Monday, September 15, 2008

Smoked Brisket

My husband finally talked me into a Traeger smoker this summer, and the very first thing he smoked was a beautiful brisket. He is my guest blogger today, here is John!

There are many BBQ sites that tell you how to properly prepare a brisket and sometimes it comes down to a matter of opinion on many things; fat side up/down, cooking temp, final cooking process, eat it warm/cold, and so on. Realizing there is no right or wrong I encourage you to boldly try a recipe and develop your own family favorite. What follows is a version of ours.

Did you know that when shopping for a brisket you should pick one (if you can) with white fat instead of yellow? The white means that the beast ended its life with a grass diet instead of grain. The grass diet is said to have better meat flavors.

Starting with a cryovac'd brisket from Cash&Carry (one of the few locals that carries full briskets), place the slab fat side up on the counter and begin shaving off the excess fat. Leave about 1/8" to 1/4" layer, no more. Next, create the following mixture for an overnight marinade:

1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Marinate for at least 8 hours in the fridge in an airtight container. I used a vacuum sealed bag and layed it in a large casserole in case of leaks. Turn once during the night. Overall, this doesn't do much to add huge amounts of flavoring deep into the meat, just the outer 1/8" or so but it's worth it.

Late a.m. the next day, remove the brisket from the marinade and dust both sides with this:

1/4 cup paprika
4 tablespoons garlic powder
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons onion salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Let the meat come up to room temp while you prepare your smoker. The internal temperature that I go for is 180-205. Yes, this seems high for beef but with this cut, this is what you want for the gelatin to release and get you a good juicy, tender result. I set the smoker on a setting that averages about 220 degrees. My smoker is "indirect" heat, not an offset smoker so I have to be careful about drying things out. For the smoke source I used mostly Hickory with some Mesquite. Note: sweeter woods like Alder, Pecan, Cherry, Apple, Maple go better with fish and foul. Hickory and Mesquite are best for red meats.

Starting out, place the brisket fat side up for at least the first four hours. I keep a temperature probe (oven safe tethered probe) in the thickest part of the slab. Closely monitor the temperature of your smoker and the meat. Put some good quality apple juice in a clean spray bottle, check the brisket every two hours and mist heavily. I got to the 12th hour of smoking and dinner time was looming (very late dinner, I should have started MUCH earlier) so I had to ramp the cooking temp to 325 for an hour to reach 190 on the meat. Remove from the grill, wrap in foil immediately and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil, add a little of your favorite bbq sauce to give a bit of zing, enjoy.


Pam said...

Nicely done John! The marinade sounds really good.

Cheryl said...

That sounds wonderful. (Should I mention I found a typo??? lol I am such a spelling Nazi...)

Jan said...

That brisket looks absolutely perfect. Great job, John.

MaryBeth said...

Good job John, there is nothing better than a great brisket. It looks awesome.

Raquel said...

Great brisket! Lovin' the instructions! Much love, Raquel XO

Will said...

Now I am jealous!! It is hard to get the local grocery store to keep brisket that isn't pre-packaged and seasoned on the shelves. This looks fantastic and makes me miss Texas oh so much. Keep up the great work!

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