A smoked brisket is a great choice of meat for a barbecue party. Whether you are a meat lover or not, there is always a good reason to indulge in this meaty and smoky goodness. Getting the brisket done right is a challenge because the muscles in this part of the meat get a lot of exercise. Therefore, this part of the meat is naturally tough. It should be given proper treatment when slow cooking and smoking to ensure that it is tender and tasty.
If you’re a beginner, or you want to perfect your smoked brisket cooking technique, then this guide is what you need to get the best results every single time.
Prepping the Brisket
Before you delve into the ideal cooking temperature to achieve the best brisket, you need to know how to prep the meat first. Trimming the fat is an important step of the process. It is a standard procedure that must be done for most types of beef, especially the brisket.
You need to examine the meat closely and aim for good marbling. The more marbling, the more tender the brisket will be when it is cooked. It is always a good idea to be informed about the meat and marbling grade system so you know the quality when you choose the meat to buy. For starters, the order of the grade quality from lowest to highest is select, choice, and prime.
Trimming the brisket is a must before slowly smoking the meat. You want to keep some of the fat to keep the meat juicy and tender. However, you want to get rid of the “hard fat” since it won’t render during the smoking process. The presence of too much fat will also keep the seasoning or rub from penetrating into the meat. Also, too much fat will make the edges look unattractive once you finish smoking it.
Knowing how much fat to trim is a matter of personal preference. Expect to trim off as much as 2 pounds of fat in the process.
The next step is to season the brisket with the smoked rub. You can create your rub using a variety of spices of your choice, along with salt and pepper. Use your hands to massage the rub onto the meat to allow the seasoning to be absorbed into the crevices of the meat. Give it time to set. Ideally, you should let the rub set for 12 to 24 hours. Be generous when applying the rub onto the meat to maximize the flavor.
The Best Cooking Temperature
Determining the ideal cooking temperature for your brisket is critical to achieve the most flavorful meat. Most grilling and smoking experts suggest setting the smoker at 200 degrees F. In some cases, the cooking temperature can go up to 225 degrees F but definitely not more than that.
When cooking with a smoker with a lid, make sure it has vents in order for the temperature to be properly regulated. If the temperature is too high, it can cause the brisket to burn too fast. If you want to make your life easy, you can buy a grill or smoker with a digital thermometer. This will help you keep an eye on the temperature of the smoker so it does not get too hot.
It is also worth noting that you should adjust the cooking temperature based on the type of wood used. Some types of wood burn faster than others. You don’t want to end up with a bitter taste when you dig into your brisket.
Tips for the Best Smoked Brisket
If you want to enjoy the best smoked and slow cooked brisket, you can take note of the following tips when cooking:
- Know your butcher. The secret to a good brisket starts with the meat. Ask for help from your butcher on what is the best brisket cut to use for smoking.
- Injecting marinade into the brisket is one of the techniques used to ensure that the meat stays flavorful and juicy during the cooking process. This step is optional, but it can make a huge difference to the flavor.
- Use sheers to bevel the edges of the brisket. This will ensure that you won’t get frayed edges during the smoking process.
- Slow smoking brisket takes a long time. The use of charcoal is the preferred choice for many. A few others also prefer to use wood chips. Make sure you choose which type of wood to use wisely as it can also enhance the flavor of the meat while it cooks.
- To determine the cooking time for your brisket, you can compute it to 1-2 hours per pound. You should also strive to maintain a 200-degree cooking temperature during the duration of the cook. The bigger the brisket cut is, the longer it will take to cook.
- Give it a low-and-slow treatment. If the heat source is coming from the bottom, place your brisket with the fat side facing towards the heat source.
What is the Ideal Brisket Temp?
It is always a good idea to test if the brisket is fully cooked before you take it off the heat. The ideal cooked brisket temp is 195 degrees F. This is what professional chefs would agree on as the ideal temperature of a properly smoked brisket.
Even when you take the brisket off the heat, it will continue to cook internally until it reaches up to 210 degrees F. Make sure to wrap the brisket in aluminum foil to seal the heat in. By wrapping it in foil, it will also ensure that the temperature of the meat does not drop too quickly, or it does not lose any of its natural juice.
Once the brisket has rested for at least 30 minutes, take off the foil wrapper. You may now carve the meat into thin slices or as desired. You can also serve it with your favorite sauce.
Slow cooking and smoking brisket is a practice in patience. You need to set the right temperature so that you can achieve the ideal tenderness of the meat without losing its juiciness. Make sure you follow the recommended cooking techniques so you can get the perfect brisket cooking temp and extract the most flavor out of the meat.