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Brisket

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When it comes to brisket, keeping it simple is key. Once you have narrowed down the relationship of the heat source, the seasoning, the protein, and the time, then feel free to start branching out on more adventurous flavor profiles. This recipe is designed for the smoker, but you can easily translate it to the oven or gas BBQ as well.

When choosing your brisket, local butcher is best. I recommend 7+kgs, but feel free to start on a half cut of brisket of only the point or the flat - good learners tip right there! Also, the point can be a bit more forgiving.

Trimming of the brisket is an important step, but if this is new to you - keep it simple. Trim off the larger pieces of fat and silver skin, but be sure to leave at least 1/4" of the fat on. This adds to the flavor and protects the meat. Also, trim off any straggling pieces of meat that might burn during the cook.

 

For the cooker you plan to use, the fuel source and heat control capabilities play a critical role in the flavor profile of the brisket. For American BBQ, smoke is the number one ingredient and this can vary depending on the type of wood you use. But not all cookers can take full 16" piece of firewood.

 

For those who want to know some of the finer details, here are some pointers to maximize your cooker for a brisket:

For large solid fuel cookers (20" plus offsets for example), using only timber is recommended. The type of timber is important. I find jarrah works well and is readily available in Australia. When in America, white oak, pecan, mesquite, or hickory are my choice for flavor and availability. With larger cookers, the ability to control the heat is easier than smaller solid fuel cookers due to the size of the fire and cooking chambers. These cookers do require attention and finesse, but are more forgiving.​

For small solid fuel cookers (for example, kettles, bullets, smaller offsets, etc.), charcoal as the main fuel source is recommended with small wood chunks added. Charcoal that promotes a long controlled burn is best, with wood chunks around the size of a baseball for the appropriate smoke flavor. Some charcoals do provide adequate smoke flavor, but this will require trial and error. In some smaller solid fuel cookers, the heat can be quite difficult to control, but others are quite simple - the variance can be due to quality of build, design, or weather. If just starting out, I would recommend a bullet style or Akorn style cooker which are cost effective and efficient. 

Electric or gas pellet smokers. Well these are quite simple once dialed in. A well controlled heat source and your choice of wood based on the pellet make up. These cookers are great for those who don't want to attend a fire for 12+ hours, but want great tasting BBQ. These cookers are very well rounded and can also cook hot and fast.

For gas grills, well there is naturally no smoke, but instead a well controlled heat source. Smoke can be added by including in your cooking chamber a tray, or pellet widget, with wood dust, pellets, or wood chips which can smoke. To create the smoke, you can place on the tray close to the flame so as to maximize the heat to the wood product, or keep away from the flame and light a portion of the wood product and allow the heat to carry through the wood product during the cook. This will add smoke to your cooking chamber, therefore adding the smoke flavor profile to the protein.

For ovens, of course only your oven energy source (gas or electric) - this doesn't add the smoke flavor profile. And I wouldn't recommend adding any smoke to the oven, thinking my wife's timer here - also known as the smoke alarm! I still love ya hun! Although you won't have the smoke to season the meat, cooking brisket in the oven can still provide a great slice of brisket.

COOKING METHOD

Ingredients and other required items

  • Brisket, 7+kgs

  • Ted's S&P

  • Ted's Poppy Sauce

  • Sprits bottle with water

  • Fuel source (read above to determine what works for you)

  • Thermometer

Before proceeding, always ensure you are aware of you fire management requirements. Is it the appropriate season? What will you do if your fire is out of control or spreads beyond your fire chamber? I like to have on hand a water hose, fire blanket, and fire extinguisher - just in case.

Directions
  1. First up is to trim your brisket. It is best to do this when it is cold as the protein is easier to handle.

    • Main goal here is 1/4" of fat to remain on the brisket​

    • Remove any silver skin (this is thin, transparent tissue)

    • Remove hard chunks of fat (this can be melted down to tallow)

    • Remove any small segments of fat or meat that can burn

    • Allow the brisket to come to room temperature, this can take up to 2-3hrs - if in a pinch of time, this part of step 1 can be shortened but close attention is required during the cooking process.

  2. Start up the cooker

    • For any only solid fuel source, this requires about 45-60 minutes for the cooking chamber to settle at required temperature of 225F​

    • For any gas or electric cooker, about 15 minutes to settle at required temperature of 225F

  3. Time to season that brisket​

    • Generously apply Ted's S&P, starting by folding up the sides and applying. Then the top and bottom.​

    • Brisket loves S&P, so apply liberally

  4. Place brisket in the cooking chamber​

    • If using a whole brisket (with point and flat), place the point closest to the heat source with the peak of the brisket facing up. ​

    • If you are using an electronic/Bluetooth thermometer, now is the time to insert. I prefer to do this on the point side of the brisket. 

  5. LEAVE IT ALONE​

    • This is the most critical portion of cooking good BBQ. Just leave it alone. All that primarily needs to be accomplished for at least the first half of the cook, is controlling the temperature and smoke output.​

    • After about of controlled temperature, I will check in on the brisket, remove excess fat that may be pooled on top, sprits with water, then close the lid. I sprits to add some moisture, which helps induce the bark, I remove the excess pooling of fat, as this hinders the bark.

  6. The stall

    • If you are using a thermometer while you cook, you will see the stall in the brisket. This is understood to occur due to evaporation of moisture in the protein molecules. This can happen 1-2 times in brisket. And it takes time, but push through it, maintain that 225F temperature. Don't rush it.​

  7. The wrap​

    • This step can be for debate, depending on who you talk to. If and when I wrap, I use butcher paper on brisket - and I prefer to do it after the stall.​

    • You should have a proper bark on the brisket at this point. It is black, you can sprits the brisket with water to ensure it's not soot from the smoke (thinking dirty smoke impact here)

    • This step I find helps with consistency in final product, maintains moisture as it provides a little bit of a steaming effect.

    • Place back in the cooker, opposite side this time

  8. LEAVE IT ALONE​

    • Just the same as step 5, just leave it alone.​

    • Again, manage the heat source at 225F

  9. Remove and let rest​

    • Once the internal temperature reaches 205F, remove from the cooking chamber and place in a cooler, oven, or other apparatus that will allow the protein to rest​

    • For food safety, the meat should stay above 140F (60C)

    • Allow the protein to rest anywhere from 3-6 hours for what I find are the best results. Longer is ok, shorter is questionable

  10. Slice​

    • Across the grain, not with it!

    • The grain on the point is nearly opposite to the grain on the flat

    • About a #2 pencil width is a good indication for slice size

    • There are many tutorials online on how to properly slice a brisket, this is a critical step as it can make or break the impact of how the meat responds to the chew.​

  11. Serve

    • When serving the brisket, add Ted's Poppy Sauce​

    • This helps enhance the flavour of the brisket, cutting through the fat, but not covering the brisket with an overly powerful thick sauce

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