Secrets to to killer brisket

We all love smoking meats.   Pork butts and ribs are usually the go to for most everybody.  Briskets on the other hand seems to be a little intimidating for folks.  Believe me I completely understand.  Brisket is my favorite thing to cook and eat!  To be honest, i am really not a big fan of pulled pork these days.  So I took it upon myself to be able to perfect my brisket game a couple years ago. 

People often long for the Traditional Texas style Brisket.  As they say "Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Smoke"  is the  only way to go.  For me and a couple of my Georgia BBQ Slinging friends, we love adding our own southern touches to our briskets to create incredible bark and flavor.  This is where my passion for developing the first in our line of rubs.  Fat Henry's Classic Rub was born from our love to share our passion.   

So first we need to select our brisket.  I always prefer doing whole packers.  The fat content of a whole packers keep the brisket moist and tender in my opinion.  I often get questions on Prime or Choice?  So here si my thoughts. There is definitely a difference  between the 2.  Can you cook a killer choice brisket?  Absolutely!  Most every brisket I cook is choice. I pump out several briskets a week for catering and they are all choice! Now Prime briskets will still have higher marbling and will be just a notch above if cooked properly.   I always reserve the Prime and Waygu cuts for special occasions with family and friends, unless specifically requested. 


So there are several different types of smokers out there. Along with that, there are several different methods of cooking briskets.  Here is my method, that we use daily , for smoking briskets on The Big Green Egg.  

My  go to temp for smoking on my egg (except for ribs and chicken) is 275.  I prefer a milder, sweeter smoke.  So my wood of choice is Good Ol' Georgia Peach wood.  I also add a few handfuls of cherry wood pellets.  

I fill my fire bowl full of charcoal, add my wood chunks and light it up!  For longer cooks, i always light my fire at eh very front right above the bottom vent.  You will get a longer burn time when doing this.  

Cooking at this higher temp  i always like to add a water pan on top of the plate setter.  The water will help to prevent the bottom of the brisket from drying out and becoming tough.  

On these longer cooks i always prefer using a temp controller like the Flame Boss.  It basically puts your grill on cruise control so you can tend to other things.  With the wifi version you can monitor and control your temps while away from the house.  This is by far on of the best products on the market and the customer support is second to none.  

How to trim that brisket

Trimming is a crucial step in turning out a killer brisket. Let me say this first.  This is not how we trim our briskets for competition.  This is purely for the enjoyment of deliciousness.   First  on the  Flat side (meat side)  there is  a hard hunk of fat on one side or the other towards the point end.  This needs to be cut out.  You are more than welcome to trim any of the thin layer of fat off this side as well.  Most of it will render out so there is really no need.  

Once cut out flip the brisket over.  We are needing to trim down the fat cap to around 1/16 to 1/8 inch.

I also usually run the knife down the edges to remove any of the discolor meat.  this is usually caused by the wet aging brine they add to the bags.  Nothing at all wrong with it.  I just  try to keep the brisket clean and uniform.  I know i probably over trim.  

Now its time to season it up.  Of course i recommend our Fat Henry's Classic Rub.  But there are several Amazing rubs on the market!   Lane's BBQ Brisket Rub, Pork U's Garlic 101 and Beef U Combination and Meat church's Holy Cow are a few of my favorites as well.  

I always season liberally on the on all sides and finish with the side that will be cooked on top.  This is purely an appearance thing for me.  

Now lets get this on the smoker.  Place it over the water pan fat side up.  I don't open the smoker for 6 hours.  This is usually a good rule of thumb for the time it takes for the bark to set.  We are looking for 180 ish range at 6 hours. Now its time to wrap.  I prefer using foil over butchers paper.  I think it seems to hold more moisture in.  Just my preference.   Once Wrapped.  Place back on the smoker till the internal reaches the 203 mark.  This will take about another hour and a half to 2 hours.  

You  always want to let meat rest.  and brisket is no different.  i always like to let it rest for at least an hour in a cooler wrapped in a towel.  

There is a method to slicing a brisket.  i usually don't make burnt ends mainly due to time.  So what I do is slice both the flat and the point (fatty end).  First you want to slice the brisket in half where the point ends and the flat continues.  You are want to slice against the grain and the fatty end grain runs in a different direction than the flat.  

Once separated.  Continue slicing the flat in that direction.  When you are ready to slice the fatty end .  Turn it 90 degrees and make your slices.  Properly  slicing the brisket will make it that much more tender.  plus you will get the proper bend with your slices hanging over your finger.  

I know there are probably questions on knives i use.  So when i am trimming briskets i use a simple boning knife.  I actually use a the cheapo Dexter curved boning knives.  For slicing i have several.  My favorite is my Shun Carving set.  But you can get a really nice 12 in. slicing knife for less than $50 bucks that will work well also.  

I really hope this helps with your brisket quest.  Please let me know if you have any questions or need any help.  Also,  i cant wait to see your brisket cooks.  Make sure you tag us in your post - #four41south.  



P.S -  Go Getcha some fat Henry's!!!