Smoked Beef Brisket
What is Brisket?
Brisket is one of the nine primal beef cuts. It’s specifically a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of a beef. The cut is known to be relatively tough as it is full of connective tissues and two muscles that overlap. However, when cooked properly beef brisket will be deliciously tender, and flavor packed.
You may wonder how to cook brisket so that you won’t end up with a tough and dry piece. There are a few ways to cook juicy beef brisket. Some prefer to do a Texas style brisket in the oven which requires the least effort but also the least impressive results. Place it on a roasting pan and give it a few hours. Others are hooked on cooking brisket in a slow cooker. This is an easy way to create a tender cut but there is such thing as overcooking a brisket. You want the meat to be tender, but not mushy. Depending on the size of you cut it usually takes about 8 hours for tender results. Lastly, there’s the most popular: smoked brisket.
So how to smoke brisket?
For your convenience we have listed a step-by-step smoked beef brisket recipe below as well as one of our most popular recipe videos. If you plan on smoking the meat you’ve probably read and heard a lot about the “low and slow” method. It will without doubt result in pure and simple melt in your mouth and packed with flavor brisket. However, by slow it can take 16+ hours. Yes, you read that right. Be prepared to have the cut smoking all night + getting up to refill either pellets, charcoal or wood chips depending on your smoker. It’s quite the sacrifice in hope of perfecting the craft of the perfect tender brisket. Many will refer to smoking the perfect beef brisket as an art. If you’re able to execute the brisket recipe to perfection you will automatically be looked up to by all who appreciated and acknowledges good barbecue. It’s the goal of becoming a real pit master.
Nevertheless, this is where immaculate drum smokers such as the Pit Barrel Cooker is able to make the art of smoking the perfect brisket a breeze. In less than half the time of other cookers, the Pit Barrel® can fully cook a brisket, without compromising neither taste nor tenderness, for amazing results. By being able to hang the brisket in center of the action, the meat will be smoked from all angles equally. It’s known as the 360º all-around heat dynamics technology. You may wonder how it is possible to create the same results without having to slow cook. It’s simply due to the patented technology and air circulation of our barrels. It took 29 prototypes to get it just right.
As for seasoning most tend to settle for kosher salt and black pepper but we challenge you to take the flavor experience up a notch with the best-selling Beef & Game Pit Rub which is specially formulated dry rub for a deep and delicious flavor.
1-2 16 lb. beef brisket(s), full packer
Pit Barrel Beef & Game Rub
½ cup beef broth/consommé, beer, water, or other wrapping juice
Light your Pit Barrel® according to the instructions.
Remove the brisket from the package, rinse gently with cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
Using the sharp Ultimate Chef’s Knife, trim all but ⅛ – ¼” of the hard white fat from all sides of the brisket. Carve out most of the two large nuggets of fat on the sides, being careful not to separate the two muscle groups (the point and flat). Finally, slice off about ½” of each of the long edges to remove any grey meat.
Tip: Cut off one corner of the thin end of the flat, across the grain, to serve as a slicing reference.
Lightly coat all sides of the brisket with olive oil, followed by a liberal coat of the Beef & Game Rub.
Insert one hook into the center of the thick pointed end of the brisket, leaving enough of the rod (U-shaped) end of the hook exposed to allow it to be hung on the rod, about 3 inches down. Hook the rod end of a second hook over the pointed end of the first, pull to apply tension, then insert the second hook through the meat until secure.
Hang the brisket from the rods in the center of the barrel, and secure the lid.
Cook approximately 3-4 hours, or until the center of the thickest part of the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 160-170º.
Remove the brisket from the Pit Barrel® to a large platter or sheet pan, remove the hooks, and wrap it fat-side-down in a double layer of heavy-duty foil, adding the broth/consommé, beer, water, or other wrapping juice before sealing the foil.
Tip: Wrap it as tightly as you can without piercing the foil.
Remove the rods from the Pit Barrel®, install the grill grate, and put the wrapped brisket on the grate with the sealed/crimp of the foil facing up.
Re-insert the Pit Barrel® rods (to control the ventilation), secure the lid, and continue cooking the brisket until it reaches an internal temperature of 200º, for about 1-2 hours. (shown using the ThermoWorks Thermapen®).
Remove the brisket from the cooker, and let rest for at least an hour either tented with foil or wrapped in a towel and placed in a cooler (without ice).
Tip: You can hold a cooked brisket in a cooler for up to 6 hours. The longer you hold it, the better the results.
Remove the brisket from the foil, reserving the foil liquid, and separate the point from the flat by slicing through the layer of fat between them. Remove any excess fat from each part of the brisket.
Slice the flat portion across the grain to ¼”, then cut the point into cubes. Then drizzle with some of the reserved foil liquid. Sprinkle the cut meat lightly with Beef & Game Pit Rub.
Brisket fat side up or down?
This is one of the most heavily debated topics within the barbecue community. Our answer is – just hang it in the middle of the smoke action for better results than either of the previous choices. Although, if you’re not a lucky owner of a vertical drum smoker or barrel grill you should cook your brisket fat side down for two main reasons. 1) Cooking fat side up will NOT “melt into the meat” as meat cannot absorb fat. Instead, it is going to wash away the seasoning which you obviously wouldn’t want. 2) Cooking fat side up may very likely leave you with a less than appetizing looking brisket. By cooking fat side down, you are able to produce a uniform bark that will look incredible for presentation.
What’s the resting time for brisket?
Do not be fooled by the “15 minutes” because you’ve already waited 16+ if you’re using the low and slow method. Instead, allow at least 90 minutes if not 2+ hours for a well-rested beef brisket. The main benefits are that it will improve the cuts texture and overall eating experience because it keeps the meat moist and improve the tenderness.