Lots of people keep asking about how I do my smoked beef brisket. First off, I apologize for the lack of photos. I typically do this for parties, etc. and when it is time to slice, I have a cocktail in my hand and forget about taking pics. And we always run out. So while the first part if very well documented, the slicing and eating is not.
I get about a 16-20lb brisket from Apollo Meats. Steve there will trim if for you so you don’t have to worry about that part. I honestly have no idea if he charges for that, and I don’t care. I order a brisket, go and pay for it and have never asked the details. I know that the small price I pay for that slab of wonderful goodness is the right price.
The night before I smoke it – I prep it. I have tried a ton of different things and I keep coming back to this. I use a jar of spicy horseradish mustard – used to be from Publix, but this one came from Winn Dixie and the next ones will too 🙂
I cover the whole brisket with mustard. Then I coat that with my pork and rib rub concoction that always seems to change. Then I grind black pepper of it.
I used those disposable hotel pans that I buy in bulk from Gordons food service and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put back in the fridge. I try to time it so it it “marinates” for about 12 hours.
Now the hard part for most people. Getting up to start the smoker.
I am typically doing this for a dinner and my timing is about 14 hours for a Brisket of this size. So for a 6:30 pm slicing, you need to start smoking at 2:30AM.
For my smoker – I used to use a vertical that would fit the whole 20 inch hotel pan and I really miss that – I need to find a pan that will fit on the BGE or my Vision Kamado. I will describe the Kamado style method here.
I fill the Kamado with lump charcoal – I used to fuss with building a “volcano” – screw that – I just dump a ton of charcoal in. I then auger down in the center and create a little tunnel and put in a fire starter and light it. I put the vents on full open and let it sit for about 5 minutes so there is some “coaling” in the tunnel and then close the lid for another 10 min. I then put on some wet orange wood and some wet other wood – like hickory or mesquite. 4 times orange to the other. I think put a 1/4 hotel pan of water on the grate and on then on my upper grate I put the brisket – fat side up. This happens when the smoker if about 180 and climbing. I let it get to about 325 and then I choke it down and set the alarms on the maverick so it settles in between 225 and 250. This take about 1.5 hours total and for some people that is pure hell – not for me as I am normally up and starting my day at 3am.
I will tell you this – there are times when I cheat. If it is super windy – like Yesterday – I will start the Kamado – and put the brisket in the gas smoker to start it. Once the Kamado is under control – I move it from the gas smoker and put it on the Kamado. If you don’t have a remote Maverick or similar – just go buy one – best $70-80 bucks you can spend. Hell a few cigars cost that much. You can be at your desk catching up on fb and know exactly where your temp is.
With the temp sitting at 225-250 – take a nap – I check the water pan and top off as needed about 8am and that is when I put in the meat thermometer. At some point – and it always seems to vary – the temp will stall on the meat. Meaning the temp on the brisket will be raising steadily a degree of two every 15 min or so and then suddenly for 30 min it will not move. This temp always seems to vary for me – sometimes around 150 – sometimes around 160. When it stalls I wrap it. This is a part where I really really really wish I still had that old vertical that fit the pan. (note to self – search ebay for a hotel pan that will fit perfectly on the Kamado) With the pan, all I had to do was wrap the whole pan tightly in foil. Without the pan, you have to setup foil, weight it down to keep from flopping in the wind. Grab your 20lbs of beautiful meat and put it on the foil.
Before I finish wrapping it up – I cover that brisket with brown sugar.
Then I wrap that sucker up good. I want those juices for later, so I do a few criss cross patterns of foil to make sure it does not leak. I put it back on and forget about it until 3 hours before I serve. I used to use a thermometer but I simply stopped when I could not fit the pan in the smoker. So I 3:30pm – I put it off. I hold the foil wrapped bag above a hotel pan and stick a fork in the foil so all the juices run into the pan – I set that aside. At this point I cut off the burnt end typically about 4 inches or so. I cut those into strips and wrap them in bacon and put them back on the grill and open the vents so the temp climbs to about 350. The bacon wrapped burnt ends go in a 1/2 pan that is COATED in pam with a pin prick in it so that the bacon grease DRIPS out and does not flood the burnt ends, but does allow for a bit of bacon juice goodness in the pan. Those will take about 2.5 hours and make a great toothpick app.
The brisket gets rewrapped – at this time, it will barely fit in a half pan. I wrap the whole thing in foil -and I wrap the juice portion in foil and put on a normal grill with 1 burner on low on the other end. Or you can wrap it all up in a few towels and put in a dry cooler – but mine are full too many times when I am doing this so I just create a warmer rack on the gas grill as that is about the only that that grill is good for 🙂
Apps start when the bacon is crispy on the burnt ends. Then I slice/disintegrate the brisket and serve it up. Mostly it just crumbles into a pile of moist deliciousness.
Hope this helps – any questions, just ask.