One of the nicest meats to smoke in your yard is a brisket of beef that has been smoked and has an amazing bark.
We believe the majority of folks overthink brisket cooking. It has developed a reputation as the supreme barbeque test.
In this recipe, we'll simplify the procedure for you and provide all the advice I've gleaned from briskets I've cooked in my own backyard, in dining establishments, and on competition circuits.
Along the process, we've discovered that cooking a brisket quickly and hotly can provide excellent results. This process will quickly produce a brisket that is incredibly moist.
What distinguishes a competition from a restaurant or a backyard?
Let's briefly discuss the root of a lot of frustration before we dive into the "how to." There are many people offering advice, but it's always necessary to pause and consider the environment they are operating in.
When it comes to preparing brisket for yourself at home vs at a restaurant or even a competition, there are a few variables.
Quality is a major difference, to start with.
- You can't always afford the highest quality when you're at home. Every time when you cook a brisket, one wishes they could afford to consume Wagyu brisket which has a marble score of 9+, but most people simply cannot. Therefore, consequently, buy what I can.
- Nonetheless, if restaurants offered expensive briskets, they would go bankrupt. They never purchase beef of the lowest quality; instead, they usually stick to mid- to high-range cuts that they can reliably find.
- This is where quality matters in a competitive environment. The greatest of the best are your opponents. You always source the best brisket available and typically order weeks to months in advance from any competitors because you need to ensure that the quality of the brisket you are using will surpass everyone else's.
Preparation is the next important factor. even more so the brisket's trimming.
- The less you eat at home, the more you can trim off. Therefore, at home, yield is crucial. We don't go out and spend our hard-earned money just to trim superfluous brisket off and throw it away. That much is obvious: the more we can cook, the more we can consume.
- Restaurants strive for the highest yield, just like at home. Although they frequently prepare a lot of briskets at once, consistency is now important. They all cook at a more even rate when their briskets are uniformly shaped after trimming, which is crucial for a restaurant. They must continuously be able to predict when the next batch of beef will be ready for consumption.
- The roughest trimming is now seen in the competition. Here, excellence is everything; yield is not an important factor. They are evaluated based on how they taste, feel, and look. Therefore, the brisket is first separated, which entails trimming the flat muscle and the point muscle appropriately. The point muscle is cut knowing it will later be divided up into ideal small cubes for brisket-burnt ends. The flat will be used for slices, so it will be trimmed up knowing it shrinks approximately 30% during the cooking process and it needs to sit well in a 9" x 9" hand-in box.
What you need for a Hot and Fast Style Brisket cook
- A smoker, I used a 22” Weber Smokey Mountain
- Lump charcoal
- Smoking wood
- An assortment of spices
- Rub shaker
- Instant read thermometer (e.g., hermoWorks Thermapen ONE)
- Fan-controlled thermometer – e.g., Fireboard 2 Drive unit
Shaving off the brisket
The trim won't be as thick as it would be if you were constructing a brisket for a competition or a restaurant, as we think you are.
First off, you should actually cut the brisket while it is still cold, so get to work as soon as you take it out of the fridge. Work quickly but with caution.
You may feel the tougher fat and you need to get rid of it. You'll see that the fat that has to be removed is heavier than the actual meat. Get rid of it because it won't render down during cooking.
At the very least, the softer, creamier-textured fat that covers the entire brisket should be reduced in size. Since I have access to a lot of higher-quality brisket, I usually remove most of it, if not all of it. This helps keep my briskets moist and tender since it has a lot of intramuscular fat that degrades during the cooking process.
When trimming, you might want to leave a little extra fat on the brisket with less intramuscular fat if you're cooking it.
Always use a sharp knife, and don't forget to cut any fat into thin slices. More can always be removed if necessary, but once it has been removed, it cannot be restored.
There is a lot of information available regarding leaving either the bottom or the top of the fat cap on.
Aaron Franklin advises keeping about 1/4 inch of fat. Dean "Schuey" Schumann disagrees. Off it goes since I prefer to season the meat and not the fat.
Last but not least, you can tidy up the edges by removing any thin edge portions that would dry out after a lengthy simmer once you are satisfied with the amount of fat removed.
Also, we advise rounding off any sharp edges to make the brisket more aerodynamic so that the heat and smoke can circulate more easily throughout the lengthy cook.
We advise saving the extra fat to turn into tallow.
Your brisket with seasoning
There are now a lot of options available for flavouring your brisket. From handmade brisket rubs to store-bought ones.
The salt and pepper blend used in the Texas manner is the most widely used brisket rub. Most people begin with a 50/50 ratio and add more pepper as desired, depending on how spicy they like it.
Try the tried-and-true SPG, or salt, pepper, and garlic. Specifically: salt flakes, black pepper that has been coarsely ground, and garlic granules.
Larger particle sizes work better than finer grains because the brisket can tolerate them. Simply combine both ingredients in equal amounts, shake well, and then apply to the meat from about 12" above.
This results in more even coverage of the protein and less clumping of batches of uneven rub on your meat by allowing the rub particles to slightly split before they contact the protein.
Is injecting okay or not?
Meat injection to increase moisture falls under the personal preference category once more for most folks
Unless you are purchasing the least expensive brisket, in which case it will require all the assistance it can get.
After consuming competition briskets that were always injected for days, one might come to simply desire to experience the natural beef flavour that brisket is famous for.
Keep things straightforward if you decide to inject the brisket. You won't get the pleasant natural umami flavour from cooking meat without bones if you don't use bone broth. Allow the true beefy flavour of any brisket to come through rather than getting hooked into injecting way too much flavour into it for a backyard grill.
Should you or shouldn't you separate the flat from the point?
Let's go back a step since this question makes some knowledge assumptions. Two distinct muscles make up a whole brisket, sometimes called a packer brisket:
- The flat area contains leaner meat that is more likely to dry out.
- The thicker point muscle tends to be richer and fatter because it contains more collagen and intramuscular fat, both of which degrade while the meat is cooking.
It is not prohibited to separate these two muscles before cooking. If you intend to make burnt ends, it is the fundamental justification for doing so.
If so, you should divide the two muscles.
If not, it is recommended to roast the entire brisket in its entirety.
When you have a high-quality brisket, we find that some individuals like the leaner flat slices while others prefer the fatty point end slices. When paired with the naturally robust beef flavour from the brisket, that fat flavour is extremely potent.
Again, everything comes down to personal preference.
What temperature is ideal for smoking a brisket?
Most brisket recipes will instruct you to smoke it at a temperature between 225°F and 250°F. A big packer brisket with this low temperatures can lead to cook times of up to 18 hours.
There are experts that have been dabbling with hotter temperatures of between 300°F and 320°F in recent years and have had wonderful success. Higher cooking temperatures, their experience, still produce juicy brisket with deep bark and lovely smoke ring.
You do need to allow for a little extra time in the end since the hotter the cook, the longer you need to rest or hold the brisket.
Hot and quick brisket smoking (step-by-step instructions)
Let's use the minion method with lump charcoal and a 22" Weber Smokey Mountain for my grill. Depending on the type of smoker you are using, you might need to follow slightly different instructions.
1. You need to set up that smoker, man
Once a three-quarters full chimney starter is fully ignited and burning with lump charcoal, drop it into the well you just made in the charcoal ring with unlit charcoal.
A few pieces of cherry and red wine oak wood should be scattered about the lit charcoal, but they shouldn't touch it directly. This will allow the fuel to warm up and burn cleanly without producing a lot of thick white smoke, which would give our brisket a bitter flavour.
For this cook, remove the water pan and use a deflector plate to prevent the bottom of the steak from being directly exposed to radiant heat. It will be simpler to reach those higher temperatures if the water pan is removed, and you won't have to bother about topping it off with water while the food is cooking. Save time by placing a drip tray on the deflector plate after the cook.
When utilising the traditional water pan configuration, you have two choices:
- Of course, you can start the cook by adding warm water to the water pan. Since the water is already warm, the smoker won't have to work hard to get the water warm as well. Just keep an eye on the water levels during cooking and top off as necessary. ensuring that no water touches the coals.
- Another option is to employ the well-liked sand approach. This is when individuals will add sand to the water pan (without any water), which acts like a heatsink and enables an additional indirect heating method.
- Hot and Swift brisket smoking
Lay the brisket in the centre of the cooking grate once the smoker has reached a constant temperature of 300°F and insert an internal meat probe into the thickest section of the point. You can monitor the brisket and smoker temperatures with the Fireboard 2 Drive, which is what we said we’ll be using in this demonstration.
Before checking it, give this smoke around two hours to completely go gone. If the bark still has any dry areas, spray some water on it now.
Although you can substitute any liquid, such as apple cider vinegar, the final flavour is frequently unaffected.
When the internal temperature hits 170°F, wrap it in foil and continue cooking it for a further couple of hours until the internal temperature reaches between 195°F and 210°F. Hence, begin testing at 195°F.
- Brisket resting
Once ensuring that the entire brisket can be probed without encountering any resistance on any side, wrap it firmly in foil, cover it with a couple of old towels, and put it in a cooler to hold for two hours.
This is a crucial step, so make sure to get going early enough to give your brisket time to rest. Make sure you comprehend the physics of food safety that underlies this technique so that you can securely preserve a brisket in this manner for a number of hours.
It might be wise to prepare the remaining sides at this time.
When the two hours are over, slice the brisket and savour one of the tastiest smoked meats there is.
Traditional sides like cornbread or smoked mac and cheese pair well with brisket.
Wrap the boat in butcher paper or foil
Nowadays, many people want to boat my briskets.
The benefit of boating your brisket over wrapping it in foil or pink butcher paper is that you can maintain the bark you've worked so hard to create. Due to the moisture in the foil, you definitely lose part of that wonderful bark while wrapping the brisket at this point.
The same is true of butcher paper; despite allowing steam to pass through, it nonetheless absorbs a lot of moisture and ends up resting on the bark.
Some experts have claimed consistently amazing results by boating the brisket and keeping the top open for the extra couple of hours, which allows that bark to really set in, indeed.
If you ever need to shorten the cooking time for a brisket, you can cover it with butcher paper, but only in that circumstance. Otherwise, go ahead and wrap 99% of your briskets with foil.
To spray or not to spray?
Just let it be if the bark is taking its sweet time to dry. All of it is covered in foil at the end of the cook. Any dry portions will effectively soften in a two-hour cooler hold thanks to all the steam and moisture in the foil packet.
- While the brisket is still cool, remove the tough fat.
- You can remove as much soft fat as you want; most usually remove the majority of it.
- Add granulated garlic, salt, and coarsely ground black pepper to taste.
- Set your smoker to a 300°F temperature.
- Before checking, put the brisket on and let it cook for at least two hours.
- If any of the bark is very dry after two hours, spray it with water.
- When the brisket's internal temperature reaches 170°F, boat it in a few layers of foil.
- Remove the brisket from the heat and wrap it in several pieces of foil after it is probing tender, which is when the temperature is between 195°F and 210°F.
- Place in the cooler for two hours after wrapping with some old towels.
- Slice the meat against the grain after the two hours are up and enjoy.