Smoking a brisket may seem intimidating for many people, as brisket is one of the temperamental cuts of meat around. There is no one simple answer to the question of how to smoke a brisket. Each step from trimming, rubbing, cooking, to slicing can be tricky. But we have compiled all the vital information you need to conquer your first brisket. When prepared correctly on a Z Grills pellet grill, a smoked brisket is tender, juicy, and irresistible.
- Part 1. Ingredients of Smoked Brisket
- Part 2. What is Brisket?
- Part 3. How to Trim Brisket
- Part 4. Smoked Brisket Rub & Injections
- Part 5. Tips for the Best Smoked Brisket
- Part 6. Grill a Brisket Fat Side Up or Down?
- Part 7. What Temperature Should You Smoke a Brisket in a Pellet Smoker?
- Part 8. How Long to Smoke a Brisket
- Part 9. How to Tell When the Brisket Is Done
- Part 10. How to Cook a Brisket on a Pellet Grill
- Part 11. How to Slice
Part 1. Ingredients of Smoked Brisket
- 1 lb brisket
- 1 1/3 cup brisket rub
- 2 Tablespoons coarse Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
- Beef broth
- Apple cider vinegar
Part 2. What Is Brisket?
First of all, brisket is a tough piece of meat, but when you smoke it in the right, it becomes a slab of beef that yields tender meat and melt-easily in-the-mouth.
The brisket is located in the Pectoral muscles of cows, also known as the chest region. Unlike other animals, the cow uses this muscle a lot, so a perfect technique is needed to break down the connective tissue. The brisket is comprised of two muscles: The Point and the Flat.
The Point: The Point is fatter and is the most well the flavored end of the brisket. The word burnt end originated from this spot. The word burnt end came from ends of slices of meat which are not burnt – they're just placed on smoked to give them look burnt.
The flat: The flat is the bony area of the brisket. It lays below the slim and bony area of the Pectoral muscles of a cow and the brisket slices are derived from this Point.
When shopping for brisket at the market, you will notice different sizes and categories to choose from. They often come trimmed as just the flat. It's rare to find that part of the market. If you do, get a few.
Part 3. How to Trim Brisket
Fatty areas in meat are always enveloped with high nutrient and flavor, but the whole Brisket is made up of marbled fat. The added cap of fat is not needed. Instead, you'll want to remove the excess so the rub you apply will bark up next to the meat's soft areas. The Point listed below will walk you through how to trim a brisket.
There are a few tools that we find extremely helpful when trimming a brisket. Granted, you don't need to rush and grab these items before trimming your Brisket, but we can guarantee you'll find the trimming process easier with these tools.
Tools needed for trimming brisket:
- Wooden cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Powder-free nitrile gloves
- Fillet knife
- Trash bowl
- Step 1: Pick your brisket.
- Step 2: Give it a rinse & choose your knife.
- Step 3: Plan your cuts.
- Step 4: Start trimming.
- Step 5: Remove all the fat on the surface.
- Step 6: Cut out the point end fat.
- Step 7: Pause to admire your work.
- Step 8: Turn & repeat.
- Step 9: Get ready to season your brisket.
- Step 10: Discard excess fat.
Part 4. Smoked Brisket Rub & Injections
Well, people's tastes vary; some like injecting their meat for tenderness; others prefer to keep the meat "au naturel." You can go either way, but we recommend trying an injection. Through this, you'll taste the difference. If you want to start simple, inject the Brisket with beef broth.
If you want to do what the outdoor seasoned chef does, combine 1 cup of beef broth and two tablespoons of phosphates. The major work of the phosphates is to absorb the moisture. You can also add some rub to your broth if the grains can fit perfectly into your injector.
What's an injector?
It is an oversized needle that you can fill with liquid. To fill up the tube, you'll have to stick the needle in the cup and pull up the plunger to fill the tubes with the fluid. Then, pierce the brisket meat with the needle-like object and slowly push down on the plunger to inject broth into the Brisket. Continue doing this on every inch of the meat, using up most, if not all, of the broth. Next, rub your favorite BBQ all over your meat. After you've injected your Brisket and rubbed it all over, leave the meat to rest for 7-12 hours in the fridge covered with wraps. This allows all of that flavor you just added" inside and outside" to marry up.
Part 5. Tips for the Best Smoked Brisket
Do you want to have the upper hand in brisket smoking? If yes, check out these pro tips, which are listed below:
1. Mix your spices in advance. Mix your salt, garlic, and pepper in a spice shaker container. Shake the spices out while seasoning about two feet above your Brisket. This will create an even layer of salt, garlic, and pepper across the entire surface of your Brisket.
2. Allow it to rest! This is an important feature, and we highly recommend allowing it to rest for more than two hours. You can place it in the butcher paper and set it on a baking sheet. Suppose you want it to rest for more than two hours, that is no problem! Wrap it in a towel and set it in a cooler.
Part 6. Grill a Brisket Fat Side Up or Down?
One of the most asked questions is whether to cook a fat-side down or brisket fat-side up. We are here to answer the question once and for all: Cook brisket fat-side DOWN. Our reasons are listed below:
1. Water and Oil don't mix in BBQ, but Brisket has both — Water is located in the red meat and oil in the fat cap. If cooked side up, the fat will not keep the Brisket moist.
2. Besides not braising the Brisket, cooking fat-side up possess some risk: The melted fat would drip down the meat, potentially washing the seasoning in the cause of the process.
3. Cooking or smoking of brisket fat-side up leads to poor presentation. While being smoked fat side down, the presentation side is on the grill grates, preventing a uniform bark formation. One of the advantages of cooking brisket fat-side down? It is that it offers the best brisket presentation, formation of a uniform bark, and does not run the risk of fat melting and washing away seasoning.
Part 7. What Temperature Should You Smoke a Brisket in a Pellet Smoker?
The ideal temperature of a well-smoked brisket is 195 °F, but remember that the Brisket's internal temp will increase by 10 degrees even when you stop the pellet grill smoker. The last thing you want is to overcook your Brisket, which results in dry and elastic meat.
Part 8. How Long to Smoke a Brisket
The main goal for throwing down a badass brisket is creating ultimate texture and flavor. The cooking process is the most important aspect of ensuring your meat delivers on both. Because animal varies, there's no exact system for cutting.
Cook times are going to depend on the size of the cut. Because briskets can weigh between 11 and 22 pounds, times can range from 7 to 15 hours depending on cook temperature and the size.
Part 9. How to Tell When the Brisket Is Done
How will I know the brisket is done? Insert your probe thermometer. The probe thermometer will probably read between 200 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit once your Brisket has reached that level. Allow the meat rest for some hours.
It's best is to rely on a thermometer because the physical look can deceive you if this is your first smoked Brisket. Smoked Brisket gets its signature bark from the reaction, which explains how seared meat gets its taste and look. When you burn meat at high temperatures, the sugars in the meat caramelize within some minutes. Over time, the same thing happens when you smoke your brisket at low temperatures.
Simply put, the sugars in the meat to form a crust in your spice rub. Only some rubric elements (salt) will penetrate the surface of the meat and take some of the flavors with it.
Most of the rub will remain on the outermost part and infuse with the layers forming there. When the spices and caramelizing layers contact the smoke, the bark begins to turn a very dark color.
Part 10. How to Cook a Brisket on a Pellet Grill
1. Remove the excess fat from the brisket.
2. Inject the spice into the brisket, rub it with brisket rub, cover and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Preheat and set the pellet grill smoker to 225 °F with your favorite wood pellets.
4. Smoke fat-side-down, spritzing with apple cider vinegar every one hour until the thermometer placed in the meat reads 165 °F. In addition, make sure the pellet grill smoker maintains a steady temperature.
5. Spray the brisket one more time, and tightly wrap it in a foil.
6. Continue smoking until the thermometer placed in the meat reads 203 °F.
7. Wrap in another piece of foil and a towel and place it in a cooler for at least three hours.
8. Slice and serve.
Part 11. How to Slice
To have the best mouthfeel and tenderness, Brisket should be sliced against the grain; otherwise, the smoked Brisket will be chewy.
The Point should be sliced and trimmed into one-fourth pieces or about a pen or pencil width. The miscut pieces can be used to make the burnt ends. Keep in mind that the flat grain will be running in a different direction, the grain of the Point.