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Brisket can be the most difficult piece of meat to smoke because it is the toughest meat to make tender. First, we should understand what the brisket is, the types available, and how to pick one from the store.
What you want to buy at the store is an untrimmed brisket. If you see “market cuts” this is an untrimmed brisket with most fat removed and cut into two pieces –the Point and the Flat. When you look at an untrimmed brisket, the point is the flat pointed end (better for pulling) and the Flat is the thicker fatter part (better for slicing).
Now for picking out a good cut. You want to look at the side of the brisket and look for a consistent fat cap from the point to the deckle end. Marbling is good and you will sometimes notice the fat caps look yellow and some times they are white. The yellow comes from farms grain feeding or can be signs of growth hormones. Either way, I can never tell the difference once cooked, so don’t get freaky on the yellow fat. The most important part in picking one out is to find one that will bend easily. Hold the deckle end and find one that the flat easily bends downward when holding the deckle. A lot of times a store will have all the same consistency of tenderness, so you might not see much difference in product at one store. After you buy a few at different places you will see the difference between the stiff ones and the not so stiff ones.
On to the cooking process right? So, how long does it take? You know my answer to that- it is an internal temp you shoot for, not a time. But, figure on 1.5 hours per pound roughly if you need to eat at a certain time. You are looking for an internal temp of 190*. That is when it is done.
Now, we have to properly season this hunk of meat, or it won’t taste to special. The method I am about to give you is an award winning recipe that was passed to me from an old friend that used to do the bbq competition circuit and is now a caterer. You can use as much of this or as little as you want, but if you do it like I say, you won’t be disappointed!
The flat is best sliced and the point is best pulled.
Course black pepper
Fiesta brisket rub – (any rub is fine, store bought or homemade)
Knor’s Beef base (granular)
Buttermilk ranch dressing -POWDER!
County Bob’s Steak Sauce – Use your favorite steak sauce here, but stray from A1 Sauce. You can get Bob’s at Wal Mart.
Ok, get the smoker fired up and you want a grate temp of 225-250. Sprinkle pepper and brisket rub liberally on brisket covering 100%. ALL OTHER INGREDIENTS WILL BE USED LATER.
Smoke brisket with FAT CAP UP until you hit an internal temp of 145*. This is the temp where you won’t get much more smoke penetration into the meat.
Pull brisket from smoker. It should be a nice dark brown with some blackening taking place. Sprinkle pepper, rub, beef base, garlic, and powdered ranch over both sides. Now don’t go crazy here with amounts! I usually make one easy pass with each ingredient and make sure that you don’t over do the powdered ranch. Once both sides are done, you want to place foil under the brisket, and add the steak sauce. Again, don’t over do it here! Just pour a small stream right down the middle. Don’t spread it, just get it on top.
Now wrap it and remember which side is the fat cap because you want to continue cooking it with the fat cap up.
Cook it until you hit 190* internal.
Pull it out and let it cool for 30 min/hour. After wards open the foil. You don’t want to lose the juices- in fact, pour the juice into a jar or bowl and reserve.
Ok, now to carving it. You MUST CUT AGAINST THE GRAIN. If you don’t the meat will be very tough. You want thin cuts in strips. If it starts coming apart like a roast (stringy) then cut the other way and that will be against the grain. The point is the best place to start carving and usually you will cut against the grain easily. Once you get close to the deckle, the grain will change a few times. The deckle is actually two pieces separated by a fat layer. I usually slice in between this fat layer when I get to the deckle and separate the deckle. It is easier to see the grain and cut against it this way, but it can be difficult to find and cut down the fat layer without showing you.
I actually have to cut it in two on my GOSM if I get a full packer. I use to professionally separate point and flat. Now I just take off a portion of fat and leave the rest. Before I wrap it in foil, I put some beef broth over it. Seems to help keep it moist.
Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
how big a brisket you talking about?