I started thinking about the blog posts that I have made about David’s beef brisket. I’ve told you we smoked a brisket. I’ve told you about making enchiladas and sandwiches with the leftovers, but I really haven’t told you how David smokes his beef brisket to perfection, The Mountain Kitchen Beef Brisket. Brisket is one of the big three BBQ meats, right up there with ribs and pork shoulder. In my opinion, the perfect brisket is the holy grail of barbecue— It is my absolute favorite smoked meat, mainly because it is beef.
(Click HERE to learn more about brisket)
Brisket is often pursued, but rarely attained. Low and slow is the golden rule — a low cooking temperature and a slow cooking speed, until it’s tender enough to cut with the side of a fork. The goal to a well cooked beef brisket is a thick moist slab of meat, with a crusty “bark”, a vivid smoke ring, and meat so smokey, you nearly gorge yourself into a food coma.
Here are David’s 10 Steps to Smoking The Perfect Beef Brisket:
The Mountain Kitchen Beef Brisket | Servings: 8-12 | Time: 5+ Hours
- 1 beef brisket (about 5 pounds), with fat cap at least ¼-inch thick (We only cooked half of a brisket. This time we smoked the tip portion)
- Charcoal Grill or Water Smoker – Sorry folks, gas grills simply cannot produce a properly smoked brisket
- A bag of Mesquite Wood Chunks, soaked in water
- Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil
Beef Brisket Rub:
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
BBQ Sauce of your choice – ours is kind of secret… made of butter, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sugar, salt pepper, and chipotle peppers
#1 Prep the Brisket
Start with a brisket in the 5 pound range, which is just the right size to fit on the grill. Trim the brisket so as to leave a ¼-inch cap of fat. (Any less and the brisket will dry out; any more, and the fat will prevent the rub from seasoning the meat.)
Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and stir to mix. Rub onto the brisket on all sides. If you have time, wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and let it cure in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the brisket right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat.
#2 Prep the Grill
David has a Weber Performer I gave him for Christmas a few years ago. It is a kettle-type grill, so he uses an indirect heat technique with a drip pan with water directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature.
Soak a few handfuls mesquite wood chunks for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing atop the coals.
Preheat the grill to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)
#3 Smoking the brisket
When the coals are ready to cook, place the brisket on the hot grate over the drip pan, fat side up, toss a hand full of the soaked wood chunks and some dry wood chunks onto the coals and cover the grill.
David likes to use a combination of dry and wet wood chunks, alternating between the two. The dry gives a quick intense smoke and brings the heat up. The wet wood chunks provide a lower, slower smoke and brings the heat down. Heat adjustments can be made using this technique.
Bring the temperature up to 225 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer.
You will need to add fresh coals and more wood chunks to each side of the grill every hour for at least the first 4 hours.
#4 Low and slow
Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid unless you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.
#5 Never mind the Stall
When the brisket’s internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees F, the brisket’s surface evaporation causes the meat’s internal temperature to plateau. Pit Masters call this “the stall.” Don’t panic. Just wait out the stall.
#6 Test for doneness
Smoke the brisket until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 190 degrees F, about 5 hours; use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness.
The ideal temperature of a properly smoked brisket is 190 degrees F. The internal temperature of the brisket can increase by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill, so keep that in mind. If the internal temperature is 190 degrees F when you take it off the grill, it may rise to an optimal 200 degrees F, perfect! Any hotter than that and could overcook your brisket, which results in dry, chewy meat, no thank you!
Take the brisket off the grill and wrap it in foil for at least 1 hour. Holding helps tenderize by allowing some carryover cooking which helps melt tough connective tissue. The foil captures the natural au jus for use in a sauce, and holding allows the surface parts that have dried out during cooking to absorb some of the juices.
#8 Slicing the Brisket
Slicing is a bit of a challenge because there are two muscles and the grain flows in different directions. Brisket is easier to chew if you cut it across to the grain. Cut with the grain and it can be stringy and chewy.
Don’t slice until the last possible minute. Brisket dries out quickly once it is cut. When you are ready, Turn the meat fat side up so the juices will run onto the meat as you slice.
Start slicing the flat, cutting across the grain so the meat will fall apart in your mouth about ¼” thick, about the thickness of a pencil. Cut off the flat where the point meats it and then they rotate it so the cut is on the side and they slice through the point and flat from the side.
This is smoked beef brisket. To some people, it’s not barbecue unless it has a sweet red sauce on it. Sorry folks, we celebrate great brisket by not messing with it while it is on the grill. If your brisket is cut right, then you slice it and serve it naked!!
Perfectly cooked meat should be moist and juicy. You can serve it simply sliced on a plate or as a sandwich. If you wish, drizzle some sauce and serve slices of flat fanned out like a deck of cards surrounded by chunks of burnt ends from the point.
Now you have the 10 steps to delicious and perfectly smoked beef brisket, so good you’ll be in that food coma in not time!
Before I close I wanted y’all to check out David’s new hub cab on his grill. The old one broke while he was shoveling snow last winter.
My buddy David helped me find the replacement. If you need some replacement parts to spruce up your grill check out his site: www.QualityGrillParts.com and let him help you get the replacement grill parts you need. He’ll take great care of you!