Introduction: Smoked Brisket
Nothing in life is quite as satisfying as good BBQ. There seems to be something about the process, taste, and mess of BBQ that is uniquely All-American. In the world of BBQ, Brisket is the king. The process of smoking down a large piece of beef town to a tender, succulent plate of meat with a coat of beautiful bark is what BBQ is all about.
Smoked beef brisket has everything that you want from a good cut of meat: tender, tough, and packed full of flavor. Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef. It has tough meaty fibers that are infused with flavor and tenderized by its top layer of fat.
Early on brisket was not very popular and was often discarded for stew meat or to be ground up. Its popularity increased when it was discovered that smoking the brisket on low, indirect heat makes it very tender. Today, briskets are becoming more and more popular as people are introduced to the wonderful BBQ.
We are going to walk through the supplies, ingredients, and steps to smoking the best brisket you have ever tasted.
- Pellet Grill
- Wood Pellets
- Trimming Knife
- Meat Thermometer
- Aluminum Foil
- Butcher Paper
- Sauce Mop (something to use when wetting brisket)
- Pan (large enough for brisket)
- Small Bowl
- 10 – 12 LB Untrimmed Brisket
- 2 TBSP Brown Sugar
- 4 TBSP Chili Powder
- 2 TBSP Smoked Paprika
- 4 TBSP Garlic Salt
- 4 TBSP Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- ¼ Cup Beer
- 3 TBSP Paprika
- 1 TSP Salt
- 1 TSP Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Step 1: Trimming the Meat
The night before you cook your brisket remove the thick fatty areas and score the meat so that it can absorb the rub.
- Start with a cold brisket fat cap facing up and pat the brisket dry with a paper towel
- Trim fat cap until you have an even 1/4-inch layer
- Flip brisket over and trim off all fat and silver skin from the top
- Remove the large chunk of hard fat found where the flat and point connect
Step 2: Seasoning the Meat
Next, we want to make the rub and season the brisket overnight. This allows for the rub to penetrate deep into the meat. This adds an intense flavor to the BBQ.
- In a small bowl, mix the rub ingredients
- Generously massage the rub on all sides of the brisket
- Transfer brisket to pan and cover with aluminum foil
- Refrigerate overnight (minimum of 8 hours)
Step 3: Preparing Your Smoker
The key to the perfect brisket is all about low and slow. Smoking brisket at a low temperature allows for the fibrous meat portions to be fully broken down.
- Ensure that your pellet grill hopper is full of your choice of wood pellets
- Set your grill to 225⁰F, close lid, and preheat pellet grill 10 to 15 minutes.
NOTE: Throughout the remainder of the process monitor your hopper to ensure that you have enough pellets.
Step 4: Smoking the Brisket
Finally, its time to start cooking – or smoking.
- Place the brisket, fat cap up, on grill and close the smoker lid.
Remember "low and slow". Making this heavenly BBQ takes time and you will have plenty of if once you place the brisket on the grill. Next you'll whip up the mop sauce and can hangout by the grill and relax.
Step 5: The Mop Sauce
The secret weapon to world class BBQ is a good mop sauce. Mop sauce is applied during the smoking process to help keep the meat juicy and add additional flavor levels.
- In a small bowl mix the mop sauce ingredients
- Every two hours use your cooking mop to wet the brisket
- Close the smoker lid and allow the brisket to continue to cook
Step 6: Resting the Brisket
The brisket will be done once the internal temperature reaches 205⁰F – about 8 hours cook time. Use a probe thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached the target. Once it has, remove the meat and prepare to rest the meat.
Even though the brisket was removed from the grill, it will continue to cook for some time. Resting is the process of allowing the juices within the meat to thicken evenly throughout the cut of meat. This enhances the flavor profile of the BBQ. If you were to cut the brisket right after pulling it from the grill, juices would run resulting in dry meat.
- Line a cooler with a towel
- Leave the thermometer probe in the brisket and wrap the brisket in butcher paper
NOTE: Since butcher paper is porous, the meat can breathe. Using aluminum foil will result in steaming the meat which is a no-no.
- Place the wrapped meat in the cooler, top with another towel, and close the cooler lid
- Allow the meat to rest in the cooler for an hour
Step 7: Cutting the Brisket
You now have a cooked brisket that is rested and just about ready to eat. The last thing to do before enjoying the best brisket in your life is to cut the meat. Brisket is made up of two main parts: the point and the flat.
The grain of these two parts run in different directions and must be accounted for to properly cut brisket. The grain of any meat is the alignment of muscle fibers. When intact, the muscle fibers are strong and chewy. If you do not cut against the grain, the muscle fibers will remain somewhat intact and very difficult to chew.
- Identify the point and flat of the brisket
- Starting with the flat slice against the grain at a 90⁰ angle
- Once you reach the middle of the brisket you will begin to see two layers of meat – this is the point
- Adjust, and begin slicing against the grain of the point – still at a 90⁰ angle
Step 8: Enjoy
There is nothing left to do now but enjoy the fruits of yourlabor. Pair your brisket with your favorite BBQ sauce and sides, and invite some friends over.