Brisket smoking plan

Something different here, my notes on how to smoke a brisket. There’s a zillion pages on how to do this on the Internet with conflicting advice. (This page seems better than most). I’m cooking a 6lb flat cut at 250F, on a gas grill with wood chips. I’m going with the method that estimates 60-90 minutes / pound total (so, 6-9 hours) and has you wrap the meat during the stall to help it get hot. The key thing for all this is a good meat thermometer.

At 90 minutes / pound it should take 6-9 hours total, including resting time. Hour markers below are approximate and on the high end, should be checking and ready to change earlier based on temperature.

Night before

  • Salt meat
  • Soak wood chips
  • Make rub

Hour 0

  • Put rub on meat
  • Heat grill hot
  • Get wood chips smoking
  • Lower grill temp to 250F
  • Put in a water pan to keep humidity up
  • Put the meat on indirect heat near smoker box. Fat cap down.

Hours 0-5ish

  • Check regularly, maintain wood chips, water, grill temperature
  • Some folks recommend spritzing meat with water
  • Consider rotating meat 180 degrees (fat still down) for even smoking

Hour 5ish (maybe sooner)

  • Meat should be at “the stall”; 150F – 165F.
  • Wrap meat in foil with a little liquid. Wrap air tight!
  • Remove wood chips
  • Put meat back, indirect heat

Hour 5-8ish

  • Maintain grill at 250F
  • Cook until meat at 203F

Hour 8-9ish

  • Meat is at 203F
  • Turn off grill. Put wrapped meat in an empty cooler.
  • Let rest for an hour or more. Longer is fine!

Hour 9-9.5ish

  • Heat grill to hot: 400F or so
  • Unwrap meat
  • Put meat back on grill, indirect heat
  • Leave just long enough to dry the bark on the surface. Maybe 15 minutes?

Hour 9.5ish

  • Slice meat just before serving
  • Slice meat with fat side up
  • Be sure to use a cutting board with a juice catcher

Updates

It’s going well, pictures on Twitter. Some things I’ve learned:

  • I want to do a point cut next time.
  • My 3 burner propane Weber gets to about 240F in the middle if I turn one side burner on the lowest setting. Hard to be exactly sure, it was windy enough temperature fluctuated.
  • The Weber’s thermometer in the lid reads about 20F low at these temperatures. Indicates 220F, actually 240F.
  • This little smoker box looks good. But I have to put in a lot of chips, like every 20-30 minutes adding a big handful.
  • The cook came out just as predicted. 8 hours on the fire to 203F, an hour for rest, a bit extra to dry it off.
  • The wrapped foil package comes out just full of meat juices, I must have gotten 3 cups. I was able to save it but the foil is an awkward vessel to collect it all. Also makes you realize how different the wrap makes this from a dry smoke; a traditional brisket all that liquid would have slowly evaporated or dripped off.
  • The meat was good. Not excellent, but good and worth the effort. There’s a style of brisket, mostly burnt ends, which comes out almost like bacon; crispy and with a lot of lovely rendered fat. I think you must need a point cut for that. The flat I used was much more a solid cooked chunk of meat and that’s good too but not great. Other changes I’d make: more salt, more smoke (somehow).