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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Smoking a Beef Brisket

There are a few things everyone should know how to do in my opinion. Be able to build a suitable fire, make a decent shelter, shoot straight and enjoy a good bourbon. But also you should know how to cook a beef brisket in your smoker. Today being on lock down I decided that to keep myself from going completely nuts by smoking a beef brisket in my Oklahoma Joe smoker. So I get the smoker out and in place in my shed out back, open all the windows, and doors and light her up with some charcoal and a nice piece of hickory, to make some quick heat. Now temp is the most important thing in a cooking a brisket, you want to cook it low and slow until it reaches 190 internal. Now 190 is a critical temp for your brisket, more than that and it crumbles, under that and it is tough to pull apart. I keep my smoker at 220-250 and for a large brisket or a couple of em you are talking a good 9-12 hours of slow cooking. I like to use lump cowboy charcoal it burns hot and clean, however Kingford has come out with a competition briquette that is a hot long burning fuel also, that I am using today in my smoker. So I get the smoker holding around 120 today and put in my two briskets, knowing that I will be enjoying a bit of bbq in this raging snow storm later today. A fist sized piece of hickory off to the side to make a light smoke and I am on my way.
Now let's talk meat. A brisket is one tough piece of meat for the novice BBQ, and I have to admit I have cooked a ton of em and my first ones were terrible, but now I usually wind up having a tasty piece of Q. First I go to my local meat market and look for a brisket that has a nice fat cap and is the size I need for my needs. Your meat should be well marbled and you should be able to fold it like a wallet, with min resistance, When I am in Sam's club people look at me like I am crazy folding briskets and looking thru the whole pile. But I am looking for one with just the right amt. of fat and uniform in thickness. A brisket 3 inches thick on one end and 1 1/2 on the other is not going to cook in the smoker  uniformly. I take that bad boy home and place it in the freezer for a good 40 min. Then taking a sharp knife I trim off the excess fat so my cap is a uniform 1/4 inch. If necessary I may have to place fat that I cut off in areas of my brisket top and place it in areas that had no fat, your heart doctor is buying a new boat at this point. I take and rub my seasoning all over my meat making sure I get it under any fat I have placed. I like a Taco seasoning packet, it has everything I want right in it and is cheap to buy. I now wrap my briskets and place them in the refrigerator over night. Now with all the salty spices your briskets will weep and run juice all over your wife will not be happy I speak from experience here, put them in a foil pan! In the morning set your briskets on the counter, light your smoker and while it is getting right let your meat set to room temp. Place your briskets in the coolest part of your smoker, and keep the temp between 220 and 250 degrees until the magic temp of 190 is reached. Now when I am cooking in competition I will place my finished briskets in the ice chest wrapped in a thermal bag to let them cool slowly and to set the meat. Slice this meat across the grain about 3/8 inch thick, place it on a good kaiser roll, with just a dollop of slaw and some Sweet bay Rays original BBQ sauce. I guarantee that you will like this meat and your friends will love your efforts once you get the hang of cooking Brisket.

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