As the summer approaches, it becomes more important that you have your barbecue recipes perfected and ready to go! It has now reached the time, in which you must pull out the long-awaited barbecue grill from the dust of your garage and get started on your next barbecue day! The summer awaits you and you must be ready with all the delicious foods that will have your guests mouthwatering in anticipation. As you ring in the new summer, it would probably do you well to try out some new tricks on the grill. I mean, your traditional recipes are probably wonderful, but surely with every new year, the only way to keep the ones you love entertained and excited for your grilled foods is by changing the game every year! The best part is that we have the research done on what kind of meat you should incorporate this year. This summer, the spotlight falls on the infamous brisket! I guarantee that when you learn more about this amazing cut of meat, you will want to include it in your lineup of barbecued foods. It is the perfect kind of meat for any picky meat eater and it surely is incredibly versatile in the many ways in which you can marinate and grill it up. Don’t believe it? Read the rest of this article and see for yourself.
What is Brisket?
Now before I delve into the many ways that you can create the perfect brisket suited to your own preferences, I think it is best that I first describe what this amazing cut of meat is all about. It can be kind of difficult, even as an avid barbecue lover, to keep up with all the details that distinguish various kinds of barbecued meat. For this reason, it is probably beneficial that you understand the exact characteristics that a brisket typically possesses so that you can understand whether this cut of meat is what you need for your next dinner or barbecue plans! The brisket is known as a cut of meat that typically hails from the breast of lower chest of the beef or veal. The area of muscle where the brisket comes from is known to be quite superficial, featuring deep pectorals. These muscles are typically the most important part of the cattle since anatomically they do not have collar bones, meaning that around 60% of the cattle’s body weight is supported by those very muscles that the brisket comes from. Since the muscle is utilized a lot by the cattle, it typically has a significant amount of connective tissue. This means that the resulting meat (in other words the brisket itself) must be cooked correctly to tenderize those very connective tissues. Without proper tenderization of the meat, this can result in a brisket that is very tough. In addition, briskets can typically weigh around 3 to 8 pounds and is typically long in length. It is normally divided in half and often sold as two different pieces of meat.
Characteristics of Beef Brisket
For some people, the brisket can be a kind of meat that many want to stay away from. This can happen because the brisket is known to be one of the tougher meats that come from beef. If not cooked properly, this kind of meat can have characteristics that are not ideal for the perfect barbecue. Yet, if done properly, beef briskets can provide some immense flavor that is quite extraordinary in comparison to other cuts of meat. Briskets can come in two kinds of varieties after they have been cut in half. The halves are often named differently and then sold separately. The first cut is known to be a flat, thin cut that is leaner in volume and taste. The second cut of the brisket is known to be a pointcut or deckle and is well known for being the more flavorful half of the brisket since it contains more fat within the meat. The first cut of the brisket is known for being used for corned beef recipes. In this case, we want to direct our attention to that second portion of the brisket, because it has the characteristics that make it the perfect candidate for rich, fatty meat braises that are juicy and can be shredded nicely.
Tips for a Perfect Brisket
Before I disclose some amazing beef brisket recipes to try out, I think some tips on how to create the best kind of brisket is certainly necessary. The brisket is surely one of the most rewarding cuts of meat to enjoy, but it can also be the more difficult one to deal with. For this reason, having these tips in mind before you start grilling, can be the best way in ensuring that you get the best possible results for your brisket (with utmost confidence and minimal stress).
Prep the Brisket Correctly
To ensure that the brisket is prepped and ready to go, it is ideal that you start with a brisket that is around the 10-12-pound range. Trim off the top of the brisket to get rid of the fat cap that normally sits atop the meat. It is important though, that while trimming off the fat from the meat, you make sure that there is still about a ¼ inch thick layer of fat. This helps to keep the meat moist during the cooking process. After this, it is important that you sprinkle a few tablespoons of rub (whether it be dry or liquid) and be sure to spread it evenly on both sides of the brisket.
Prep the Cooker
The key to cooking up a juicy piece of brisket lies in the cooking time as well. Just know that when it comes to briskets, you must start smoking the meat for a very long time to get the desired flavor that you want. Using a drip pan with water under the meat can help stabilize temperatures as well, so that may be something you want to consider. The best way to prep your cooker is by first soaking a handful of wood chips for about 30 minutes in warm water before you place them atop the coals. This will jumpstart you in the right direction.
Low and Slow is the Name of the Game
Low and slow is the motto you need to abide by when cooking up briskets. Remember, that this is one of the toughest meats of the cow so for that reason you must be extremely patient with getting the results that you desire. It is recommended that you frequently check the grill every hour and keep the temperature around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not open the lid often, unless it is for adding in more charcoal or wood chips to maintain the temperature and smoke. By randomly opening the lid of the grill often, you are disrupting the meat’s ability to cook, while letting a lot of the smoke out, which is absolutely needed for this meat to cook well.
Texas Style Smoked Brisket (heygrillhey.com)
- 1 12-14-pound whole packer brisket
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder (optional)
- Be sure to store the brisket that you have in the refrigerator until you are ready to trim up the meat. Refrigerating the brisket ahead of time is ideal because it is easier to cut up cold meat. Begin by flipping the brisket over so the point end is underneath. Remove any of the silver skin or excess fat from the flat part of the muscle. Next you want to trim down the large crescent moon shaped fat part of the meat until it makes a smooth transition from the point end of the meat to the flat section. Trim any of the excessive or loose meat and fat. Then proceed to flip the brisket over and trip the top of the fat cap to about ¼ inches thick (as stated before) across the entire surface of the brisket.
- Now take a mixing bowl and mix up the salt, pepper, and garlic. Pour the spices over the brisket and evenly distribute it until the spices are around all sides of the meat.
- Next preheat your smoker to about 225 degrees Fahrenheit. For your smoker, use the settings that account for indirect heat and hardwood smoke. Then place the brisk on top of the smoker, making sure that the point end of the brisket is facing the main heat source of the smoker. The point end of the brisket is a thicker part of the meat and therefore can handle the additional heat. Close your lid and smoke the meat until the internal thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roll out a piece of butcher paper (or foil) and then proceed to center the brisket in the middle of the paper. Wrap up the brisket by folding the butcher paper over the edge, doing it repeatedly. This creates a leak proof seal all the way around the emit. Then return the wrapped brisket to the smoker and with the seam side down so that the weight from the meat crimps the edges of the paper down tightly.
- Next, proceed to close the lid on the smoker while making sure to maintain 225 degrees Fahrenheit and continue cooking up the meat until the internal temperature of the thickest part of meat reaches around 202 degrees Fahrenheit. This can typically take around 5-8 hours.
- Then proceed to remove the brisket to a large cutting board and allow it to rest for about 1 hour before slicing. Slice both the point and flat end against the grain with a sharp knife and be sure to serve immediately. Enjoy!
Smoked BBQ Brisket
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- ½ cup of ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of dry mustard
- 1 trimmed brisket with a layer of fat that is about ¼ inch thick (around 5-6 pounds)
Dark Beer Mop Ingredients
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 serrano chilis, chopped
- 1 large red onion
- ¼ cup of dark brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 bottles of dark beer
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- First begin by mixing together all the spices in a bowl. Rub the entire brisket with the spice mixture and place it on a baking sheet, allowing it to cover and let it stand in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
- How to Make the Beer Mop: Place all ingredients listed in a medium saucepan and season it up with salt and pepper. Be sure to cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes and then proceed by removing it from the heat and allowing it to cool slightly. Now that you have the mop ready to go, you are ready to grill!
- Prepare the smoker according to the directions of the manufacturer (as well as some of the tips I told you about!). Place the brisket in the smoker with the fat side down and allow the meat to smoke for about 4-5 hours until it is very tender. Be sure to use the dark beer mop and baste the meat about every 30 minutes to ensure flavor. Remember to keep those smoking tips that I laid out in mind when smoking this meat, so that you can make sure you don’t make any rookie mistakes along the way!
Here were 2 delicious brisket BBQ recipes that you can consider when barbecuing with friends or family this summer! Both are super simple to do and there is a dry rub or liquid marinade option, depending on your preference. If you are a little bit more on the impatient side, there are also recipes out there that serve to make cooking briskets a lot shorter! If you do not have a grill, there are still so many ways that you can cook up an amazing brisket in a short amount of time and have your friends thinking that you spent hours at the grill. The time is now, so trust in your barbecue skills and let the grilling begin!