Happy Monday folks!
Yup its a new week in a new year, and I have a new recipe for you. I have been smoking pork, chicken, and beef plus a few vegetables all 2013, and I figured it was time to try a brisket to end 2013. I have NEVER smoked/cooked a brisket and to be truthful it kind of scared me to try it. When you look up methods for smoking the fundamental thing the comes up is the amount of time it takes to smoke one, any where from 1 hour to 2 hours per pound or until the internal temp is between 185° to 200° (and we always cook to temperature). Having said all that it was an easy cook….MUCH easier than I thought it would be.
The issues with smoking a brisket are the size/weight of the brisket. I am smoking on a Brinkman Grill and Smoker so the grill space is around 15 inches in diameter. What ever I am smoking must fit in that amount of area. If you are using a different unit, measure your grill diameter and go accordingly.
The next issue is holding temperature, I have said before that temperature fluctuations cause longer cook times as well as over done meat in some cases. A good temperature gauge is a must to keep this under control. Also the resistance to having a look see when ever you feel like it. If your looking, you’re not cooking! The last part of this is choosing the right charcoal for the cook. Lately I have been experimenting with the lump coal type of Charcoal. I like it and for some reason I use less and it seems to last longer in the fire bowl. It does leave less ash behind, which helps in air circulation, and I was told that was because there are no binding agents in lump charcoal like there are in briquettes. Now I will always have both on hand because in some cases it’s easier for me to use briquettes as add in charcoal instead of the lump charcoal.
My last issue was what was I going to do to get this big hunk of meat ready to smoke. I looked for about a week at different suggestions and methods of either marinading or dry rubbing the brisket. I did both after giving it a lot of thought. The reason I came to the decision was that this cut of beef is very tough which makes it such a good candidate for smoking. The long “low and slow” cooking time gives the heat time to breakdown the fibers, fat and convert the collegian in the meat to gelatin. This process makes the meat tender and tasty.
You can read more on this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisket
I also looked at and modified this recipe for the marinade and the dry rub. I will go into the changes I made in a few minutes.
I liked the thoughtfulness of this writeup in that these folks wanted to give me as much useable data as they could in deciding which method I was going to use. My plan is to do another cook some time late in March or April that time using a different method just to see what the results are.
So, let’s get started.
First I have to tell you that this was a 2 day process to cook this Bad Boy so I suggest you allow time to do this. The marinade was done on Saturday morning the dry rub was applied LATE on Saturday night. I started it on the smoker at 8 am Sunday morning. BTW, if your brisket was frozen allow plenty of time for it to fully thaw (in the refrigerator of course).
I suggest you use a brining/cooking bag for a large turkey to place the meat in. Get the larger size so that you will have plenty of room for the marinade and the meat. If you want to inject the marinade into the meat you will need an injector if you do not have one. I did not inject this one but I may on the next one to see if it helps tenderize the meat more.
I smoked a 6.7 lb brisket. There are larger ones out there, but this fit on the grill.
First I modified the marinade mentioned in that article.
- 1 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
- 1 cup Cola (I am from Atlanta GA so this is COKE)
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 6 cloves of Garlic crushed and minced (a little Over Kill I know)
- ½ cup of Dark Brown Sugar.
Combine all the ingredients and whisk together till full blended. Set aside and get the brisket ready.
I am going to assume you have made sure that the cut of meat you are going to smoke will fit on the grill 🙂 if not this is a good time to check it because if it is too big your going to have to cut it to fit.
Leave most of the fat cap intact but trim some of the side and a little of the depth off. The cut I used had about ½ inch of fat so I took very little off. I perforated the brisket on both sides even though the marinade will not penetrate the fat cap well. (You do not have to do this if you plan to inject the marinade into the meat you would inject the marinade into the brisket then place it in the bag and cover with the remaining marinade.) I then placed the brisket in the brining bag and added the marinade, pressed out as much of the air as possible and made sure that the brisket was covered in marinade. I then placed it in the refrigerator over night (12 hours).
You can marinade it for 4 hours if you want, I would not plan on less time.
About half way through the process I turned the bag over to be sure both side got the best contact. Make sure you have the bag in a flat pan large enough to catch any spills so your not cleaning gross stuff out of it while the meat is on the smoker.
While the marinade is doing it’s work you can put together the dry rub and be ready for the next step, the dry rub.
After your satisfied with your marinade time remove the brisket and get the rub on it.
Dark brown sugar is the base of the dry ingredients to impart that sweet flavor and to form the crust that all smoked meats have.
A side note here: when you are smoking meat you are using a indirect heating method, this means that the fire/hot coals are NEVER near enough to the meat to burn it. The dark “crust” that you see is called BARK (as in tree bark not dog bark). It is sought after on certain types of BBQ.
The dark brown sugar is also the medium by which you blend the other spices to aid in their holding together.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp powdered ginger
1/2 Medium onion minced
5 garlic cloves thin sliced
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 Tbsp crushed marjoram leaves
1 Tbsp Ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp coarse black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. I rubbed the brisket down with canola oil to give the rub something to stick to. Since the fat cap will NOT allow the rub to penetrate I just put it on the exposed meat side. Apply liberal amounts of the rub and “massage” it into the meat, then wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator for the remainder of the evening till it was time to put it on the smoker.
The next morning I removed the brisket to the counter and took off the plastic wrap. While it was “resting” I went out and started the smoker. I used Royal Oak lump charcoal and started it with the electric starter. Once the coals were turning gray I assembled the smoker with water in the pan and placed the grill probe from the Maverick ET732 on the lower grate since that was the grate is planned to use. I monitored the temp as it rose past 350° and then started to settle back to around 225°. when it reached that temp I added 4 medium apple wood chunks from my water tray where they were soaking and a hand full of oak chips that were dry. When the blue smoke started to get thick I put the brisket on fat cap down, with the food probe in the thicker part way from the fat layer and covered the smoker. The smoker kept it’s temp between 235° and 220° for the most part and when it dipped I would add a hand full of lump charcoal. That worked out to be about ever 45 minuets to an hour. When the blue smoke got thin I would add a chunk of wet apple wood and a hand full of oak. I did this for the first 4 hours of the cook, after the 4th hour I stopped adding in oak wood and stayed with apple till the 7th hour of the cook. At the 7th hour the meat temp was at 170 and had stalled for about 2 hours. I then removed the brisket and wrapped the it in HEAVY duty Aluminum foil and put it back on the smoker. At this time I stopped putting apple wood in the smoker because the foil would not allow it to penetrate and why waste good wood (;.
The brisket stayed on the smoker another 3 hours until it reached 200° internal temp, at that point I took it off the smoker and let it rest in the above stove microwave still wrapped in foil and covered with a heavy bath towel for 30 minutes before slicing. (NO, I did not turn on the microwave while it was in there….aluminum foil and microwaves are not friends).
As I said earlier this is a long process and that is intimidating. So like the website I directed you to I am going to give an outline of how this went.
Thursday night remove the brisket that is sealed in a plastic shrink bag from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw.
Friday night check for thawing and placed in a water bath still in plastic shrink until Saturday morning.
Saturday at 8am remove brisket from plastic wrap Mix the marinade. Put brisket in the Turkey sized Cooking bag and placed in the refrigerator at around 9am. At around 3pm turned the brisket and “sloshed” it around to coat it and placed it back in the refrigerator where it stayed till around 9pm.
Saturday 9pm removed the brisket and allowed it to drain for about 10 minutes. Coated the brisket in canola oil and liberally applied the rub to the meat side (no rub on the fat cap)and wrapped it in plastic wrap making sure that the package was full sealed,then returned the brisket to the refrigerator on a tray to catch any marinade leakage.
Sunday at 8am removed the brisket and unwrapped it. Set the smoker up and brought it up to stable temperature added the wood and set the brisket on the lowest grill over the filled water pan. Spent the day watching the brisket and doing a few odd jobs. At 4pm I wrapped the brisket and returned it to the grill. I maintained the temp at 225°, then allowed the temperature to drop from 6pm till 7 pm. The brisket had reached 200°, so I removed it from the smoker left it in the foil and placed it in the microwave wrapped in a large towel for another 30 minutes. The rest is history……made great sandwiches too!
So there you go. Takes a long time to cook it, you could do this in the oven for about the same amount of time, you would just miss out on the smokey taste. Give it a try and let me know what happens.
Until next week…take care!