Saturday, June 02, 2012

BBQ Brisket Technique

Apologies to cat lovers, but just like that old saying "there's more than one way to skin a cat", there are several ways to cook a brisket.

  • Hot and fast
  • Low and slow
  • Fat side down
  • Fat side up
  • With foil
  • Without foil
  • Baste
  • No-baste
  • With injection
  • Without injection
I've experimented with all the techniques through the years, but during a Saturday afternoon practice cook using my Weber Smokey Mountain several years ago I stumbled on a hybrid method that combines the best of all those options.

1. Start the brisket fat side up and cook for 3 hours
2. Spritz with apple juice every 90 minutes to promote bark formation (I prefer Martinelli's)
3. Flip the brisket to fat side down and cook for 2 hours
4. Wrap in foil when brisket reaches 165 degrees (or after 5 hours)
5. Cook brisket to 194 degrees measured in the middle of the flat
6. Allow brisket to "rest" inside an Igloo cooler wrapped in towels for at least 2 hours (4 hours is even better)
7. Slice brisket with an electric knife (I use a Black and Decker)
8. Lightly sauce each brisket slice with Blues Hog BBQ Sauce before serving
9. Vacuum seal the  "extra" brisket slices and freeze to eat later when you get the craving

15 lb packer brisket fat side up

15 lb packer brisket fat side down

This technique works very well on my old Weber Smokey Mountain. It's won several dollars in bbq contests and it's won the hearts of family, neighbors, and co-workers for the past 10 years. This exact technique might not work the same way on an offset smoker, Big Green Egg, pellet smoker, etc. but perhaps through my trial and error experimentation you will find a golden nugget you like to assist with your brisket cooking results.

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Robbie said...

I have been smoking chicken, pork, and ribs for the last 4 years. I think this is the year I graduate to beef brisket. This method is similar to the way I like to smoke my pork butts. Do you have any pictures of your finished sliced brisket?

The BBQ Guy said...


I have several pictures on the blog. If you go to the search box and type in brisket, several will come up. Here's a link to one of my best pictures:

You will find many fine brisket pictures on The Hog Blog. Here's a link to one of his brisket posts:

Chris said...

I've been craving brisket for weeks. I'm going to have to break down and buy a packer.

The BBQ Guy said...

It sure does pay to shop around. A few weeks ago I needed a brisket on short notice and ended up paying $80 for one (14 lbs) and besides that ridiculous price, it was likely a "second". I've found a new source for USDA select graded briskets and the results were much, much better. But even better than that...I got the better brisket for $50 (15 lbs).

Anonymous said...

What was the smoker temperature?

John said...

Great post! Do you keep the same cooking temp throughout the cook? I'm a novice brisket smoker, but brisket seems much more sensitive to harder cooking than a pork shoulder or ribs. Just wondering what temp you use. Thanks!

The BBQ Guy said...

I cook Brisket at 210 - 225 degrees measured with a turkey fryer thermometer inserted through the top vent of the WSM.

Woodworkin' & Good Eats said...

The price of brisket is outrageous, it wasn't long ago when it was one of the cheapest cuts of meat your money could buy. I guess it is a case of supply and demand. I remember buying nice brisket for a dollar a pound and only about ten or twelve years ago. Hey, Come on over and check out my latest post. (Something I made for my granddaughter) I'm a little bit proud of it. Steve :)

Terrible Tom said...

I smoke my brisket with my rub about 6 hours until it his 160 degrees. I put it in an aluminum pan with 1/2 inch of water. Keep of cooking until internal temp hits 195. Remove brisket and refrigerate overnight or until cool. and keep and cool the liquid in the pan which is a nice au jus once cool skim the fat from the aujus. I slice the brisket on a meat slicer and layer in an aluminum pan add the au jus cover and heat back to min 165. The brisket turns our tender moist and great!

Best BBQ in LA said...

Thats a very nice recipe. The end result looks great and yummy and tasty.