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Tutorial - Brisket and Burnt Ends

 
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bigabyte
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 1529
Location: Overland Park, KS

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04 06 12:06 am    Post subject: Tutorial - Brisket and Burnt Ends Reply with quote

I'm starting with a whole brisket, this one is 13 1/4 pounds.
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=f6f2re2.jpg&.src=ph

Notice the fat cap, it is thick and white. This is very desirable (at least to me) because the white fat tastes better (my opinion) and renders a whole heck of a lot easier. Almost all BBQ Brisket cooks will tell you that you want at least a 1/4 inch fat cap, which this one easily has. In fact, this one is over a 1/4 inch but I don't mind, in fact I prefer briskets with a thicker fat cap, but only if it is predominantly the white colored fat. Some cooks like to trim their fat caps down to 1/4 inch, and it apparently works fine for them. I don't and it works just fine for me. In fact, I am convinced based on my experiences that I have fewer instances of a "dry" brisket without trimming than with trimming. People can argue this point until they are blue in the face. This is how I am doing this brisket, and how I normally do them. Have no fear of a brisket with a good healthy fat cap (kind of funny to call it healthy)! Laughing

I will not be using a slather in this cooking session. I have come to believe that in the end the bark is not any thicker or crispier or really anything different when you use a slather as opposed to when you don't. I do believe that you can add a bit of flavor to the meat and bark depending on what you use for a slather, but I can't taste any change by using just mustard which most people tend to use for their slather. Some people may disagree with my viewpoint on this, but others will agree. I could just as easily have decided to put a slather on this time, but I am not. I am not saying slathers are good or bad, I'm just saying you have a choice about whether or not to use one, and I have decided to go "rub only" on this weekends brisket. If I had used a slather, I'm sure mustard, beer or coffee and hot sauce would have been involved, but none of that matters for this brisket tutorial anyway.

Here is the complete recipe for the rub I made for this brisket:
1 Cup Kosher Salt
6 Tbsp Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Onion Powder
1/4 Cup Coffee ground down to a fine powder (I used Maxwell House)
2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
2 Tbsp Mild New Mexico Chile Powder
1 Tbsp Chipotle Chile Powder
1 Tbsp Kashmir Chile Powder
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Ground Cumin

It is a spicy rub, but that is how I like it. My wife is pretty sensitive to spicy food, but she can handle this although after a couple slices of brisket she will usually go "whooo, spicy" and take a drink. It calms down quite a bit during the cooking process so don't gauge the heat level by how hot the rub is in raw form. If you are averse to spicy foods, then cut down the amount of Black Pepper and replace the Chipotle and Kashmir Chile Powders with all New Mexico Powder, or use a different rub.

I used my coffee grinder to grind the pre-ground Maxwell House until it was a powder. I could have used a better quality coffee I suppose, but I have decided to drink the good stuff instead (I personally like Kenya AA). I also used a grinder to grind up the New Mexico and Chipotle peppers. I have both Cumin Seed and Whole Coriander on hand, but opted for some preground of each that I still had on hand but they were both fairly new so they should be just fine.

Some people sprinkle their rub on, some people rub a little of it on, and other people rub a heavy coating of rub on. I am a heavy coating kind of person. Everyone has their reason of doing it their own way, and my reason for the thick coating is for a good thick tasty and crunchy bark. I have heard some claim that perhaps putting on this much rub may stop smoke ring penetration. Perhaps that is true to a certain degree, but I am pretty sure this brisket will have a good smoke ring in it the same as all the other briskets I have rubbed this way. I poured about 1/4 of the rub mixture over the top of the brisket and started spreading it around to the edges of the brisket getting as much of it to stick as possible. I then flipped it over and did the same on the bottom side. I picked up the extra rub from the counter that did not stick in my hand and patted it against the sides of the brisket until they were as coated as they were going to get. In the end I use between 2/3 and 3/4 of the rub. I used a clean scoop with one hand to scoop out any rub so that the rub would not get contaminated by any meat juice while I was applying the rub with the other hand. This way I can save the leftover rub for later. Here is what it looked like with the rub on:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=23a8re2.jpg&.src=ph

I put the brisket in a new (not used Exclamation ) kitchen trash bag, squeezed the air out and tied it off down by the brisket. I put this in the refrigerator and let it sit for a couple days to mingle with the rub (40 hours was the total time in the end).

---

For my fire I will be using B&B Lump Charcoal and Oak sticks. I like the B&B because it has really big chunks that burn a good long time with good heat consistency similar to the effect of briquettes, but with very little ash production typical with most lump. Plus, none of it is scrap lumber. Take a look here to see what I mean:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=c12dre2.jpg&.src=ph

It didn't light too well after the first two sheets of newspaper so I hit it with two more sheets of newspaper, it was lit up pretty good in about 10 minutes:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=70a0re2.jpg&.src=ph

I dumped the lump into the firebox and scooped the coals to one side being careful to only cover the back 2/3 to 3/4 of the grates with the coals. If I completely cover the grates the temps get too high in my unit. I filled in behind the lit lump with unlit coals so that they would slowly light up as the other coals burned down. This is a variation of the Minon method and it provides for more time between refueling by doing this. Here's a shot of the lit and unlit lump and how I set it up in the firebox. If you are unfamiliar with sticks, they are smaller than normal firewood. I got these from Fairlane BBQ Wood here in Kansas City. You can see the stick laying on top of the coals.
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=e520re2.jpg&.src=ph

I let the pit come to temp and adjusted the intake so that I was keeping a steady temp below 250. It's a windy day today so I had to work it for a while, and in the end I got it under control with the intake closed all the way down to about 1/5 open. I will be maintaining the pit temps between 210 and 250 throughout the cook.

With the pit temps now under under control, I put the brisket on. Here's a shot of the brisket when it was just added to the cooker:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=aae0re2.jpg&.src=ph

I set it fat cap up and with the thick pointy end facing the firebox. This will allow the fat cap to seal in the evaporating moisture from the brisket, and allow the fat to drip down through the meat as it renders keeping the brisket good and juicy. I will not be flipping my brisket at all during the entire cook. Some people like to flip it at certain points and claim to have great success doing so. I personally don't find it results in a juicier brisket but it definitely results in some of the bark falling off while flipping it, so I just leave it alone. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and I am showing you one way you can do it.

I get about 2 hours between refueling using the B&B Lump, sticks and Minion method in my unit. I lit the lump at about 11:45 and almost like clockwork I had to refuel at 1:45.

---

I had to open the cooker to add another piece of meat after the Brisket had been on for 4 hours and 15 minutes. Here is how it looked at that point:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bigabyte/detail?.dir=2686&.dnm=cdfare2.jpg&.src=ph

Temp has been maintaining 200-240 with no major problems so far despite all the wind out there today. Tonight it is supposed to get down to 15 degrees so it may get a little trickier then.

---

Well, I totally blew it on this tutorial in terms of pictures. After the brisket had been on for 21 hours it was fainally at 195 internal and ready. I brought it in the house to sit while I prepped some ribs for that evenings Superbowl XL. Between prepping and putting on the ribs, then waving the hungry mob away from the brisket and then slicing up some brisket in order to keep the mob satisfied I completely forgot to take any photos of the finished brisket, and any work I did with it. I can talk about it though, but as far as I'm concerned this tutorial is mostly wasted at this point because some of the most important stuff happens here! Evil or Very Mad Heck, I was so upset by it all that I didn't even log on yesterday to post this (actually. I took the day off and did nothing all day Wink )

OK, I let the brisket rest about 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the meat. I then seperated the point and deckle from the flat. Had I taken pictures I could give you a good visual image of this, but I didn't so all I can do is describe as well as I can. Evil or Very Mad With the fat cap side up and starting at the "thin" end of the brisket, I felt backwards along the flat until I reached the beginning of the fatty layer that seperated the flat from the rest of the brisket. Placing the knife there, I cut straight back in a level fashion back across the brisket and lifted this section of meat off of the flat and put the newly removed piece of meat in an aluminum pan. I then went back to the flat and scraped off the fat with the knife so that I could see the grain. Not all of the meat on this bottom layer is flat and you can tell the other part by seeing where the grain chages direction. I trimmed the other part off and put it in the aluminum pan with the rest of the point and deckle, leaving just the flat. I then sliced the flat against the grain as thin as possible without the meat falling apart, and served.

I took the meat in the aluminum pan (point and deckle) and trimmed off the excess layers of fat off of the meat. This meat would be used for the burnt ends. There is still enough fat inside the meat from these sections that you don't need any excess fat to keep them moist. If you don't trim them then the burnt ends won't crisp up but instead turn into beef chunks covered in fat stew. I chopped up the meat into 1 inch chunks and put in another aluminum pan. I sprinkled some more rub onto the meat in the pan and stirred it up. I then put the pan back on the smoker for 3 hours. I then added a sauce, stirred, and cooked for 1 more hour. And that is how I made burnt ends

Both the brisket and burnt ends were delicious, but unfortunately there are no photos to serve as a testament to what they looked like. Crying or Very sad

Now I will have to do a whole new tutorial the next time I do a brisket.
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--Chris Baker
--Mad BBQ Scientist
--When my lab fills with smoke, that means it's working!


Last edited by bigabyte on Tue Feb 07 06 11:43 pm; edited 7 times in total
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mding38926
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Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 2244
Location: Lake Ridge, VA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04 06 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to those pics...looks awesome!
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bigabyte
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 1529
Location: Overland Park, KS

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05 06 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updates have been added to the initial post above.
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--When my lab fills with smoke, that means it's working!
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bigabyte
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
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Location: Overland Park, KS

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05 06 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another update added above. Small, but still an update. Wink
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bigabyte
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
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Location: Overland Park, KS

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07 06 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I added another update but I didn't take any pictures during the most important part of the brisket where I start on the burnt ends and stuff. Turns out I have wasted web space with this tutorial because it will foreve be incomplete. Oh well, I'll try again next time! Embarassed
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yukoff
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Joined: 19 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Sun May 14 06 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, nice job. ONly thing i'd recommend is a new camera Laughing
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SugarMedia
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Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 157
Location: Dallas, tx

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13 08 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any chance of reposting your photos? Seems Yahoo Photos has closed and they are now using Picasso.
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Alien BBQ
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Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 5426
Location: Roswell, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13 08 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial Chris, You might want to transfer all your photos to photobucket, so they will show.
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