How To Barbecue A Brisket
If your brisket is tender, juicy and flavorful, you already know how to barbecue a brisket! If it's not, read on and you'll learn how it's done.
Beef Brisket Barbecue Basics
Follow the steps and you'll make great barbecued brisket.
- Buying a brisket - It's preferable to buy a whole,
untrimmed brisket. The fat layer (fat cap) melts as the brisket cooks,
keeping the brisket moist and adding flavor. You don't have to cook it
all at once. Divide it in half or in quarters, freezing the extra to
barbecue later. If buying a ten-to-twelve pound piece of meat just
scares the dickens out of you, buy a flat cut brisket, or better yet, a
brisket point if you can find it. The point is a little fattier, which
translates into more flavor.
What Is a Brisket?
- Prepping the brisket - If you chickened out and
bought a trimmed brisket flat, the preparation has been mostly done.
Just check over the meat and thin down any fat deposits thicker than
one-quarter of an inch. (Hey, I was just kidding about the chicken
thing. It's OK to buy itty bitty pieces of meat...Really!)
If you were a man about it, (or a REAL woman) and bought a whole, packer
cut brisket weighing twelve pounds, get ready to do a little trimmin'.
Actually, all that needs to be done is to trim the fat cap down to about
one-quarter inch thick - no thinner - and then score the fat
diagonally. Cut just throughtthe fat so you can see the meat in a
criss-cross pattern, the cuts about one inch apart. The scoring lets the
seasonings reach the meat under the fat cap.
- Marinating the brisket - Many barbecuers
swear that marinating the brisket overnight (or longer) gets flavors
down deep into the meat. Beer, wine, fruit juices and water, a little
oil, garlic, chopped onions, spices, herbs, salt, sugar...all of these
ingredients have their place in beef brisket marinade. They do
add flavor. And many cooks believe that acidic liquids like vinegar or
lemon juice in marinades has a tenderizing effect the meat.
How to Make Marinade
Brisket Marinade Recipes
Smoked Brisket Marinade
- Seasoning - dry rubbing the brisket - Brisket
dry rubs are in my opinion 100% required when barbecuing brisket. The
spice mix can be as simple as a little salt, onion powder and black
pepper. Or as complex and combinations of twenty or more spices and
herbs. There are many, many brisket dry rub recipes to choose from...or
you can make up your own. Have a little fun and experiment!
Brisket Rub Recipe
Texas Brisket Rub
How to Barbecue a Brisket
Cooking Temperature for Brisket - Beef
brisket contains a lot of connective tissue and fat. The best way to
make it tender is to cook at a relatively low temperature for an
extended time. If it's cooked at 350F, a lot of the moisture will be
forced out of the meat. A cooking temperature of 225-240F is perfect
when barbecuing brisket. In the oven, you can cook it in the 250-300F
degree range. If you have time, try cooking it in the oven at 225F. It
could take 12 to 18 hours (at 1 to 1-1/2 hours per pound), but the
flavor and the texture will be out of this world!
- Baking Brisket in the Oven
Cook brisket at 250F to
275F for about 45 minutes per pound. Cooked on a raised rack the brisket
will have a nice crust. In a baking dish covered with foil, the meat
will cook in its flavorful juices and have a softer texture.
Oven Barbecued Brisket Recipes
- Grilling Brisket
Grill using indirect method at 250-300F
for up to one hour per pound. Wrap in foil after halfway done. Remove
when the internal temperature reaches 180F (firmer brisket for slicing),
up to 195F-200F (fall apart tender for shredding).
Grilled Bbq Brisket Recipes
- Smoking Brisket
Smoke at 225-240F for approximately one
hour per pound. You can wrap it in foil after 4 hours, or leave it
unwrapped the entire time for a chewy, flavorful "bark". Done at 180F-
200F, depending on the level of tenderness you prefer.
How to Smoke Brisket
Smoked Brisket Recipes
- Crock Pot Brisket
Cut the brisket to fit, filling the
crockpot half to three-quarters full. You can simply pour in a mixture
of 1/2 cup bbq sauce and 1/2 cup water or apple juice. Cook on high 4 to
6 hours, low 8 to 10 hours, or until fork tender.
Brisket Crockpot Recipes
About Cooking Brisket
Mopping the brisket - When grilling, baking or
smoking brush on mop sauce to add flavor and moistness to the meat. This
ain't no barbecue sauce. A little beer, wine, vinegar oil and spices is
about it. It helps.
Brisket Mop Sauce
Wrapping in foil - Wrapping the barbecuing
brisket in foil halfway through the cooking process ensures that the
brisket will be moist when it's done. It also cooks a little quicker
wrapped in foil. Oh yeah, double wrap with heavy duty foil to prevent
leaks. You don't want to lose any of the juices.
Final Brisket Temperature
For slicing - 180F-190F
Falling apart tender - 190F-200F
Use a remote grill thermometer and you won't have to open up the grill or smoker to check its temperature.
Resting the Brisket - For the most tender, juicy
brisket let it rest after cooking. Leave it wrapped in foil, drop it
(gently) into a cooler, cover it with two or three bath towels, close
the lid and wait. Two hours if you can. If not, at the very least a half
hour. During the rest period, the meat fibers relax and reabsorb some
of the liquid it lost as it cooked.
Saucing the brisket - You can finish the brisket
with a basting of sauce during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking, or
let everyone do this to their own liking when the brisket is served.
Some may not want sauce.
Brisket Sauce Recipe
Slicing the Brisket - Across the grain when cooked to slicing temperature, with the grain when cooked to fallin' apart temperature
How to Cut Brisket
Serving the Brisket - Oh Yeah! Let's eat! I'm so
hungry I could eat a horse. But really, you just slice it, pile it on a
serving platter and let the eatin' begin. You can't beat barbecued
brisket sandwiches, cold beer and potato salad.
You now know how to barbecue a brisket
with the best of them.
Some Brisket Recipes You May Enjoy
Oven Barbecued Brisket
Bacon Wrapped Brisket
Marinated Beef Brisket
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