Best Smoked Brisket in Town
- Smoker Grill
- Packer Cut Whole Brisket
- Rub of Choice
- Trim away the excess fat until you are left with about 1/4 inch of fat
- Inject you meat with liquid of choice (optional)
- Rub you seasoning rub into your brisket, getting it completely covered.
- Get you brisket on the grill, and smoke at 225 F, until the meat is 165 F internal temperature.
- Once you hit 165 F, wrap your meat in foil or butchers paper.
- Put back on the grill until internal temperature reaches 195 F
- Rest your meat for at least 30 minutes before cutting
- Slice, open a beer and enjoy!
So if you go to your butcher or to your local market and ask them if they have a full packer cut brisket, this is what you’re going to get. This cut of meat has two parts to it, the flat and the point. The flat portion is typically where your slices of brisket are going to come from, and then the back part is called the point (or sometimes called the deckle).
One of the most difficult things that a barbecue chef can cook is brisket, but this challenge is one of the reasons why it is so popular among We get a lot of people saying “Why does my brisket never turn out good?” “Why is it always tough?” Why is it always dry?” Well, some of the reason for this is simply down to the way you’re cooking it, some of it is down to the type of meat you pick, and A LOT of it is just learning and practicing, and using a few basic techniques that we’re going to show you to help make your brisket a little bit more tender and packed with flavor. Follow this recipe and you will be well on your way to having the best smoked brisket in town!
Trimming the Fat
The first thing you want to do is you’ll notice how much fat is on this brisket, so what we’re going to want to do is trim a lot of that fat off. You don’t need a huge knife, but you do need one that’s relatively sharp, and you’ll get better at this the more you do it. Don’t worry about if it’s not even. A lot of people will say “Oh he’s cutting off all the flavor”, but trust me…when you keep about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of fat on here, you are going to pack in a lot of flavor and keep the meat nice and moist.
The reason for trimming the fat is that there is no point in putting your delicious rubs and spices on a part of the brisket that you aren’t going to eat. Once you get down to a ¼ inch, the fat is softer and will melt better than the harder fat that you are trimming away.
You can have your butcher do this if you’re not comfortable with it. This is why it’s always useful to make friends with a good butcher! They will come in handy! A lot of time you go to the grocery store, they won’t have a full cut packer brisket, but they’ll have briskets. They will be smaller and will already be trimmed out. These briskets will primarily be the flat. It’s important to notice which way the grain is running because when you cut this brisket after it’s cooked you’re always going to want to cut against the grain. That’s actually another reason that sometimes it’s a little bit tougher; people cut it in the wrong direction and the way those fibers are. You want to cut against the grain so you’re going to get the most tender and best smoked brisket possible.
Here’s a great video on how pitmaster extraordinaire Aaron Franklin prepares his brisket:
Next up is seasoning, and there’s a lot of ways you can season your brisket! Some people just like to be simple and just use salt, pepper, a little bit of garlic and maybe some cayenne pepper (and some of the best smoked brisket rubs are the simplest). Other people will use a standard barbecue rub. Another thing people do to add flavor, in addition to a rub, is to inject the meat. There are a lot of injections that you can get on the Internet. If you go to a barbecue competition, all of the best smoked brisket teams are going to inject their barbecue with something. However, it is not 100% necessary for the home cook. It is a bit of fun if you are feeling adventurous though!
The injections are generally a mixture of different phosphates and different flavors, that are going to enhance the beef flavor, and kind of an insurance policy against the meat drying out. It also gives a little bit more punch and adds a much beefier, brisket flavor.
While injecting is optional, using a good rub is mandatory! It can be as simple as you like, or you can buy a huge variety of different mixes online. Sometimes we just use salt pepper and garlic, but our favorite is Oakridge BBQ Signature Edition Black OPS Brisket Rub. It’s got a good amount of pepper and it gives a good golden-brown color when it’s cooking.
You should put your brisket in some kind of pan (to catch any falling rub). Apply the rub generously all over the brisket, getting into every nook and cranny, until the meat is completely covered. This is a thick cut of meat, so it’s kind of hard to use too much.
Time to Cook
So now we’re ready to put our brisket on the grill! Here’s the first big argument: fat side up fat side down!? Well we’ve cooked it both ways, and it’s turned out great both ways, so a lot of it depends on the type of cooker you have. Some of the more popular grills are the Weber Bullet, the Big Green Egg or a Weber Kettle. For these grills, where you have a direct heat source underneath the meat, you will cook it fat side down to protect the meat from the intense heat.
Also, the brisket is going to stick to your grate a bit, so that’s another reason to cook fat side down, especially at a higher heat environment. This means it will be just the fat that sticks to the grate, not your delicious meat!
You can use whatever wood chips you like, and it will take some experimentation, but we find oak or cherry chips make the best smoked brisket. But it is all down to personal preference.
Once your brisket is on the grill, you are going to want to maintain a temperature of 225-degrees Fahrenheit. The amount of time you will be cooking your brisket for varies based on the weight and thickness of your meat, and the temperature you are maintaining. You will want to come back every hour or so to check the internal temperature and to replenish your wood chips.
Once you hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees, you will be faced with the next dilemma; to wrap or not to wrap!
To Wrap or Not to Wrap
If you wrap your meat, you can add a little liquid in there to keep the meat moist. Beef broth, water, broth or wine are all good. However, wrapping can soften the nice crispy bark you have built up with your rub and smoke. It just comes down to personal preference.
A lot of people call wrapping a brisket The Texas Crutch! However, we just call it just making the meat tender and a little bit more flavorful!
The process is actually pretty easy. Just put it on some foil, and then position it and wrap it tightly. When you wrap your meat, always do it with the seams facing up. This is because if any juices are floating around in there, they’re going to stay contained. You can add a little liquid such as water or beef broth into the bottom of your pouch.
Next, you are going to put it back on the grill, and leave it there for about another hour, until the internal temperature is about 195. Next, you want to rest your meat, to allow it to reabsorb some of those juices.
Once you have rested your meat for 30 mins, you’re ready to cut (30 minutes is the absolute minimum you want to rest for. Lots of pitmasters rest for hours before serving). The first thing you’re going to do is follow the natural contour, and separate the point and the flat. We’re going to focus on the flat part which is what we’re going to make our slices out.
Remember we said earlier that one of the reasons people have a very tough brisket can be down to the way they cut it. Look closely at your meat, and see which way the grain is running. You want to cut across the grain to shorten those fibers and make the meat more tender. Another top tip from Aaron Franklin when it comes to cutting is to cut it about the thickness of a pencil. If you slice it really thin, you can make a tough brisket seem more tender. If you cut it thicker, you can make an overcooked brisket seem a bit better. But if you can cut your brisket at pencil width and it still has good consistency, you have good brisket.
Now it’s just time to serve up with some corn, slaw or your favorite bread. You can be proud that you have made some of the best smoked brisket in town.