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Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Best Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket is my favorite type of BBQ it is also the hardest to master. Over the years I have made several briskets and until recently it was hit or miss weather it would turn out or not. I have learned a lot about making brisket and BBQ in general since I bought my Weber grill. I have learned that there is a huge amount of time in the prep work. I used to be they kind of BBQ guy that opened a package of meat sprinkled some seasoning on it and threw it on the grill. That method makes BBQ but not the kind of BBQ you can brag about and that people compliment you on. I have spent hours watching Youtube videos and reading articles online about brisket and below is the culmination of all my research. I choose a whole packer brisket to start with not just the flat. This piece of meat is very large and quite expensive so there needs to be a great amount of care put into making it. A packer brisket includes the flat and the point. This makes the meat a very abnormal shape which is thicker on one end than the other. This poses problems for cooking evenly. The most important phase in cooking a brisket is trimming the fat and making it a uniform thickness.

Trimming the brisket takes some time but it is not hard work. Start with a very sharp knife it will make the job much easier. It takes me about 1 hour to trim the brisket and another 30 minutes to tenderize, inject and rub. The time put in on the front end pays huge dividends when you pull it off the smoker later. A good rule of thumb is you don't want any fat to be thicker than 1/8 to 1/4 inch. There is also a large piece of fat between the point and the flat, this needs to be removed and makes the brisket a more uniform thickness. I typically fill a small shopping bag with scraps. I take my time so I don't cut myself or trim to close and waste good meat.

When I finish trimming the brisket I then inject it with a marinade to add more flavors to the meat. The injected marinade helps to keep the brisket moist and tender during the cooking process.

Injectable marinade

2 tablespoons beef soup base
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons meat tenderizer
1 teaspoon garlic powder
a pinch of red pepper
1 can of beer

I mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over low heat just enough for the soup base to dissolve. I then put it into the refrigerator to cool before injecting the brisket. When I inject the marinade I go about every inch or so and and try to go slow so it does not run back out. Once I have completed the injection I sprinkle heavily with my dry rub. I have a bladed meat tenderizer and i use, that forces the seasoning into the meat and also helps with breaking down the meat and tenderizing it. I then take the prepped brisket and put in a large ziploc bag and let it marinade overnight. The next morning I pull it out and let it come up to room temperature prior to putting it on the grill. Place the brisket fat side up so as the fat renders down it will self baste the meat keeping it very moist.

I set the grill up with a 3 zone fire and put a large drip pan filled with water under the brisket this also helps to keep the meat moist. 250-275 degree fire is best for brisket. Brisket is going to take anywhere between 7-11 hours. I recently bought a digital meat thermometer that has a remote pager for alerting me when the meat is the right temperature. When making brisket I like to put heavy smoke on it during the first few hours and I use pecan chips or chunks. I like the pecan smoke because it is not as bitter as hickory. When the internal temp reaches 160 degrees I put the brisket in an aluminum pan and wrap tightly with foil then return it to the grill. Then it is a matter of time I shoot for internal temperature of  200-205 degrees for being done. I check the fire every hour and add 5 briquettes of charcoal to each side this helps to maintain the grill temperature. Once the meat has reached 205 degrees I pull it off the grill still wrapped and let it sit on the counter and rest for 30-45 mins. This step is very important without letting the meat rest all the juices will run out and you will end up with a dry brisket. During that resting time the meat will actually firm back up some and that makes it easier to slice. I like to slice it thinly and serve my BBQ sauce on the side. I like to scratch make my sauce. Some pit masters will take a store bought sauce and add spices and call it their own. I start with a can of tomato sauce and go from there. Below is the recipe for my sauce.

Crawdaddy's Butt Crust BBQ Sauce

1 large can of tomato sauce
3 tablespoons BBQ dry rub
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasas
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch of red pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce

I put all the ingredients into a sauce pan and let it simmer for a few hours.

Brisket is by far the hardest meat to BBQ and it intimidates a lot of people but I have had great luck with this recipe and I am no longer intimidated. if you are not willing to put the time into prepping your brisket i suggest going to a restaurant rathe than making it yourself. BBQ'ing is a labor of love and takes lots of time. If you have the patience the reward of great BBQ is worth it. Enjoy

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent step by step tutorial and you did not leave out any steps.I am a beginner griller and I will use your tutorial to cook my second brisket. The first one I smoked/grilled, everyone loved. I thought it was so so. Thank you for taking your time to share your recipes and experience.:)