Brisket seems to be one of those mystery meats. I'm by no means an expert with brisket, all of my neighbors claim they are! But I've found with the Bradley Smoker I can turn out a very consistent product!
- 9-12 pound packer brisket
- 3/4 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup coarse black pepper
- 1/4 cup coarse salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp chilli powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp cayenne
Selecting a Brisket
First we need a brisket ... Off to the store or butcher shop whichever you prefer for a 9-12 pound packer brisket, if you go much larger you'll have a hard time making it fit on your rack. If a packer is not available not to worry go with a market trimmed. Now I've seen in the stores here what they call 'Best of the brisket' which is just a piece of the flat less than 2 lbs and completely trimmed of fat and @ 4.29 a lb, just say no!
On the bottom 10.58 lb packer; on top 7.27 lb market trimmed vac sealed; and on the left 10.02 lb packer for some pastrami (that's a whole different story!).
Okay you've found some packers, now which one is gonna be the good one, they all look the same pretty much. You want a nice fat cap on the one side and some nice marbling on the other. Now one trick I was told years ago is to grab your packer on both ends and bend it in half as best as you can, this will give you an idea of how thick the fat ribbon, that separates the flat from the point is. The easier the bend, the smaller the ribbon, and this is what we're looking for. While I don't know if this is true, as I said I was told this years ago by an older gentleman and it has worked for me through the years. Plus you get the joy of standing in front of the meat counter flexing briskets as all of the other customers looking and wondering what the heck is he doing!
All right, we've flexed and found our perfect brisket and rush home ready to get this bad boy into the Bradley Smoker ... Not so fast: brisket is not a meat to be rushed during the cook and before the cook.
Aging the Brisket
- If you bought a market trimmed brisket, pull it out of its package and vac-seal it; a packer is cry-o-vac'd and ready.
- Place the brisket in the fridge for at least 2 weeks (3 is better) turning over every day - and, what the heck, give it another flex or two!
Trimming the Brisket
The day before your smoke, pull the brisket out of its package for some fat trimming. If you bought a market trimmed you're already good to go.
- On your packer trim off the heavy chunks of fat, but don't get to carried away on your cap as it serves as a self baster while we're cooking it.
- Once you've got the heavy parts of fat removed, you'll see the fat ribbon that separates the flat from the point. Run your knife along this ribbon as if you were going to separate the two. If your flexing at the store was correct you shouldn't have to thick of a ribbon and will not have to remove very much.
Okay, time to cook right? Not quite yet: you've just flexed your brisket for two weeks and now taken a knife to it, I think it deserves a rub down and a days rest!
- Pick your favorite rub and don't be shy with it, cover the entire brisket and don't forget to coat where the fat ribbon was.
- Place the brisket into a 2 gallon zip lock (if you can't find a zip lock that big just vac seal it) and get as much air out as possible.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Pull your brisket out of its bag and place on your rack on the counter (keep an eye on your dogs, I speak from experience).
- Leave the brisket on the counter for about an hour, once it starts to get a sweat you're good to go. And the cool thing is, it's not even cooked and it smells good already.
- Pre-heat your Bradley Smoker to 220°F.
- Place the brisket into the smoker on the middle rack. The cabinet temperature will take quite awhile to recover, especially if you have a full load.
- Once the smoker has come back up to 220°F, apply 4 hours of smoke ... now I use mesquite - I know that's shocking! - but use whatever flavor suits you.
- Pull the brisket from the smoker, you'll notice they have shrunk quite a bit - this is a good thing.
- Put the brisket into a foil pan with a splash of apple juice.
- Cover the foil pan tightly with heavy duty foil and place into the oven @ 220°F.
- Okie Dokie, out of the oven. Doing brisket I don't shoot for any internal temperature more so just low and slow, but if I we're to guess probably 190-205.
- Remove from pan and wrap tightly in foil.
- FTC for just a few more hours (4-5 hours). Time your FTC for dinner time, if you need a bit more or less you'll be OK! I've learned FTC is a big key, thanks to the folks on the Bradley Forum ... Pulls all of the juice back into the meat! Speaking of juice when you pull your pans full of brisket out of the oven, pour the juice into a stockpot, makes for one heck of a base for sauce!