Brisket is not a cut of meat that’s known to be tender, so a lot of people avoid it. This cut of meat comes from the breast of an animal. Often, mutton brisket is turned into mincemeat and cow brisket is a popular choice for barbecues. A lot of people don’t know how to correctly cook a brisket, though, so they end up with tough meat.
When it comes to barbecues, you usually want to get the meat on and off in record time, but this approach will not work for a brisket. To get the best results for this cut of meat, you need to have patience. A lot of patience. Smoking a brisket properly can take a long time, but the end result will be worth every minute.
Why Should You Smoke A Brisket?
Smoking your brisket will get you the best results. It is the best way to make sure that you end up with meat that is tender and succulent, rather than tough and chewy.
When you smoke a brisket, moisture is added to the meat. This is because when you smoke it and place it with the fat side up, the fat renders and makes its way down the meat. Not to mention, you will get that incredible flavor from the smoking process, so you can enjoy the rich flavors.
Other Uses Of Brisket
Brisket it popular for barbecuing and smoking, but also for Jewish pot roast and corned beef. Other popular dishes that brisket is usually used for includes Italian bollito maestro, Romanian pastrami and an English pot roast.
Slow-cooking brisket is also popular, since it comes out very tender and juicy. The slow-cooked brisket can be used in stews and soups, so it can be a perfect dish for a cold day.
The Ideal Temperature To Smoke A Brisket
According to many pros in the field, 250 °Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature when it comes to smoking brisket. When you smoke at 250 degrees, the brisket will cook faster than at 225 degrees, but there is still enough time for it to become tender. If you were to smoke a brisket at a higher temperature, it would not be as tender or smoky.
Smoking brisket at 250 °Fahrenheit is also the best temperature if you want to render fat. The fat cap on the meat will melt and drip down onto the rest of the brisket. At this temperature, the fat is the right consistency to further season the brisket, added some more amazing flavors.
Weighing Your Brisket
The weight of your brisket is more important than you might initially think if you are unfamiliar with smoking or grilling your food. In order to determine how long you need to smoke your brisket for, you need to know how much it weighs.
Once you have a weight, you can then calculate how long it will have to smoke for. On average, a whole packer brisket will weight anywhere between 12 and 14 pounds, while the flat weighs between 6 and 10 pounds.
The flat is much easier to find and can be found in most supermarkets, so it is probably the easiest to work with if you are in search for brisket. If you decide to separate the point and flat, you will most likely end up with between 5 and 7 pounds of beef.
It is worth pointing out that when you buy a whole packer brisket, it will be untrimmed, so when you cut away excess far it will weigh less. If you decide to trim your brisket, make sure to leave around ¼ an inch of the fat cap so that the fat can render and make the cut more flavorful.
How To Smoke Brisket Perfectly
So, we already know that 250 °Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature to smoke your brisket, but what now? You need to weigh your brisket and figure out how long it will take to smoke properly. One pound of brisket will cook in one to one and a half hours.
If you do the math, a brisket that weights 10 pounds will take anywhere between 10 and 15 hours to be cooked properly. You can leave your brisket in the smoker overnight, though. If you do this, you need to be sure to check it after seven or eight hours to make sure that everything is going well.
Assuming your brisket weighs 10 pounds, it will be smoking for up to 15 hours. While it is cooking, though, you always need to keep track of the smoker temperature. The temperature will not stay the same throughout the cooking process, so if you want your brisket cooking to perfection, make sure that there is enough fuel for the smoker to keep going.
Chilly weather will also have an effect on the temperature, making it drop and mess with the cooking time. If you live somewhere that is windy or the weather is temperamental, try putting the smoker in a sheltered area so that it isn’t affected as much. You could even go so far as to buy a cover for your smoker, that way it would be easier to use even in the winter months.
If it seems like your smoker is having a difficult time maintaining the temperature you set it at regularly, I have bad news for you. Chances are the device is poorly made, and there is nothing you can really do to fix it unless you have an excellent understanding of the mechanisms and design. Chances are, it is more worthwhile to invest in something that is higher quality.
Remember To Check The Internal Temperature
Even if you weigh your brisket so that you can time the cooking process, it might not always be correct. Every brisket will cook at its own pace, and environmental facts play a big part in the differences. Because of this, it is never possible to get an exact cooking time for your brisket or anything else when you are smoking it.
To save you the pain of either over or under cooking it, always check the internal temperature of the brisket. Not every smoker has an inbuilt temperature probe, so this is something to look out for.
If it has not got one, be sure to visit your nearest convenience store as they should have done for an affordable price. Once you have your temperature probe, it is a good idea to check the internal temperature of the brisket no more than once an hour after a few hours.
If you are smoking your brisket overnight, you should choose a larger cut, like a whole packer, so that it takes longer to cook. Briskets between 10 and 16 pounds will do well overnight, as long as you check their internal temperature after around eight hours.
When the brisket reaches a temperature between 180 and 200 °Fahrenheit, it is considered to be done. It is a good idea to take the meat out of the smoker when it reaches 195 °Fahrenheit since it will keep cooking while it is resting.
In general, we consider the best temperature for meat’s final temperature to be 210 °Fahrenheit, so it is imperative to remove the meat from the smoker before it reaches that temperature.
Wrapping Your Brisket
While it is true that wrapping your brisket, or anything else, in aluminum foil will speed up the cooking process, it is not something that is always recommended. At some point in the smoking process your brisket will reach a stall point, a temperature of around 150 °Fahrenheit, and it will stay at that temperature for hours.
Since this does happen, it is always best to wait until the internal temperature of the brisket plateaus. Then you can take it off the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil until it has finished cooking a reached the correct internal temperature, if you wish to.
If you do want to foil your meat, use a double layer so that no moisture or heat can escape, keeping the brisket tender and juicy. You can even add a small amount of liquid with the meat. Great options for these would be things like water, apple juice or even beer.
The temperature should quickly begin to rise again once you have put your brisket back in the smoker. Unfortunately, a common problem that many people experience when using foil is that the bark turns soggy.
To avoid this problem, take the meat out of the foil wrapping for the last hour of cooking. That way, you should be able to get rid of the sogginess and get the crunch back.
It is better to wait for the stall period to be over naturally when it comes to smoking. When you wrap your brisket in foil, you aren’t smoking it anymore. Instead, you are braising it.
While there isn’t anything wrong with braising your meat and the flavor shouldn’t be affected, it does make the process feel inauthentic. If you plan ahead properly, you can avoid having to wrap your brisket in the first place.
Brisket can be delicious if cooked correctly. You need to have patience in order to get the best result, and constantly keep an eye out on things like the temperature of the brisket itself and the smoker. However, if you follow the above guidelines, you will get that perfect brisket you want. Now that you know everything you need to, go out and smoke that meat.