Brisket is quite easily the most opinionated smoked meat out there. The jury is still out on whether to inject, wrap, marinade or none of the above. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject, but the one that never waivers it that it must be smoked just right.
The brisket is from the chest of the cow, and holds a ton of weight (literally.) So needless to say, this cut is not as tender as other cuts that you might find elsewhere. This means that in order to break down the connective tissue, you have to smoke this and not simply grill it over high heat.
A full brisket is made up of two parts, the flat and the point. This will generally weight 12-15 lbs, and I didn’t want to smoke for that long, so I bought a flat that had already been seperated. I was curious about what an injection would do, so I decided to try it. The injection was just a mixture of beef broth, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and some Blues Hog BBQ rub.
**Note – While the injection does provide some extra flavor and juiciness, I think it takes away from the look of a cut brisket. You will notice dark streaks where this was injected, and I don’t think the flavor outweighed the look of the meat when cut. I will not be doing this again unless I can find a more color friendly injection.
I just kinda eyed the recipe, but the majority of it is Beef broth (about 3 cups.) I added about 4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and then about a teaspoon of each of the dry spices. After adding all of the ingredients, I heated this up in a sauce pan to get the flavors blended, and then let it cool in the fridge for a bit.
Open up the brisket, and trim off any excess fat that you see. You will want to leave the fat cap on the brisket, which will protect it from the fire when you are smoking. Take your pre made injection and your injector and you will want to inject in about 1 inch squares. There is no need to measure and create a grid, but kinda eye it up to make sure you are getting maximum coverage. Once injected, cover it in foil and allow it to rest over night. This will allow the injections to work through the meat.
** Note – When you are injecting make sure that you start pulling the needle out as you are injecting. This will allow the injection to work its way from bottom to top.
After allowing it to sit overnight, take the brisket out and sprinkle your choice of rub over the brisket. I would do the fat cap first since that will be on bottom, and then do the top of the brisket. I also let this sit overnight before putting it on the smoker.
**Note – The overnight resting is not required. You could do a minimum of 4 hours without an issue, but I find I get the best results sitting overnight.
Whatever I am smoking, I always set it on the counter as I am starting up the smoker. This gives the meat time to come to room temperature, which does 2 things. It takes less time for the meat to smoke since it is at a higher starting temperature and it gets the meat above 140 degrees faster, which is considered the “danger zone”
Once your smoker temperature is steady at 250 degrees, you can put this on fat side down. You will want to smoke it this way until the internal temperature hits 165.
At this point, I decided to do a foil for the brisket to finish smoking in. I added some apple juice, rib rub and some bbq sauce to a foil base and put the brisket in. Wrap this in at least 2 layers of foil and put back on the smoker.
Again, the opinions are out there. Do I let this go to 190 degrees, 195 degrees or 200 degrees? I actually pulled this brisket at 192 degrees. After pulling it, I open the foil to allow the heat to vent out and then recover. This will keep the brisket from cooking any longer. After venting, wrap in a couple of old towels and put in cooler to rest. Don’t worry about this getting cold as it will hold a good temperature for 4 hours or more.
After it has rested for a while, take it out of the foil and get to cutting. The rule of thumb is to cut against the grain and about the width of a pencil.
While this was resting, I made some smoked macaroni and cheese (recipe to come) which was unbelivable. I plated the brisket and cheesy mac and proceeded to dig in.
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