When we think about grilling meats for a summer event most of us think of burgers, dogs, brats, chops and steaks. All great choices and it’s hard to go wrong with any of them. If, however, you want to step your BBQ grilling game up a notch and show the neighbors what a real grill master you are, why not consider a beef brisket, one of the BBQ staples of the lone star state, Texas?
The brisket is cut from the breast section of a side of the animal. As with any cut of beef, it’s flavor and juiciness will be directly related to the amount of marbling (fat) contained in the animal, so you will want to be certain to choose only a USDA Prime or Choice cut of brisket. It just so happens that we are featuring beef briskets this week -- so enjoy the savings.
The first thing that you will want to do is prep your brisket. There is going to be some amount of fat that you will want to remove because smoke and rub won't penetrate it. It will take more time and fuel to cook the brisket with all the fat intact. And in the end, you're not going to eat the fat -- you're going to cut it away and discard it.
So, select a very sharp knife and cut away some of the thickest areas of fat on the brisket and trim the fat cap over the flat to 1/8" to 1/4". This leaves enough fat to keep the brisket moist during cooking. Concerned that you don’t know how to do this correctly or don’t have the proper equipment? Don’t worry, our meat cutters can open the Cryovac and trim your brisket FREE of charge, you simply pay the price shown on the untrimmed package.
Next, you will need to season your brisket. I’ve checked and in Texas, the most popular seasoning is a simple 50/50 mix of sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper along with the smoke created while cooking. If you want to be more adventurous, we have a wide selection of rubs and marinades available for sale in aisle 4.
Okay, it’s time to start grilling. For a gas grill, soak 6 cups wood chips in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Leave in water throughout the cooking process. Have some additional dry chips in reserve. Light only 1 grill burner to medium (if using a 3-burner grill, light burner on either end). Make sure that your drip tray is empty because as it cooks a good deal of fat will be rendered. Place smoker box over the lit burner and add to it add ½ cup soaked wood chips, and close grill. Adjust heat as needed to keep the temperature at 225-250 degrees. The wood chips should begin to smolder and release a steady stream of smoke. How long this takes depends on how wet your chips are and the heat of your grill. To get more smoke without increasing grill heat, add a few dry chips to the soaked ones.
Place brisket, fatty side up, on grill grate as far away from the lit burner as possible. Resist the urge to open grill often, as this will cause the temperature to fluctuate. Adjust heat as needed to keep the temperature steady at 225-250 degrees. Check wood chips every 45 minutes or so, and add soaked chips by 1/2-cups as needed to keep smoke level constant. Keep smoking the brisket, rotating every 3 hours and flipping as needed if top or bottom is coloring faster than the other until meat is very tender but not falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of meat registers 195-205 degrees, 10-12 hours total.
As always, don’t forget to let your brisket rest at least 30 minutes. Slice brisket against the grain 1/2" thick. There you go, partner -- you are now a virtual member of the Lone Star BBQ Association.
Happy Independence Day weekend,