Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to BBQ Brisket

Brisket has become one of my favorite foods to barbecue. A pencil width slice of properly cooked brisket lightly coated with some Blues Hog BBQ Sauce is hard to beat.

I prefer to cook briskets in my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I receive quite a few e-mails asking for help with barbecue brisket and thought I'd share some questions I received today.

Do you cook brisket with direct or indirect heat?
I use indirect heat and cook the brisket slowly at a temperature of 225-250 degrees.

Do you cook with fat cap up or fat cap down?
I begin cooking the brisket fat cap up for the first cooking segment. I don't flip until the brisket reaches 130 degrees or so. That's the point when the bark starts to harden a little bit. Then I flip it to fat side down. I used to skip this part but wanted a little more bark and found that this method will promote more bark formation.

Do you use foil?
I wrap in foil when the internal brisket temp is 165 degrees or if it's been cooking for at least 5 hours. Most of my briskets are completely done in 8 hours or so. I cook to an internal temp of 196-198 degrees and hold them in an Igloo cooler for a few hours to "rest" before slicing.

I hope this helps.


Chris said...

With all of the recent cheating allegations in cycling, baseball, and other sports, it dawns on me that I think of BBQ as a relative "pure" recreation/sport.

As an insider, Brian, I'd love to see a post on your thoughts on the "ethics of BBQ"(specifically competition)? Have you ever seen cheating? What are ways people cheat? Would us non-competitors be surprised?

Nickname unavailable said...

Interesting topic, considering i'm cooking a brisket as i type. Usually my briskets get done around 10 hours; but this particular one, simply won't give up the cold. Its been on for 12 hours, and just below 170.

Terry (aka) Big Daddy said...

I cook my brisket for 14 to 16 hours. I don't foil them until they reach 185 degrees.

I spray them with apple cider vinegar and apple jucie after 8 hours, and every hour after.

At a 185 they come off and doubled foiled for a couple of hours in the cooler.

I have taken a few to 200 and they were dry. I like 185 better.


Michael said...

My wife won't let me foil it, and I'm still up in the air

There is something to be said about the trade off between having the good, solid bark around meat vs damp bark with a moister cut

The BBQ Guy said...

I've never cooked a brisket without foil entirely. I learned to foil from the beginning. I've found that the moist bark will firm up a lot by loosening the foil for a few minutes near the very end of the cook.

Justin said...

There is definitely a niche to BBQing brisket properly. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

Ryan said...

I love brisket. Do you have a prefered smoker or bbq?

The BBQ Guy said...

I've cooked some excellent brisket on my Backwoods Smoker and on my Weber Smokey Mountain. It's more technique used, than smoker used most of the time.

Weldon Gillentine said...

I have recently started foiling. It tends to help with the lesser cuts of brisket. In my opinion, foil is a tool, not cheating. If foil is cheating, then what about using a gravity fed charcoal smoker with a bbq guru air control unit, hmmmmm. Like I said....a tool!

Good write-up Brian