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What is Brisket?
Beef brisket is a cut of meat from the chest of the animal. The thick part of the beef brisket is called the, "point" and the thinner part is called the, "flat". The point often has more marbled fat and the thinner portion is more lean. Beef brisket is said to be a tough cut of meat, so preparation and cooking is key to getting a juicy and moist result.
How to pick the perfect Beef Brisket
When at the market, find a brisket with the most uniform fat. Look at the available cuts and check the white fat on one side of the meat. The fat layer should be uniform across the whole brisket. Stay away from a fat layer that tapers off to one end. This could result in uneven cooking and a dry end result. For a better value choose a brisket with a fat layer about ¼ to 1 inch thick. This helps to trap moisture and keep the brisket as moist as possible. Too much fat can raise the price of your brisket and hinder the ability of marinade or rub to penetrate the meat.
How to Cook Brisket
To Brine or not to Brine?
A dry brine seasons meat just like a wet brine, but it doesn't use liquid. Instead, a dry brine involves rubbing the salt and seasonings directly onto the meat followed by a rest in the refrigerator for a period (preferably overnight) before cooking.
Brining is up for debate in many smoking and cooking communities. Some argue that it has little effect on the outcome of the meat, while others swear that brining is the reason their meat comes out perfectly, regardless of cooking in a drum smoker, barrel grill, oven, or slow cooker.
Cooking and Internal Temperature
Hot and fast brisket is cooked approximately 3-4 hours, or until the center of the thickest part of the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 160-170º. Cooking at a temperature of around 300 degrees creates restaurant quality juicy brisket perfect for slicing.
Low and slow brisket is cooked for approximately 8-9 hours, or until the center of the thickest part of the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 160-170º. Cooked ar around 225 degrees, this method created a shreddable beef brisket perfect for many different kinds of meals like brisket sandwiches or even added to chili.
How to Smoke Brisket
- 1-2 16 lb. beef brisket(s), full packet
- Olive oil
- 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.
How to Cook Brisket in the Oven
Baked Beef Brisket Recipe
- One 3-5 lb Beef Brisket
- Pit Barrel Beef & Game Rub, All-Purpose Rub, or your favorite rub for beef.
- 2 cups barbeque sauce, vegetable broth, or beef broth (any prefered cooking liquid).
- If your brisket has a layer of fat, trim down to 1/4 of an inch. Add your rub to coat all sides of your brisket, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for overnight or about 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Add the brisket to a roasting pan and cover with aluminium foil or a lid, bake for about 3 hours.
- Take the brisket from the oven, turn it over, and baste with your prefered cooking liquid. Place back into the roasting pan and continue cooking for about 2 hours, or until the brisket if fork tender.
- Take brisket out of the oven and place on a cutting board. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.
Slow Cooker Brisket Recipe
Shredded Beef Brisket Recipe
- 3 lbs beef brisket
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Season your beef brisket with salt and pepper. You can also add any of your favorite rubs for additional flavor.
- Heat a medium cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Once the oil is smoking, brown the brisket until golden brown on all sides.
- Add the browned brisket to a slow cooker with the fat size facing up.
- Lower the heat of the cast iron skillet to medium low, add olive oil if necessary, and sauté the onions and garlic until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add to the slow cooker with the browned brisket.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, ketchup and chili powder until combined. Add the sauce to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low heat for about 9 hours, or until the brisket easily pulls apart with a fork.
- Add the brisket to a cutting board and slice the fat from the top. Shred the brisket with two forks. Add back to the slow cooker and cook for an additional hour.
- To serve, add to hot buns with crisp coleslaw or over mashed potatoes.