli mustard
liquid smoke
worcestershire
dry garlic and onion
pepper

I suppose the liquid smoke would be unnecessary if you have a fancy new smoker though... good luck.
Robbie, good advice.  
Keith : 8/21/2017 5:58 pm : link
I bought a good two pronged therma for that. This is all good advice and appreciated, that's why I love bbi!
Adam, appreciate it...  
Keith : 8/21/2017 5:59 pm : link
Too much for me though. Beef brisket has the greatest flavor to me though. Just salt and pepper to bring it out!
Done briskets the past couple years  
pjcas18 : 8/21/2017 6:09 pm : link
and doing one for Labor Day.

Peter in Atlanta advised me on most of this, but other pieces came from my own experience or others here on BBI.

I use a dry rub, pretty basic.
Keep the dry rub on over night in the refrigerator

can let get to room temp or not (I've heard both)

I use the minion method for lighting the charcoal
I use warm water in the water pan

I estimate an 1.25 - 1.5 hours per pound but Robbie is right, watch the temperature.

Once temp gets to 150 and you hit the stall wrap in foil, with some marinade (or apple juice/cider if you want)

once brisket internal temp reaches 195 or so, remove from smoker wrapped tightly in foil and wrap a towel around it and place in cooler for 1.5 - 2 hrs.


I am no longer a purist either...  
EricJ : 8/21/2017 6:29 pm : link
and use my Masterbuilt electric smoker. I set the temp and the time and go to bed. It has a phone app and reports everything back to me. The meat thermometer is also wired in and the internal temp displays on my phone too.

I just got tired of battling things like the wind like Robbie mentioned. Getting up every hour to stoke a fire. For something that needs to smoke for longer than 12 hours I will usually get it going at around 10 or 11pm. Maybe wake up at 3am to add more chips then back to bed.
yeah -- you wrap based on temperature  
gidiefor : Mod : 8/21/2017 6:53 pm : link
165-170 is wrapping temp -- 190 is take out of the smoker temp

low and slow --- 225 is the magic number -- no higher than 250, but bring temp down when it pushes 225 -- yeah - do not marinate -- but do add a little wet flavorful addition when wrapping

by all means trim some fat -- it does not need a lot of fat to be flavorful

I like rub with salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, garlic and onion, power and brown sugar
If I am not mistaken  
I Love Clams Casino : 8/22/2017 8:56 am : link
I believe you have to take into account the "cap fat" you will leave on the brisket and figure into your smoking time...

I've never done a brisket, but good luck. I was in North Carolina last week and went to a place called "Mac's" and the brisket gave me knee wobbles....
Similarly...  
Keith : 8/22/2017 9:04 am : link
I was in Texas recently and I have not stopped thinking about the brisket. I'm trying to recreate that Texas syle brisket. I really think the key is wrapping it in paper as opposed to foil(obviously not speaking from experience, just some research that I've done).
I forgot the most important part  
pjcas18 : 8/22/2017 9:20 am : link
when you start your charcoal and you're getting ready to put the brisket on the smoker you have to pour yourself a glass of bourbon. It doesn't matter what time it is or anything.

RE: Similarly...  
jcn56 : 8/22/2017 9:28 am : link
In comment 13568499 Keith said:
Quote:
I was in Texas recently and I have not stopped thinking about the brisket. I'm trying to recreate that Texas syle brisket. I really think the key is wrapping it in paper as opposed to foil(obviously not speaking from experience, just some research that I've done).


I've been doing both butts and brisket in parchment paper for awhile now. It's a little different from foil in that it allows the bark to form because more steam escapes, but you still get the braising effect that breaks down the collagen more effectively.

Just be sure you're wrapping later in the game, otherwise the brisket won't get enough smoke.
RE: RE: Similarly...  
pjcas18 : 8/22/2017 9:55 am : link
In comment 13568566 jcn56 said:
Quote:
In comment 13568499 Keith said:


Quote:


I was in Texas recently and I have not stopped thinking about the brisket. I'm trying to recreate that Texas syle brisket. I really think the key is wrapping it in paper as opposed to foil(obviously not speaking from experience, just some research that I've done).



I've been doing both butts and brisket in parchment paper for awhile now. It's a little different from foil in that it allows the bark to form because more steam escapes, but you still get the braising effect that breaks down the collagen more effectively.

Just be sure you're wrapping later in the game, otherwise the brisket won't get enough smoke.


Do you still wrap in parchment when you hit the stall? I always read the wrapping in foil as the "texas crutch" to help push the stall when the fat stops melting/breaking down and the internal temp stalls around 150-160 or so.

Is parchment use for the same purpose?

Yeah like most have said,  
Keith : 8/22/2017 10:02 am : link
you wrap at a temp, not a time. Once wrapped in the paper, you dont' take it out until its time to cut it.

Does anyone seperate the flat from the round before putting it on?
Yep - at around 160, give or take (depends on the brisket)  
jcn56 : 8/22/2017 10:02 am : link
I pull 'em, wrap 'em in parchment and throw them back in.

Used to foil, but went with paper after seeing someone do it in a competition and the results were better. Not night and day different, but a significant difference in texture.
jcn  
Keith : 8/22/2017 10:07 am : link
I've been watching a lot of videos of people smoking brisket. It appears that the brisket is much jucier with the paper, do you see that as well?

On a side note, the other day I'm in my office at home clapping and my wife runs in and says...what happened? She then realized that I was clapping for the final result of a brisket that looked really freaking good. Sometimes you gotta give it up to these guys.
RE: Yeah like most have said,  
pjcas18 : 8/22/2017 10:13 am : link
In comment 13568673 Keith said:
Quote:
you wrap at a temp, not a time. Once wrapped in the paper, you dont' take it out until its time to cut it.

Does anyone seperate the flat from the round before putting it on?

I don't remove the point before hand, but I've removed it after and made burnt ends with it.
Yes, my plan is to seperate completely after  
Keith : 8/22/2017 10:17 am : link
and make burnt ends, no doubt.

I see some guys seperate it before, not completely, but just enough to season everythign with the dry rub so when you do completely seperate after it's done, there is bark all over.
RE: jcn  
jcn56 : 8/22/2017 10:56 am : link
In comment 13568685 Keith said:
Quote:
I've been watching a lot of videos of people smoking brisket. It appears that the brisket is much jucier with the paper, do you see that as well?

On a side note, the other day I'm in my office at home clapping and my wife runs in and says...what happened? She then realized that I was clapping for the final result of a brisket that looked really freaking good. Sometimes you gotta give it up to these guys.


It is - a lot less moisture is allowed to escape (if juicy is your #1 objective, then foil would serve you best since it basically traps the moisture in entirely, the folds in the paper allow some of the steam to escape).

I prefer some balance, which is why I was initially reluctant to foil. I'm sure there are pitmasters who can pull off a perfectly moist, tender brisket without the aid of foil, but I wasn't one of them. I went the foil route and traded off a nice crisp bark for a tender, juicier brisket. When I went the paper route, I got a hybrid, got some of the bark back and got a juicy (if not as much as the foil) brisket.

Trial and error. The only thing I'd suggest is that you add more depth to your rub. Salt and pepper isn't bad, but that's generally applicable to grilled meat that doesn't have smoke applied to it. The smoke brings an entirely different flavor, which IMO benefits from the extra spices (I would never dream of doing the same to a good steak).
Good advice jcn, thanks.  
Keith : 8/22/2017 11:01 am : link
I can probably do something like gidie mentioned above...

I like rub with salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, garlic and onion, power and brown sugar
RE: RE: Let me clarify,  
smshmth8690 : 8/22/2017 11:36 am : link
In comment 13567054 Keith said:
Quote:
In comment 13567049 smshmth8690 said:


Quote:


I try to run the smoker at 225 degrees, the internal temp of the finished product in usually a little over 200.



Yeah I figured. Do you wrap it in paper or foil? Looks like the paper is much better because its permeable. What about wood chips, any preference there?


On my last brisket, I used foil. Seemed to finish quicker than paper, it did make the bark softer. I prefer Pecan or Hickory chips (well pellets) with beef, but I don't hate Cherry, Oak, or Apple.
One thing I learned  
pjcas18 : 8/22/2017 11:42 am : link
after my first brisket is less is more with the wood.

First time I used a lot of wood (hickory and apple - I read with beef it's good to mix a wood wood anda fruit wood), and the brisket was definitely smoky, not what I'd call too smoky, but you got more smoke flavor than brisket.

Second time I used less, like a couple small handfuls of wood chips (and more apple than hickory but still a mix), not chunks, and I never added more wood the entire smoke.

And I think the second time it was perfect.

Heres my smoker....  
Keith : 8/22/2017 11:54 am : link



pj, to your point, i put the wood chips into the compartment to the left. Should I fill it with wood or just put some in. How do I know how much wood to use?
RE: Heres my smoker....  
pjcas18 : 8/22/2017 11:58 am : link
In comment 13568942 Keith said:
Quote:



pj, to your point, i put the wood chips into the compartment to the left. Should I fill it with wood or just put some in. How do I know how much wood to use?

I'm not sure with that style smoker, I used a WSM and just put the wood right on the coals.

Maybe jcn or another expert can tell you how much wood to use, but Peter in Atl and others warned me about how easy it is to "over-smoke" with too much wood and it ruins the flavor.

so in my experience even a little wood (like the second time I mentioned I used only a couple handfuls of wood chips), provides plenty of smoke, I'm not sure what the "right amount" is.
I think there is a difference in  
gidiefor : Mod : 8/22/2017 12:39 pm : link
the amount of smoke wood you can use in a side box as opposed to directly under the meat in the same chamber.

But you don't want to put in so much that you'll have a roaring fire - you want a steady medium to low flame that spins off smoke
RE: Heres my smoker....  
smshmth8690 : 8/22/2017 3:26 pm : link
In comment 13568942 Keith said:
Quote:



pj, to your point, i put the wood chips into the compartment to the left. Should I fill it with wood or just put some in. How do I know how much wood to use?


Keith, isn't this Traeger a pellet smoker?
Oh boy,  
Keith : 8/22/2017 3:27 pm : link
so pellets are different than wood chips? Did I buy the wrong wood?
RE: Oh boy,  
smshmth8690 : 8/22/2017 3:35 pm : link
In comment 13569336 Keith said:
Quote:
so pellets are different than wood chips? Did I buy the wrong wood?


They are different, but if you have a pellet smoker, you can only use pellets. You also don't have to worry about the amount of wood chips you use, you have to use pellets throughout the whole cook. I have a Yoder pellet grill, and can only use pellets.
Please forgive my ignorance, just a newbie....  
Keith : 8/22/2017 4:08 pm : link
I just bought pecan wood chips, I guess I can't use those now.

Can you buy flavored pellets? Is a pellet smoker worse/better? What do you mean I have to keep using pellets for the whole cook?
RE: Please forgive my ignorance, just a newbie....  
smshmth8690 : 8/22/2017 4:31 pm : link
In comment 13569431 Keith said:
Quote:
I just bought pecan wood chips, I guess I can't use those now.

Can you buy flavored pellets? Is a pellet smoker worse/better? What do you mean I have to keep using pellets for the whole cook?


Nothing to forgive! Some pellet cookers use the pellets for both heat source, and flavor. Others use pellets for flavor, and electric for heat, by utilizing an electric heating element, usually in the bottom. I'm pretty sure that your Traeger (Pro Series 34?) uses pellets as it's heat source. It's electric, but the electric is for controlling the thermostat, ignitor, fan, and the auger. The auger feeds the pellets into the firebox, which causes the smoke, and provides the heat. Pellet cookers like yours (and mine) will not work with wood chips or chunks.

I don't know where you are located, but I had to order pellets online, because I couldn't find any stores near me that sold them. Pellets come in all wood flavors.
Traeger is a great smoker  
gidiefor : Mod : 8/22/2017 7:33 pm : link
I'm sure you can read up on how to supply the fire chamber properly
here's a description of how you work the fire chamber  
gidiefor : Mod : 8/22/2017 7:36 pm : link
it feeds the flame automatically for you - you just set the temp
Link - ( New Window )
here's a video on how to smoke a brisket  
gidiefor : Mod : 8/22/2017 7:39 pm : link
on a Traeger
Link - ( New Window )
You can get..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 8/22/2017 7:44 pm : link
flavored pellets too.
RE: here's a video on how to smoke a brisket  
smshmth8690 : 8/22/2017 8:43 pm : link
In comment 13569755 gidiefor said:
Quote:
on a Traeger Link - ( New Window )



I wouldn't bother with the extra pan of chips, on your first cook. Just try the smoker first, then decide if you need the extra pan.

Here's a video featuring a Traeger, not sure if it's the model you have, but still pretty informative.
Texas Style Smoked Brisket - ( New Window )
RE: here's a video on how to smoke a brisket  
Keith : 8/23/2017 10:18 am : link
In comment 13569755 gidiefor said:
Quote:
on a Traeger Link - ( New Window )



I watched this one the other night, but thanks! Few things he does that I won't be doing.
RE: RE: here's a video on how to smoke a brisket  
Keith : 8/23/2017 10:25 am : link
In comment 13569880 smshmth8690 said:
Quote:
In comment 13569755 gidiefor said:


Quote:


on a Traeger Link - ( New Window )




I wouldn't bother with the extra pan of chips, on your first cook. Just try the smoker first, then decide if you need the extra pan.

Here's a video featuring a Traeger, not sure if it's the model you have, but still pretty informative. Texas Style Smoked Brisket - ( New Window )


Ok, so the delivery of the wood came in, I was happy to see that I ordered the pellets. Pecan flavor.

I watched this video last night, it was great. Obviously this guy is a beginner like me and I saw some mistakes that he made which I'll be able to avoid. This video was exactly what I needed to watch. Shows all of the details that I needed. Thanks for sharing.
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