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BASIC BRISKET for the Beginner
Borrowed from Let’s Talk BBQ by Stuart Nelson

I don’t know of any other cut of meat that presents as much of a challenge to the cook as the beef brisket! Packed with great beefy flavor, the cut is a “walking muscle” from the front end of the critter and isn’t exactly tender even when graded Prime or purchased from a specialty meat dealer as Kobe or Wagyu.

It took this “basic” approach down, you can experiment and adapt as much as you’d like. This recipe is long because it has to be – it is an instruction toward a good, basic, moist, tender brisket result. Once you’ve done several, you’ll know it by heart and you’ll want to add some of your own touches!

Ingredients You’ll Need:

A “Packer” Brisket (point and flat not separated) – 11 to 15 lbs. ƒ McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning ƒ
Can or carton of Beef Broth (not stock) ƒ
Garlic Powder ƒ
Onion Powder ƒ
Kosher Salt

Tools You’ll Need:

Your Cooker (capable of controlled low temperature or smoking)
Aluminum Foil (wide, heavy)
Injector Syringe
Instant-read Meat Thermometer (Maverick PT-100 or Thermapen recommended)

Some things it’s nice to know about:

I’ve learned that whole, “packer” briskets are much easier to cook to a tasty, moist and delicious result than are separate flat or point pieces. If all you can get is a chunk, then go for a flat or keep on looking.

Be careful when trimming excess fat from a brisket. That fat is a source of both moisture and flavor and can be trimmed for appearance after the cook, too. Arguments start among cooks about “fat side up” or “fat side down” during the cook. I advocate fat side down. It serves as a barrier and retains moisture in the meat, particularly the flat. Injecting, particularly in the flat, is as close to a guarantee as you’ll ever get for good brisket. It really, really needs the extra moisture.

Brisket can take a strong woody flavor in its smoke phase and both mesquite and hickory work well. Like all other meats, don’t over-smoke it – smoke is just one of the flavors you want.

Preparation and Cooking:

Trim the brisket lightly, just removing any large, loose lumps of fat but leaving an even coat at least 1/8 to ¼ inches in the fat-covered areas. Apply a light to medium “sprinkling” of McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning all over the brisket.

Using one can of beef broth (most are 15 to 19 oz. depending on brand) add enough water to get to 20-22 oz. Add 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder, 1 heaping teaspoon onion powder, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt – stir or shake in a jar until thoroughly combined.

Using an injection syringe (turkey injectors are available at big box stores for a few dollars), inject about 1/3 of the injection mixture into the point and 2/3 into the flat. Use lots of small injections, both shallow and deep, spaced about an inch apart.

Allow brisket to “rest” with rub and injection for one hour while you bring your smoker up to speed (235 to 250 degree range).

Place brisket fat side down on cooking grids and smoke with lid/cover closed as much as possible until internal temperature in thickest parts reaches 140-150 degrees – then double wrap in foil and return to cooker. Continue cooking until internal temperature is 195 degrees.

Remove from cooker and open foil, but do not unwrap. Allow brisket to rest this way for one hour. If you can’t slice and serve after this one hour rest, re-wrap and place in a cooler covered with old towels. It will stay very hot for up to five or six more hours.

Slice flat across grain. Trim excess fat to taste. The point can be removed and returned to high heat to create “burnt ends” or shredded/pulled (super for sandwiches).

Final Notes and Thoughts: The injection is primarily for moisture and texture, not flavor. So, keep it mild. Undercooked brisket will be tough and stringy with a dry mouth feel. Overcooked brisket will tend to fall apart in the slicing process but may still lack good moisture.

Apply any sauce to brisket very sparingly. It has a natural beef flavor that you don’t want to cover up. The injection and rub in this recipe will balance well with any smokiness imparted during the cook to give a complex, but still “beefy” flavor.

Retain the juices captured in the bottom of the foil wrap and use them to “thin” down some commercial sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s or Head Country (about 50% juices, 50% sauce). This decreases the sweetness and increases the savory compliment. If you’ve never cooked a brisket before or have had less than acceptable results with one, this recipe will get you into “good brisket” territory in a hurry.

Please note: This is not a competition recipe and is posted only with the intent of providing basic instruction. The author is not implying its superiority over any other method or approach.

Latest Activity: Jan 02, 2018 at 1:57 AM

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