Brisket seems to be one of those mystery meats. I’m by no means an expert with brisket, all of my neighbors claim they are! But I’ve found with the BS [Bradley Smoker] I can turn out a very consistent product!
Selecting & Trimming:
First we need a brisket…Off to the store or butcher shop whichever you prefer for a 9-12 pound packer brisket, if you go much larger you’ll have a hard time making it fit on your rack. If a packer is not available not to worry go with a market trimmed. Now I’ve seen in the stores here what they call ‘Best of the brisket’ which is just a piece of the flat less than 2 lbs and completely trimmed of fat and @ 4.29 a lb, just say no!
Okay you’ve found some packers, now which one is gonna be the good one, they all look the same pretty much. You want a nice fat cap on the one side and some nice marbling on the other. Now one trick I was told years ago is to grab your packer on both ends and bend it in half as best as you can, this will give you an idea of how thick the fat ribbon, that separates the flat from the point is. The easier the bend, the smaller the ribbon, and this is what we’re looking for. While I don’t know if this is true, as I said I was told this years ago by an older gentleman and it has worked for me through the years. Plus you get the joy of standing in front of the meat counter flexing briskets as all of the other customers looking and wondering what the heck is he doing!
All right, we’ve flexed and found our perfect brisket and rush home ready to get this bad boy into the BS….Not so fast; brisket is not a meat to be rushed during the cook and before the cook. First we need to age it in the fridge for a bit, if you bought a market trimmed pull it out of its package and vac-seal it, you packer is cry-o-vac’d and ready in the fridge for at least 2 weeks (3 is better) turning over every day, and what the heck give it another flex or two! (Read more about Wet Aging Beef). Two weeks have past, and you’ve turned and flexed daily, but you just can’t take it anymore its time for brisket…
Okay I understand, the day before your smoke pull the brisket out of its package for some fat trimming. If you bought a market trimmed your already good to go. On your packer trim off the heavy chunks of fat, but don’t get to carried away on your cap as it serves as a self baster while we’re cooking it. Once you’ve got the heavy parts of fat removed, you’ll see the fat ribbon that separates the flat from the point, run your knife along this ribbon as if you were going to separate the two. If your flexing at the store was correct you shouldn’t have to thick of a ribbon and will not have to remove very much.
Okay time to cook right, Not quite yet you’ve just flex your brisket for two weeks and now taken a knife to it I think it deserves a rub down and a days rest! Pick your favorite rub and don’t be shy with it, cover the entire brisket and don’t forget to coat where the fat ribbon was. I like to use from the Smoke & Spice book the “Wild Willy’s Number One-derful Rub”, great on everything!
- 3/4 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup coarse black pepper
- 1/4 cup coarse salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp chilli powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp cayenne
Alright, all rubbed up and into a 2-gallon zip lock, if you can’t find a zip lock that big just vac seal it up, get as much air out as possible. Refrigerate overnight. Time for a cold beverage, the big day is tomorrow!
Tomorrow has arrived and its time to smoke, well not quite, brisket is not to be rushed! Pull your brisket out of its bag and place on your rack on the counter (keep an eye on your dogs, I speak from experience) and go crank your BS up to a temp of 220°F. I like to leave the brisket on the counter for about an hour, once it starts to get a sweat your good to go. And the cool thing is, it’s not even cooked and it smells good already.
Into the smoker, middle rack with 4 hours of smoke….now I use mesquite, I know that’s shocking! But use whatever flavor suits you. The cabinet will take quite awhile to recover, especially if you have a full load. Once the smoker has come back up to 220°F, the ones I did here took 6 hours, pull from the smoker, you’ll notice they have shrunk quite a bit this is a good thing.
Into a foil pan with a splash of apple juice cover the foil pan tightly with heavy duty foil and into the house oven @ 220°F. Which is where I’m at right now, popped into oven at 10:00 pm last night!
Okie Dokie, out of the oven. Doing brisket I don’t shoot for any internal temperature more so just low and slow, but if I were to guess probably 190-205. Remove from pan and wrapped tightly in foil. FTC for just a few more hours (4-5 hours). Time your FTC for dinner time, if you need a bit more or less you’ll be OK!
- I’ve learned FTC is a big key, thanks to the folks on the Bradley Forum…Pulls all of the juice back into the meat!…Speaking of juice when you pull your pans full of brisket out of the oven, pour the juice into a stockpot, makes for one heck of a base for sauce!