Brisket is known to be one of the hardest types of beef to cook. Brisket is a tough, muscular cut of meat that demands low and slow cooking. Many people spend a lot of time smoking brisket, which sometimes doesn’t reflect the outcome of the cooking. Some recipes make cooking brisket a daunting task and can be an even more challenging undertaking if you’re new to barbecues or outdoor cooking.
All this considered, there is no doubt that a perfectly smoked brisket will leave you drooling for more. It’s one of the most sumptuous cuts for a barbecue session. Here are some of the tips to make your brisket as delicious as possible.
Select Quality Meat
Smoking the best brisket starts with proper meat selection. The quality of meat you choose directly influences the general outcome of your cooking, including the taste and texture. You need to understand the various grades of meat to make the proper choice.
Meat is graded based on the degree of marbling and the animal’s maturity. The three most notable meat grades are select, choice, and prime, which is the respective order from the lowest to the highest. You’ll definitely want to stick to the prime cuts for the best cooking experience.
Trim Your Brisket for Better Tenderness
Trimming off all the big and thick pieces of fat, often regarded as ‘hard fat,’ is necessary to enhance proper cooking. The hard fat does not render during cooking and may affect the direct seasoning of the meat.
Trimming your brisket is also necessary to remove the unattractive meat edges that may make your end product look less appealing. You will want to trim the brisket until you start to see the red part of the meat.
We also recommend proper and careful trimming to ensure you are left with enough fat on the brisket needed to hold the flavor and keep it moist throughout the cooking process. The fat cap should be quick to trim off, but be sure to leave an even quarter-inch layer.
Rubbing the Brisket
Smoking a brisket requires nothing more than salt, pepper, and garlic. It’s also a highly customizable piece of meat to smoke, and you can add more flavors to suit your tastes. We also recommend keeping it as simple as possible to allow the natural taste of the meat to dominate.
How to Place Brisket on the Smoker
The best way to smoke your brisket is by placing it fatty side down. This allows for the fat from the cap to drop down freely, which otherwise would wash away the seasoning from your brisket. Placing it fatty side down also provides the brisket with a better presentation on the smoker.
Take Charge of Your Fire or Heat
Heat management is very critical in any food smoking process. Smoking brisket takes a lot of time (between 12–20 hours), so you should ensure you maintain a consistent temperature throughout for a tasty and well-cooked brisket.
Having the best food smoker is also essential to help and guide you in your cooking process. Our Bradley Smoker is a good option since it’s a product of well-experienced pitmasters, cookbook authors, and recipe developers. It’ll make it easy for you to maintain the temperature throughout the cooking process. Make sure to use our Bradley Bisquettes for deliciously clean and taste-enhancing smoke for your brisket.
The Essentials of Wrapping
Wrapping your brisket is important to help hold in the juices and prevent the brisket from overcooking. It’s essential for beginners who may not be fully versed in ideal temperature or heat management. Wrapping helps avoid a very smoky brisket that could ruin a good cut of meat.
You can choose to use aluminum foil or food-grade butcher paper.
When is a Brisket Ready?
The best way to know when the brisket is ready is through temperature management. Using our Bradley Smoker, a brisket will be ready after about 12–20 hours of cooking, within which time you should at least realize an internal temperature of 190–205°F (88–96°C). You can use our digital thermometer.
Once ready, allow your brisket to rest for an hour on average. This allows time for the meat’s juices to redistribute, enhancing the flavor.
How to Slice Brisket
Once the meat is fully cooked, you’ve accomplished the most important task. It’s now time to present the results. A pro-smoked brisket deserves to be cut and served well for a professional, appealing presentation. The timing for cutting or slicing your brisket is also essential.
We recommend waiting until it’s time to eat to slice your well-cooked brisket. This is because a sliced brisket loses its juices and taste very fast, and you don’t want to ruin your hours of hard work. Also, ensure you are well prepared with a knife, chopping or cutting board, and possibly a towel before you start.
We always recommend slicing your brisket against the grain. This is essential for the best tenderness and mouthfeel and to avoid tough and very stringy pieces of meat. Start by cutting the brisket in half, starting from where the flat and point meet.
Once that process is complete, it’s time to dig in and enjoy!
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the excellent articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.