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First Whole Brisket


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I had some friends coming over last night, so I decided to try my hand at a brisket. I had a ~12lb whole packer USDA prime brisket in my freezer, which I started thawing earlier in the week. Wednesday night I trimmed, I'd guess ~3lbs of fat from it, and seasoned it simply with lots of salt and pepper. 


The tricky part was estimating cook time. I decided to wake about 2 AM Thursday, give the Big Joe about an hour to get to temp (shooting for 250 F the whole time), then put the brisket on the smoker around 3 AM, which is just how it played out. I was hoping for about 12 hours to cook, then rest the flat while I spend about 2 hours making burnt ends. But you know what they say about plans... After about 8 hours my brisket seemed stalled at 165 and the bark looked pretty good, so I decided to wrap it in butcher paper. I might have done well to wait longer here, but I didn't. At that point it was around 11 AM. Well, by 1:30 PM it was reading about 207 F everywhere and was probe tender. It had to come off WAY before the ~6 PM start of the dinner. 


I put the paper-wrapped brisket in a layer of HD aluminum foil, put that in a cooler, put a heating pad on max temp on top of that, and covered the whole thing with a few towels. I just prayed it would still be warm by 6 PM. I debated separating the flat/point at about 4 PM and going for burnt ends, but I was so afraid of losing too much heat in the process that I decided to skipp the burnt ends this go-around (next time, though, with better timing I will definitely go for it). 


At 6 PM I took it out, unwrapped it, and separated the point and flat, and cut everything as appropriate. The meat was amazing!! Great smoke and flavor, juicy, tender, and definitely still warm enough. I got rave reviews. Despite also serving my guests pulled pork (reheated from a previous cook) and 2 chickens, there were almost no brisket leftovers.


I am now feeling more confident and wiser about this and would not hesitate to do it again. 


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