Beautiful Brisket

Beautiful Brisket at oldfatguy.ca

Do you want to be the King of Barbecue in your neighbourhood? Do you want the other weekend Qers to talk about you in hushed tones of respect? Then you have to make a Beautiful Brisket! The good news is that it isn’t difficult, it is just time consuming.

The first thing you have to do if you live near me is go to your butcher, meat counter or someone who lives near a good butcher and get a full packer brisket.  A packer brisket is the whole brisket and is made up of two parts, the flat and the point. Just tell your butcher what you want.

I was lucky that my brother brought me a great full packer from Love’s Meats in Vegreville. It was on the small scale of size for a packer but was still 4 kilograms or over 9 pounds.

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The night before the meal, I took the brisket out of the wrapping and contemplated the beauty of the brisket for a second. There will be a fat cap on one side of the brisket. Trim it down to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

There is also a thick fat layer that runs about through the brisket, about 1/4 of the way from the pointy end of the brisket. This fat line separates the flat from the point. The flat is a leaner flat piece that makes up most of the brisket.

If you have the fat cap up, the point sits on top of the flat and goes diagonally under the flat. The point is fattier than the flat.

If you turn the fat cap down, you can clearly see the fat line between the two parts. There will be a particularly thick knot of fat in the line. I like to cut a large part of the knot of fat out.

Then I turn the brisket back over and run my fingertips over the remaining fat cap. I am looking for any particularly hard and firm fat and I trim that off.

Then, I cut a 1/2 inch slash all around the fat line that separates the flat and point as it makes it easier to separate the two pieces later.

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Many people don’t inject their brisket. I find my injection fluid doesn’t mask the great beef taste rather enhances it. However, feel free not to inject the brisket if it is your preference.

I made up an injecting fluid by mixing:

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) beef stock
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) soy sauce
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) onion powder
  • 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) garlic powder

I injected that every inch into the brisket with a marinade injector.

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I put the brisket in the fridge, uncovered.

I got up at 4 am and fired up the Louisiana Grills smoker to 240 F with hickory pellets.

While the smoker was getting to temperature, I made a rub with 4 parts coarse pepper, 2 parts kosher salt, 1 part onion powder, 1 part garlic powder. I gave the brisket a good rub with about 175 ml (3/4 cup) of the rub.

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There is a disagreement among pitmasters as to whether to put the brisket in fat side up or down. I won’t go into the arguments here as there is no settled best method which means it doens’t make a lot of difference in my opinion. I put it fat cap down because a smoker I admire does it that way but if you want it up, go for it.

I put the brisket in the smoker on a rack over an oven tray and let it smoke for 3 hours. Do nothing in these 3 hours. Really, do nothing. Let it cook, don’t peek, do nothing. It is a chance to get a bit more sleep.

After the first three hours, start spraying the brisket with water every hour or so.

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Keep smoking for about eight hours. You will know that this step is done when the surface of the brisket is getting really dark with almost black spots in places.

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Bring the brisket inside and wrap it. There are huge arguments about whether to wrap at all, whether to wrap with foil or whether to wrap with butcher paper.

Not wrapping will give a very dark crispy bark (the exterior of the brisket) but will take longer to cook.

Wrapping with foil will make it less likely your brisket will dry out and will cook faster but will soften the bark.

Wrapping in butcher paper is between the two. It does shorten the cooking time but will give a crisper bark than foil.

All three methods are fine and it is really a matter of personal taste. I chose butcher paper.

Put the brisket on the end of a 3 foot long piece of butcher paper. Fold the butcher paper up from the bottom to cover the brisket. Fold each side over the brisket and then roll it in the paper.

Put it back into the smoker.

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Let the brisket cook in the wrap until the internal temperature is 200 F. Then push a skewer into the beef. It should go in very easily. If not keep smoking. It usually takes until the internal temperature is 203 F to get very tender.

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I can’t tell how long this will take. It varies with each piece of meat. I had put my beef in the smoker at 5 am and it took to 5 pm to get to tender. If you have a time you must serve by, I would put the brisket in 14 hours before the serving time. You can always keep it warm.

When the brisket is tender, Bring it in and cut the point from the flat. This is where those cuts you made at the flat line will come in handy.

Rewrap the flat in the butcher paper. If it will be less than 1 hour until serving time, just leave it wrapped in the paper. If it will be more than 1 hour, wrap it in old towels or several layers of newspaper and put it in a portable cooler to keep warm.

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Cut the point into 1 inch cubes and put them in a roasting pan. Toss them with 50 ml (1/4 cup) of the rub you originally used on the brisket.

Mix 1 cup of barbecue sauce with 1/4 cup of beef broth. Pour the sauce mixture over the cubes. Put the roasting pan in the smoker. It has to be in the smoker for at least 1 hour but can be in for up to 2 hours. These delicious cubes are called burnt ends.

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At serving time, slice the brisket against the grain.

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Take the burnt ends out of the smoker and plate.

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We served this with rolls, and two delicious salads.

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The Verdict

This is the pinnacle of smoking meat. The brisket has a great beef flavour, is tender and moist. It just screams BEEF when you put it in your mouth.

The burnt ends are pieces of heaven. The have a crispy exterior, are tender and moist on the inside and have an intense flavour.

The friends who were over for dinner said this was the best thing I had ever served them.

I just smiled and tried to look humble.

The Old Fat Guy

r

Beautiful Brisket

Beautiful Brisket

Ingredients

  • 4 kg (9 pound) full packer brisket
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) beef stock
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) soy sauce
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) onion powder
  • 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) garlic powder
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) coarse pepper
  • 40 ml (3 tablespoons) kosher salt
  • 20 ml (1 tablespoon) onion powder
  • 20 ml (1 tablespoon) garlic powder
  • 250 ml (1 cup) barbecue sauce
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) beef stock

Instructions

  1. The night before the cook, trim the fat cap on the brisket to 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Cut off any hard parts.
  2. Remove most of the large knot of fat between the flat and point.
  3. Cut a 1/2 inch deep slash into the fat line between the flat and point so you can separate them later in the cook.
  4. Mix the beef stock, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder and garlic powder.
  5. Inject the mixture into the brisket every inch or so.
  6. Put the brisket in the fridge uncovered.
  7. The next morning, make a rub by mixing the pepper, salt, onion powder and garlic powder.
  8. Use 175 ml (3/4 cup) of the rub on the brisket, saving the remaining rub.
  9. Put the brisket in a preheated 240 F smoker and cook for 3 hours without disturbing.
  10. After 3 hours, spray the brisket with water every hour or so.
  11. Smoke until the brisket is very dark, about 8 hours from putting it in the smoker.
  12. Remove the brisket and wrap it in foil or butcher paper.
  13. Put the brisket back in the smoker and cook to and internal temperature of 200 F.
  14. Test the brisket by pushing a skewer into it. If it doesn't go in very easily, cook to 203 F.
  15. Cut the point off the flat and rewrap the flat in the paper.
  16. If it is less than 1 hour to meal time. Let the flat rest in the paper. If serving time is over 1 hour, wrap the paper wrapped flat in old towels or newspapers and put it in a portable cooler to stay warm.
  17. Cut the point into 1 inch cubes. Toss them with 50 ml of the rub and put in a roasting pan.
  18. Mix the barbecue sauce and beef stock and pour it over the cubes.
  19. Put the roasting pan in the smoker for 1 to 2 hours.
  20. Slice the roast and remove the cubes (burnt ends) from the smoker.
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