Dad’s Birthday Brisket

For dad’s birthday, I made brisket. He’s never had my brisket before. So, I’d like to get his first brisket I’ve made for him right. Let’s review our best practices from my previous posts/notes for To-Do’s for this cook.

Less Hard Fat

I skipped this step. I simply opted for the smallest brisket. The main reason for this was that I’d only have three dinner guests, so I wanted the smaller brisket Costco had on offer. It was roughly ~8 lbs. Usually, a Costco brisket is easily 10+ lbs. I’ve actually never seen a whole brisket this small before.

Trimmed on the Bottom

I completely failed this best practice as well. Again, my intention was to get a small brisket. There was a large portion of fat on the bottom of this brisket. The layer of fat separating the two muscles cascade all the way down, across and out to the bottom of the brisket.

Temperature Probe

This is arguably the most important best practice. You want to set the temperature probe not in the middle in the brisket – and not in the middle of the flat. But, somewhere in the middle of that. Let’s do it!

Check out the photo. It looks like I ended up closer to the flat then is maybe ideal. However, I’d rather a brisket slightly undercooked than overcooked – read dried out. I can always (and will eventually end up) cooking the brisket more when it successively reheated for future meals. Because I’m not going to eat this whole brisket in one sitting. I mean, I’ll try. But come on!

Notes on this Cook

Going on at ~8:30 Am. 250 degrees. Internal temp at the point of the probe hit 150 in less than two hours. I dropped the smoker temp down to 225. Franklin says between 225 and 250. Being impatient, I opted for 250. But now, my brisket is cooking way ahead of schedule. I plan to serve at 6:00 p.m. – and it’s not even 10:30 yet.

Perhaps in the future, I’ll opt for 225 the entire time. It’ll be of just how long I have to cook.

Always worth noting is that this smoker runs hot. I frequently noted the temp getting up to 275. So, setting the smoker to 250 may mean getting more than what you asked for. (I’m using a Traeger wood-pellet smoker.)

It took about a couple more hours to get up to 203 degrees. This may the fastest brisket cook ever – maybe roughly four hours.

I left it in the cooler for six hours. That’s record so far. Fortunately, the temperature never dropped below 140 degrees – the temp at which you want to keep food sitting to prevent the growth of food borne pathogens.

The Results

Fortunately, the brisket did turn out very well. However, it was a hair dryer than I would have liked. However, typing this I realized that I only ever tried the flat – the portion of the brisket that cooks quicker relative to the other end of the brisket, the point.

Cooking the brisket at two different temps (250 before the crutch, and 225 thereafter) certainly added a new variable.

Going forward, I’ll cook the entire brisket at 225. This might create a juicier project. But, since the Traeger electric smoker is a very quick and efficient smoker, I don’t think I necessarily need to speed up the cook. I’ll update my best practices.