For those who have smoked a brisket before, you know it can be tough to get everything right. In this article, we’ll be talking about the importance of flipping and rotating your brisket during the cooking process. Flipping can make a big difference, especially depending on the type of smoker you’re using. We’ll also touch on how the direction of the heat source and heat distribution in your smoker can affect whether or not you need to flip or rotate your brisket. Follow these tips and you’ll have a better shot at a perfectly cooked brisket.
Flipping and rotating a brisket during cooking can help ensure even cooking and prevent charring or overcooking on one side. However, the necessity of flipping or rotating will largely depend on the type of smoker, the direction of the heat source, and the evenness of heat distribution in the smoker. Keep in mind, flipping is only necessary during the first phase of cooking when the meat is unwrapped. Once the brisket is wrapped in aluminum foil or butcher paper, it should cook evenly.
A dual probe thermometer can be used to determine if flipping or rotating is necessary. If the heat source is coming from below, the brisket should be placed with the fat side down to prevent drying out. If the heat source is coming from above, the brisket should be placed with the fat cap facing upwards. Some pitmasters believe that keeping the fat side up will also baste the meat. Ultimately, the decision to flip or rotate the brisket will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the smoker and cook.
- Flipping and rotating your brisket during the cooking process can help ensure even cooking and prevent charring or overcooking on one side
- The need for flipping or rotating may depend on the type of smoker, heat source direction, and heat distribution in the smoker
- It is generally only necessary to flip or rotate the brisket during the first phase of cooking when it is unwrapped
- Once the brisket is wrapped, it is protected from uneven cooking
- Use a dual probe thermometer to determine if flipping or rotating is necessary
- If the heat source is coming from below, place the brisket with the fat side down to protect it from drying out
- If the heat source is coming from above, place the brisket with the fat cap facing upwards
- Some pitmasters believe that keeping the fat side up will also baste the meat
- The decision to flip or rotate the brisket will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the smoker and cook
Flip or No Flip?
|Type of smoker||The type of smoker can affect the need for flipping or rotating the brisket|
|Heat source direction||The direction of the heat source may determine whether the brisket needs to be flipped or rotated|
|Heat distribution||The evenness of heat distribution in the smoker may impact whether flipping or rotating is necessary|
|Unwrapped cooking||Flipping or rotating is generally only necessary during the first phase of cooking when the brisket is unwrapped|
|Wrapped cooking||Once the brisket is wrapped in aluminum foil or butcher paper, it is protected from uneven cooking|
|Dual probe thermometer||A dual probe thermometer can be used to determine if flipping or rotating is necessary|
|Fat side||The fat side of the brisket can be placed down or up depending on the heat source direction and the need to prevent drying out or baste the meat|
|Personal preference||The decision to flip or rotate the brisket may depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the smoker and cook|
When To Flip Brisket While Smoking
- Flip or rotate brisket during the first (unwrapped) phase of cooking to ensure even cooking and prevent charring or overcooking
- Flipping or rotating is not necessary during the wrapped phase as the brisket is protected from uneven cooking
- Monitor the brisket during the unwrapped phase and make any necessary adjustments
- Factors that may impact the need for flipping or rotating include the type of smoker, heat source direction, and heat distribution in the smoker.
When smoking a brisket, it is generally recommended to flip or rotate the meat during the first phase of cooking when it is unwrapped. This is because the brisket may cook unevenly or parts of it may char more than others if left in the same position for the entire cook. However, once the brisket is wrapped in aluminum foil or butcher paper, it will be protected from uneven cooking and charring, so flipping or rotating is not necessary during the wrapped phase. It is important to monitor the brisket while it is unwrapped and make any necessary adjustments to ensure even cooking. This may involve flipping or rotating the meat depending on the type of smoker being used and the direction of the heat source.
Is Flipping Brisket Necessary?
Flipping or rotating a brisket during cooking is generally only necessary if the meat is cooking unevenly or if certain parts of the brisket are charring more than others. This may be particularly evident in the flat, which is the thinner part of the brisket. If the heat in the smoker is evenly distributed, however, flipping or rotating the brisket may not be necessary. It is important to monitor the brisket during the cooking process and make any necessary adjustments to ensure even cooking and prevent charring or overcooking. The specific needs of the cook will depend on the type of smoker being used, the direction of the heat source, and the evenness of heat distribution in the smoker.
It Depends on your Smoker
- The decision to flip a brisket during cooking may depend on the type of smoker and the direction of the heat source
- Factors that may impact the need for flipping include the evenness of heat distribution in the smoker and the need to prevent charring or overcooking on one side of the meat
- Offset smokers have a firebox to the side and the heat source may come from the left or right
- Electric smokers produce indirect heat and the brisket will cook evenly without needing to be flipped
- Convection fan-assisted ovens/smokers evenly circulate the air and do not require rotating the brisket
- Traditional charcoal smokers with a fire underneath will char the bottom side of the brisket unless rotated; use a heat deflector and place the brisket fat cap down, flipping three quarters of the way through the unwrapped phase of the cook
The decision to flip a brisket during the cooking process may depend on the type of smoker being used and the direction of the heat source. All smokers are different, and the heat source can come from different directions depending on the specific smoker.
For example, some smokers may have the heat source coming from below, while others may have the heat source coming from above. The direction of the heat source can affect the way the brisket cooks and may determine whether or not flipping is necessary. It is important to consider the specifics of your smoker and the heat source when deciding whether or not to flip the brisket.
Other factors that may impact the need for flipping include the evenness of heat distribution in the smoker and the need to prevent charring or overcooking on one side of the meat. Offset Smokers have a firebox to the side, so the hottest point may come from the left or the right.
An electric smoker will produce indirect heat, so the brisket will cook evenly and need to flipping. All convection fan-assisted ovens/smokers evenly circulate the air, producing an even cook, so rotating a brisket isn’t necessary.
Traditional charcoal smokers with a fire underneath will char the bottom side of the brisket unless you rotate the meat at least once. Even though charcoal smokers should have a heat deflector, the bottom side of the brisket will still take the brunt of the heat. Heat deflectors will shield the meat from the fire and produce indirect heat, which is perfect for low and slow cooking. Always place the brisket fat cap down on a charcoal smoker and flip the meat three quarters of the way through the unwrapped phase of the cook.
Test The Temperature On Different Parts Of Your Smoker
If you have an electric smoker such as a Masterbuilt or a gas smoker, you might find the meat cooks faster on different racks. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to rotate the racks during the cook if you are cooking a few meats at one time. Using a duel probe thermometer, clip one probe onto the top rack, one at the bottom. Turn your smoker on and note the temperature difference. Then place a probe on the middle rack and compare the three areas. If there is a noticeable difference, make sure you rotate the racks or the meat during the cook.
Fat Side Up or Down?
If the heat source is coming from below, lay the brisket with the fat side facing down. The fat will absorb some of the heat and protect the brisket from drying out. If the heat source is coming from above, place the brisket on the grill with the fat cap facing upwards. If you notice one side of the meat overcooking, rotate the brisket.
Many pitmasters believe fat side up will also baste the meat. As the brisket cooks, the fat will drip down the side of the brisket. Fat side down will cause fat to drip down onto the fire and create more smoke. To minimize this occurring, make sure you have a drip tray because it could create a mess and may create too much smoke. Grease buildup at the bottom of your smoker can also cause grease fires during the cook, which will destabilize your smoker and may produce bad smoke.
Fat Cap Up or Down?
Even if you are cooking with an indirect heat, there will still be hot spots, matter what type of smoker. To identify a hotspot, you will notice the meat will be overcooked or charred on one part of the meat. If you identify a hot spot, rotate the meat once or twice during the cook. Once you are aware of the warmer areas, flipping and rotating the meat will be necessary.
Flipping and Rotating on Different Smokers
Charcoal smokers such a kamado style grills, drum smokers, kettle grills, WSM’s, etc will have a heat source coming from below, so the underside of the brisket will cook faster and may be charred in some areas. Placing the brisket fat side down will shield the meat, and the fat will absorb most of the direct heat, but charcoal smokers should also use some kind of heat deflector plate to shield the meat from the fire. A deflector will ensure the meat is cooking with indirect heat, creating a cool zone. If your smoker doesn’t have a heat deflector, build the fire to one side of the smoker and place the meat on the opposite side of the grill.
Does Brisket Need to be Flipped on a Pellet Grill?
You may not need to flip or rotate your brisket when using a pellet grill such as a Traeger or PitBoss However, if you notice that your grill has hot and cool spots, you may want to rotate or flip the brisket to ensure even cooking. To determine whether your pellet grill has temperature variations, use a dual-probe thermometer and measure the temperature on different parts of the grill. If there are temperature differences across the grill, consider rotating the meat while smoking. When cooking brisket, be sure to place the meat in the coolest area when it is unwrapped. Once the brisket is wrapped and you want it to finish cooking, it does not matter where you place it on the grill.
How Often To Flip Brisket When Smoking
It is only necessary to rotate your brisket once prior to wrapping in foil. The first 3 to 4 hours you should leave your brisket alone. During the first stage of the cook, allow the meat to absorb smoke and give the bark a chance to harden. I usually wrap brisket about 5 to 7 hours into the cook. If the meat is cooking unevenly, flip or rotate the brisket halfway through this unwrapped stage.
Does Aaron Franklin Flip Brisket?
Brisket master Aaron Franklin doesn’t flip his brisket because he uses an offset smoker where the heat source is coming from a firebox to the side of the smoker. He may flip brisket when using other smokers, but from the videos I’ve watched, he doesn’t flip.
- Barbecue rub
- Kosher salt ( for the dry brine)
- Yellow mustard or olive oil ( for the binder)
1. Select a brisket with good marbling.
2. Trim the fat but leave 1/4 inch of fat on top.
3. Dry brine the brisket by sprinkling kosher salt on both sides of the meat and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
4. Inject the brisket with broth or marinade. * Optional
5. Slather the brisket with olive oil or yellow mustard. *Optional
6. Apply an even layer barbeque rub. If the rub contains salt, skip the dry brine step.
7. Use hickory, oak, pecan or your favorite smoking wood.
8. Set the temperature of your smoker between 225°F to 250°F
9. Place the brisket in smoker away from the heat source.
10. Fill the water pan with hot water.
11. Insert a leave-in meat thermometer into the brisket.
12. Leave the brisket alone for the first 3 hours or so. Allow the brisket to absorb smoke and develop a bark.
13. Once the rub has fused to the meat, begin to spritz the brisket every hour with either apple juice, broth, apple cider vinegar or beer. Otherwise, mop with a mop sauce.
14. Once the bark is firm, wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper. By this stage, the meat should have reached an internal temperature between 150°F and 160°F.
15. Insert the thermometer into the meat and place the brisket back in the smoker.
16. Continue cooking until the brisket is tender as butter when poked with a toothpick or probe. The internal meat temperature should read somewhere between 195°F and 203°F when perfectly tender.
17. Allow the meat to rest for about 1 hour before slicing. If you're not ready to serve, place the brisket into a dry cooler. Keep the brisket wrapped in foil or butcher paper, then wrap again with a towel or dish cloth. The brisket will remain hot for over 4 hours. Keep a thermometer probe inserted.
18. Slice against the grain and serve.
Serving Size:85 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 246 grams
My Favorite Brisket Tools
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.
Meat Injector: Injecting meat is a great way to take your barbecue to the next level and help you make competition-style brisket. An injector is the only way you will be able to get flavor and moisture into the middle of the meat. The Beast Injector is a stainless steel injector that is sturdy and affordable. Check the latest price on Amazon here.
Brisket Marinade: The best injection solution on the market is the Butcher BBQ Brisket Injection. This marinade is used in competitions and is made by World Barbecue Champion pitmaster, Dave Bouska. You can find the marinade on Amazon here.
Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.
Brisket Rub: These days I make my own rub when possible, but I always have a few pre-made rubs for when I’m running low. Barbecue guru Malcom Reed produces Killer Hogs, one of the best brisket rubs I’ve found over the years. Another great rub is Slap Yo Daddy, made by brisket master and multiple World Barbecue Champion, Harry Soo.
Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.
Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.
Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.