Brisket - Step by Step

First, you should use a smoker for this cookout. Gas grills simply can't produce a properly smoked brisket. Some charcoal grills can, but you need to know how to use it correctly to smoke a brisket. Regardless of the type of smoker you are using, you need to know how to get it to the right temperature (225 degrees F or 107 degrees C) and hold it there for as much as 15 hours (up to 1 1/2 hour per pound).

Next, you need a whole, untrimmed beef brisket. This cut will weigh between 10 and 20 pounds, depending on its preparation and place of purchase. A smoked brisket will render half the weight in meat of the original piece, meaning if you bought a 12 pound brisket you will get about 6 pounds of meat once cooked. This is caused by shrinkage during cooking and a good deal of fat on an untrimmed brisket.

Knowing your brisket is very important. On one side is a thick layer of hard fat. There is another layer of fat that runs through the middle on the thicker end of the brisket. The large piece of meat that runs along the bottom is called the flat. The meat towards the top side (fat side) is called the point. These two pieces of meat run in different directions and present a challenge when it comes to carving.

So, examine your brisket and we'll get started.

The supplies you will need for this are:

  • One large, untrimmed beef brisket
  • A lot of fuel for your smoker (depending on the type of smoker you have)
  • A way of lighting more charcoal outside the smoker (if you are using a charcoal smoker)
  • Wood chunks
  • A good brisket rub
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • A meat injection needle
  • A reliable meat thermometer
  • A good brisket mop
  • A shape meat carving knife
  • A very large cutting board

This process should be started about 24 hours before you plan on eating.

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