We had three briskets and were cooking each one slightly differently.
Our brisket - BBQ brisket, all for slicing.
Brett's brisket - green chile brisket, all for slicing
Kim's brisket - BBQ brisket, sliced flat, point for burnt ends
A successful brisket cook starts in the prep, right? These briskets were on the smaller side, 13 and 14 pounds but they were all about the same size, which makes cooking easier.
I have to admit that availability and cost have impacted my brisket selection. I used to always look for USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand, or wagyu but with beef costs going up so much, I find that I'm more willing to "settle". These were $1.99 per pound USDA Choice.
This was my oldest son's first time doing brisket so it was the perfect opportunity. He got to watch me do one brisket, then he would do his along with me when I did another brisket.
We did a competition-style trim on all 3 briskets - separating the point and flat.
Putting briskets on the rack and tray setups like this makes handling them so much easier, start to finish. Plus it keeps the rub on the bottom of the brisket instead of sticking to a surface.
PS: The gloves on the bottle in the picture above are not trying to hide anything. They are so you can pick up the bottles with dirty hands.
I picked the Deep South Smoker to use for this cook. It was an obvious choice for capacity reasons alone but I also love the fire management and humid cooking environment. It cooks like a Big Green Egg in those aspects.
My setup was:
Deep South Smokers GC36
Thermoworks Signals for monitoring the cooking temp and internal temps of the three brisket flats as well as controlling the Billows fan.
Billows fan for stoking the fire.
Jealous Devil Chunx XL lump charcoal
Post oak and pecan wood chunks
The Deep South Smoker is a gravity-fed, double-insulated cabinet smoker. There is a chute on the right side that fills with coal and feeds down into the firebox on the lower right side. I made a special trip to get the Jealous Devil Chux XL charcoal, I get better heat recovery and longer burn times with it in the DSS.
Looking down into the coal chute.
The firebox for the DSS isn't large so I need to cut down post oak logs into large chunks. I use a two-prong strategy for dosing the smoke. I mixed smaller chunks of post oak and pecan into the coal in the chute so that wood will be dosed throughout the cook. I use the larger chunks to add directly to the firebox about every 45 to 60 minutes.
It was a typical hot, humid summer day which means potential for thunderstorms and gusty winds, so I put up a canopy with 5-gallon buckets of water on each leg. You guessed it, because I planned for foul weather, it never rained at our house. Had I taken the chance and not put the tent up, you know it would have poured down at 3am, right?
The cook went quite smoothly.
Midnight: Started the pit at 275°f
2am: Put the flats on
3am: Put the points on
3-7am: Spritzed with apple juice, dosed chunks of wood about once an hour
5am: Briskets were going too fast and I didn't feel like wrapping until daylight so I dropped the cooking temp to 250°f for a bit.
7 am: Wrapped the briskets - BBQ ones with dried onion and beef stock, the green chile one with green chile and beef stock.
9:30 to 11am: Pulled off the parts as they hit north of 205°f and were probe tender, keeping them in preheated Cambro UPC 300 hot boxes. I preheat them with a pan of boiling water.
11:30: Put burnt ends back on the smoker, fresh wood block.
12:50: Removed briskets from their wrap and put them back on the smoker to reset the crust and give them one last kiss of smoke. Reserve the jus from the wrap into a fat separator.
1:00: Sauced burnt ends and back onto the smoker. Reserved the jus.
1:15: Pulled briskets and burnts ends.
Sliced brisket flats and the 2 remaining points and packaged them into 6 half steam pans.
Brett wrapping his flat with green chiles (beef stock not added yet).
The Signals excels at maintaining the cooking temperature. Notice that I have each brisket named for who it belonged to. That is such a cool feature of the Signals and Thermoworks app. Thermoworks Signals [Affiliate Link]
Here is the graph from the Thermoworks app showing how the three flats cooked. Notice how after the wrap, Brett's (yellow) and Kim's (red) temps diverged. I noticed that too so I swapped them around with Brett's closer to the warmer part of the cooking chamber right next to the charcoal chute on the right middle side.
Here's my brisket flat after the wrap.
Kim's flat when it came out of the smoker and was ready to slice.
Brett slicing up his first brisket.
My sliced flat - nice bark, good smoke ring, and was super tender.