Smoked Brisket!! Is there anything better? My absolute favourite meat to smoke on my pellet grill is brisket, particularly the packer. The packer is the entire brisket. Point and flat. The point is the fatty portion of the brisket, whereas the flat is the part that lays out flat (obviously where it gets its name). Smoked Brisket does take some time to make but your end result is beyond worth it.
The “Don’ts” When Smoking Brisket
Often you will read on internet blogs or online recipes that it takes a certain amount of time to cook one of these beauties and that you should leave it on the grill for a certain amount of minutes for each pound. This is false information and it results in countless overcooked, dry briskets. This is something you have to learn on your own. You can not even really take the information I am giving you (with regards to time) and just run with it. There is much more to it.
- Do not, leave your brisket unattended all day. Things can go wrong. I know it’s “low and slow,” but issues can still arise. Do you cover the tip of the flat in foil after a few hours? I don’t know, and neither will you unless you check on it.
- Do not leave your brisket unwrapped from start to finish. This will result in a drier brisket in the end.
- Do not get nervous when your brisket plateaus. This is normal. It will stall for a long time, but it will push through eventually. Do not, turn the heat up to accommodate this stall.
- Do not start with smoking just a brisket flat. Do the entire thing and trim very little. Fat can be your friend and contrary to what you may believe, it is essential for flavour and protection of the meat during the cooking process.
- Be sure to cook with the fat cap down if you are just starting out. This will further protect the meat. Do not worry about losing rendered fat by cooking this way, if you trimmed correctly there will plenty to go around.
- DO NOT USE BBQ SAUCE!! A beautifully Smoked Brisket requires none of that. Sure you can dip it in or slather it on a sandwich later, but for not try and make it so that it is just fine on its own.
Trimming Your Brisket
Ok, touchy subject in my neck of the woods. Fat is considered an enemy of the state here in southern Manitoba. Which is really weird as I would argue some of our local dishes and heritage food is some of the fattiest in the world. Anyways, fat on meat is often disregarded as garbage. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You need it. When you get your brisket home and are ready to trim, keep this in mind, you’ll need at least 1/4″ of fat over the brisket to yield a juicy, tender finished product. Do not take it all off. Sure , a little trimming is fine, but be careful. Get yourself a good boning knife! We recommend Dalstrong and just clean loose ends off and slightly trim the more concentrated areas.
Some people inject their briskets. I do not. This is up to you.
Every cook is so different. There are however similarities to each cook. I like to take notes throughout each cook, jotting down important points and areas to remember. This allows me to go back and tweak things or remain constant. If I run into an issue, I make note of it as to avoid the problem the next time.
If you simply just throw your brisket on and cook it for 14-17 hours, like some sites will tell you, you will find a very disappointing end product. Temperature is far more important than time. Meat probes are essential. They give you a pretty good idea of where you are throughout the cook and inform you promptly when each stage is complete or beginning.
Typically briskets on my pellet grill take anywhere between 9-12 hours of time on the grill. I will then leave them in my Cambro box for 2 hours plus wrapped in a beach towel.
Rubs & Bark Creation
I’m a purist when It comes to beef. Salt & pepper only. Sometimes garlic. The odd time I’ll experiment with rubs, but I really enjoy the central Texas method of just rubbing it down in what beef loves most (Salt & Pepper), and a whole lot of it. I love it, point to flat in a nice layer. This will be the base of the bark. The crusty exterior protecting the meat.
It is essential to have a good bark if you want a good quality brisket in the end. The combination of the spices, the smoke and the meat protein result in a chemical reaction. The bark should resemble a meteor when done. You must let your bark form before you wrap up your brisket in peach paper or aluminum foil (more on this later). You do, however run the risk of slightly ruining the bark by wrapping up your brisket.
I will touch of the differences between peach paper and aluminum foil in a minute.
Ratios: I encourage you to play around here, but if this is your first brisket maybe try a 4:1 or 3:1 (pepper : salt) ratio.
Kitchen Hack: Keep your old spice containers. Clean them out and use them for dusting your meats later with salts and peppers. This allows for an even spread over the beef.
Place on the Grill
Once you have your meat trimmed up and it is covered in your rub, it is now time to place it on the grill. At this point you should have started your grill up and had it ready. I cook mine at 225ºF. I will leave it on the grill for 2 hours like this. I will place it on fat cap down to protect the meat and move it away from the hottest spot of my grill ( I will make a post on how to determine heat points in a grill).
After 2 hours I will spritz the brisket with a little mixture of apple cider vinegar and water (3:1). I will do this roughly every hour on the hour to bring the temp of the outside down a little bit. This helps control the cook.
Be sure to add a water pan to your grill. This will slowly evaporate and help maintain moisture as well.
I set up my probes at different spots in the brisket, keeping a keen eye on where I am at during the cooking process.
Once I reach an internal temp of roughly 165-170ºF , I will pull the brisket off and wrap it in peach paper. It’s doesn’t matter which brand you use.
Wrapping Your Smoked Brisket
This is important! I will always use peach paper when wrapping brisket. It preserves that bark you worked so hard to create. With foil (it will help speed up the cook), one can easily ruin a bark. Foil is great for pulled pork, but not good here.
I will leave my brisket wrapped in the paper for the rest of the cook. Once my brisket reaches an internal temperature of 201ºF, I will pull it off the grill, wrap it in a beach towel and place it in my Cambro for a few hours before slicing.
After a few hours , I will remove the smoked brisket from the Cambro, and place it on a cutting board allowing it to rest a further 30 minutes. It will still be very hot at this point.
Cutting Smoked Brisket
It is very important to cut against the grain with meat. Make sure you do this.
Time to serve your delicious Smoked Briskt! I hope this little post helped.
I will be making a future video showing how exactly I do everything, but for now I hope this helps you all with your brisket. Feel free to message me with any questions that you may have.