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Smoked Brisket How-to
So, you've decided to tackle the creme de la creme of Texas barbecue. This write-up should walk you through the process of smoking a brisket that most Texans would be proud to serve. Brisket can be a difficult cut of meat to cook, and results vary across most cuts of brisket. Following these steps should lessen the variance, and improve your success.
The brisket pictured is likely a prime grade brisket. The fat content and marbling is better, so the end result is typically juicier and more tender. Also, when purchasing a brisket, perform a 'bend test'. Basically, you are trying to get the two ends of the brisket to touch together. This test can indicate that the fat between the point and flat is not as hard and that the meat may be more tender. The 'bend test' is not a fail safe, but is one of many factors that could indicate better meat.
The night before cooking, this brisket was trimmed to no more than 1/8" thick fat on the surfaces of the meat, and the point and flat were separated. For a long time, I never separated the two brisket parts, but have recently found a benefit in separating as it allows for quicker cook times and, most importantly, consistent temps throughout the meat for the duration of the cook. When cooking the flat and point still connected, the end of the flat away from the point will cook faster than the rest of the brisket and end up drier.
After trimming, a VERY thick coat of Beasley's Smokehouse Rub Secret Blend was applied to all surfaces of both the point and the flat (basically, as much as will stick to it). From there, the brisket was refrigerated overnight to allow the meat to dry marinade.
The next day, the brisket was set in the stick smoker at 225 degrees to begin the cook after sitting on the counter for about an hour to allow meat temps to get closer to room temperature. Note: the smoker temperature can fluctuate between 225 and 300 without ruining the meat provided it isn't against the firebox.
Once the internal temperature of the meat stalls (usually around 160 degrees, and that's when I pull unless it stalls before 160) the meat is pulled from the smoker, wrapped in aluminum foil with 1/4 c. apple juice, and returned to the smoker.
The brisket is done in the smoker between temperatures of 190-205, AND when a fork or probe will slide into the brisket like a hot knife through butter. At 190 degrees, begin checking fork or probe tenderness about every 30+ minutes.
Remove the wrapped brisket from the smoker and place in an ice chest with 2 layers of folded towels above and below the brisket for 2-4 hours (I have started to pre-warm my ice chest with hot tap water about 2 hours before completion to slow the cooling process.) I have left brisket in the ice chest this way for around 12 hours, and the meat is still too hot to touch.
Pull the brisket out, slice against the grain, pour collected juices in the aluminum foil over the meat, SERVE & ENJOY!!!