My 2 attempts at smoked brisket have ranged from pretty good (the first time), to dry and not done enough (the second time). Since I was messing around supermarket brisket, I decided that instead of continuing with this Micky Mouse shit, I'd go for the real thing: a whole brisket, also known as a "packer cut". It includes not only that overly-trimmed, lean piece of meat you usually see posing as "brisket" (the "flat", as it's called), but also the more fatty piece that is on top (the "point").
The first time. Pretty good.
I called The Market Basket in Franklin Lakes, NJ, and they had one in Cryovac. Just what I wanted. While I expecting something at about 10 pounds, what I got when I picked it up was a 19 pound brisket. Holy enormous cow, Batman.
8 inch knife, for reference purposes
I trimmed off about 3 pounds of fat, which put this thing at 16 pounds. According to everything I've read, that's about 16 hours worth of smoking. There's simply no choice but to do this overnight, so away I went to my gas grill. Purists, you might as well stop reading here, if you haven't already.
3 pounds of beef fat, and 20 pounds of cat fat
The only other prep on the meat was a good, healthy rub of fresh cracked pepper and salt. A whole bunch of pepper, and only slightly less salt. A lot of this is going to come off during the cooking process, and even if it doesn't, we're still talking about 16 pounds of meat. Not 16 ounces, which is a nice sized steak. But 16 pounds. Pounds baby, pounds.
stretch-tite is awesome, and might very well be the only plastic wrap on the planet that actually works
The size of this brisket is only part of the challenge.