13lb Brisket

13lb Brisket

The other week I ran into Aaron from Wagshals.  When I was talking to him I found out that they could get a full brisket.  The briskets that you get at a standard market are prepackaged briskets that are pre-trimmed and do not have the deckle or point attached.  The deckle is the top meaty/fatty area on the top of the brisket that helps keep a brisket moist during the smoking process.  So a couple of weeks ago I called Wagshals and ordered a whole brisket.  I was thinking that it was going to be 9-10lbs but when I picked it up, it was a massive 13+ pounds.  Got to love Wagshals.

A whole Brisket - 13+ lbs

 

A whole Brisket – 13+ lbs

Where to find a Whole Brisket

To get a full brisket you have to purchase one from a real butcher.  You may be able to purchase one from from a grochery store if you call ahead but most stores purchase the pre-vacummed sealed briskets from the processing plants.  These are pre-trimmed and are deckle-less (haha).  I have been looking around for a place to sell me a full brisket.  Luckily I ran into the guys from Wagshal’s.

Wagshals
Wagshals

In operation for more than 80 years, Wagshal’s is a delicatessen and gourmet market located on the north end of Georgetown.  4855 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016.

How awesome is this?

How awesome is this?

Cooking the Brisket

Rinse of the brisket and pat it dry.  Trim off the fat so that it is in a even layer across the meat.

That is a half sheet pan
That is a half sheet pan

To get started slather the brisket with mustard and then layer on the rub.  I use standard yellow mustard and my favorite beef rub.  Then let the rub sit while you get your smoker.  This is approximately 30-45 minutes.  You want the smoker to be pre-heated 210-240 degrees and then have the smoke adjusted so that the smoke is coming out clear/light white.  You don’t want the smoke to be a heavy billowy white.

Mustard and Rub
Mustard and Rub

Place the brisket on the smoker deckle side up.  The fatty deckle side up will help keep the brisket moist and self-baste it.

On the Smoker
On the Smoker

Keep the temperature steady and flip the brisket halfway through.  The brisket will take roughly 55 minutes a pound at 220 degrees.    I flipped mine 7 hours in.

Half-way done
Half-way done

After flipping it add a meat thermometer to the thick meat section of the brisket.  Continue to cook until the meat reaches 195 degrees.

I know it looks dark, but it is pefectly cooked.
I know it looks dark, but it is pefectly cooked.

Remove the meat from the smoker and wrap in foil.  Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before serving. After letting the meat rest, cut of the deckle and then slice the brisket against the grain. There is a fat layer between the deckle and flat layer.  This will be your guide to cut off the deckle.

The meat was so tender.  The decle was my favorite part.  Unlike the main meaty part of the brisket, the decle shredded and came out amazing.

Cut off the deckle, trip the sides, and slice
Cut off the deckle, trip the sides, and slice

Cut the slices and serve with a side of barbecue sauce.

Perfectly cooked

Perfectly cooked

Lessons Learned

My Dad and I prepped it and started the smoker around 10pm.  We were hoping to eat around lunch.  By my estimates it was going to take about 16 hours to get to 195 degrees.  I was wrong.  I have been modifying my smoker (Old Bessie) to get it to cook just perfectly. After a year of modifying, I finally got bessie tuned up and it only took about 12 hours.  Roughly 55 minutes a pound.  Finally a case of beer is not enough to smoke a full brisket.  I recommend at least 2 cases.  3 if you have the room.

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6 thoughts on “13lb Brisket

  1. I noticed you took it out at 175 degrees. From the research that I've found, 188 is where you want to hit no higher and no lower and I would guess yours got higher after you took it out. It'd be interested to know what your highest temp was after you wrapped it. That's some of the best looking brisket that I've seen yet. Well done. People overcook it badly. It shouldn't ever be dry. Some take it to 205 lol

    • Brad,

      You are correct. There was a typo in the post. It was supposed to be 195 degrees. 195 seems to be the perfect temperature. Since I have written this post, I have cooked a rather large number of briskets and found that temperature is a good way to determine when to check the flat for doneness. To do this stick a skewer into the flat and when it can be pushed through easily it is done. I have had a 17lb brisket that was cooked to perfection at 175 and one that took till 205. However, 80% are done at about 195. Thanks for pointing this out.

      Rex

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