Yesterday, I smoked a brisket and it was a good one. I bought a 12 pound brisket from Texas Sausage Company and it was a great one. There are lots of ways to smoke a brisket. So, if you’re doing something else that works for you, keep doing it.
Trimming a brisket is critical to getting a great result. Hopefully, you watched the video I posted last week. I trimmed about a pound of fat off my brisket. First thing, I always remove is the really hard fat. You’ll know it when you feel it – its rock hard and is just not a good eat. Then, I trim the rest of the fat anywhere its too thick. There is plenty of fat inside the brisket. So, you don’t really need too much on the outside. Once trimmed, I rubbed the brisket will. Typically, I use the Salt Lick spice rub, but I picked up a new one at Texas Sausage. And, it turned out really nice.
I smoke on a Weber Smokey Mountain. This sub $500 smoker is a machine – once the fire is started, it will sit at 240 for me all day long. Once the fire is going and the meat is on, I’ll add wood chunks. For brisket I used hickory and apple. You only need a couple. So, I’ll throw a handful on every hour for the first couple hours. That will give you a nice smoke ring on the finished product.
The key to great brisket is temperature control, both for the fire and for the meat. Make sure you have a good thermometer for your smoker and for your meat. I use the weber iGrill. It gives me up to 4 probes. So, I measure different items. Its also Bluetooth to an app on my phone. So, I can check the temperature anywhere around the house.
For brisket, we cook it over low heat – low and slow – at a temperature between 200 and 250. The meat needs to be cooked, until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees. And then, allow it to rest where it will reach about 210.
The time it takes to reach 195 degrees will very greatly depending on the temperature in the smoker, how big your brisket is, and its shape. The thicker the meat, the longer it takes to reach temperature.
When I smoke a brisket, I watch for the stall and then I’ll wrap the brisket in foil. The stall is where the meat reaches a temperature – typically around 150-170 – where for a period of time the internal temperature holds solid. This is the point where the fat starts liquefying. The nice thing about the temperature apps is you can see a graph view which makes it easy to spot the stall. At this point, your bark is set so wrapping is fine. Wrapping now helps seal in all the moisture.
Some people swear by the pink paper. Others use foil. If you’re curious there are plenty of videos out there on YouTube comparing the two. I use foil, only because I haven’t bothered to order a giant roll of the pink stuff from Amazon.
Once the meat reaches 190, pull it off the smoker and wrap another layer of foil around it and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. You’ve just melted all the connecting tissue and fat, and you want the meat to set up again.
When its time to eat, you need to slice your brisket. You want to slice it across the grain to get the nicest looking cuts. Some people will actually cut a notch across the grain before they start the smoke, since its hard to see the grain with the bark on. What I do is separate the point from the flat, since the grains flow in different directions. For the bottom piece, I’ll cut that in half longways, then create my slices. The top I typically chop and sauce.
If you’re looking to start smoking briskets, its an enjoyable activity. There are lots of sources of information on the web. If you want more information, let me know and I can send some links. And, just in case your interested in getting what I use, here they are: