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Eric’s Brisket Method

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  • ecowper
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 3356
    • Maple Valley, WA
    • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
      Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

      Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
      Thermometer = Maverick ET732
      Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
      Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
      Thermapen Classic = Grey
      PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

      Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
      Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
      Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
      Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

      Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


      Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

    Eric’s Brisket Method

    Okay, I wrote this up for a friend who is a complete newbie to serious BBQ, but wanted to know how I cook brisket. I told him I had learned from Meathead, Aaron Franklin, and The Pit (ie here) and it was now all in my head. He asked me to please try to write it up, so I spent about 4 hours putting this down on paper. Here’s what I wrote up for my friend, plus pictures .... maybe it will help someone. And maybe it is a good place to start arguing ;-)

    ——————————
    A few notes about brisket
    1. Brisket is the pectoral muscles of the cow. They are very heavily used and very tough, lots of connective tissue and hard/tough muscle. Long, slow cooking is required
    2. A brisket, cooked right, is the finest bbq you can cook.
    3. Spend a bit of money and buy quality meat
    4. buy a whole packer the first time you cook it
    5. Learn how to trim it .... there’s great YouTube videos showing this
    6. Aaron Franklin - great BBQ cook - trims and preps a brisket - https://youtu.be/VmTzdMHu5KU
    7. I actually dry brine my meat .... brisket, steak, chicken, etc ..... for 24 hours, or more .... dry brining is using salt with no liquid to tenderize and flavor the meat. 1/2 tsp of Morton’s kosher salt per pound of meat. Spread it on liberally. Put it in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, preferably 24 hours, before cooking.


    I suggest that you follow my method exactly the first time you cook a brisket. Once you have it dialed in to the point where you are happy, then start adjusting until you get to your perfect taste.

    Rub for the meat .....

    1/2 tsp Morton’s Kosher salt per pound
    For a 14 lb brisket, trimmed, you will also want
    5 tsp coarse ground black pepper
    5 tsp granulated garlic

    Use the salt as a brine 24 hours ahead of cooking .... liberally coat all sides of the trimmed brisket ... work some into the folds, flaps ... put on a cookie sheet, put in the fridge, allow to brine for 24 hours prior to cooking

    Right before you cook, you will add the rub ... mix the pepper and garlic evenly, then apply liberally to the meat on all sides.

    Important notes about cooking a brisket
    1. learn how to set your grill up for 2 zone, indirect cooking. You want the “cool side” of the grill to be 225 to 250 degrees. You achieve this by putting all your heat on one side .... on a charcoal grill you pile the charcoal at one side ... one a propane grill you turn on only part of your burners. You will have to experiment with your grill to find the right technique to achieve this. Use a quality digital thermometer to know the actual temperature in your cool or hot zone, depending. I recommend the Maverick ET-732, available on amazon for about $50
    2. Make darn sure you have enough fuel for a long cook. Brisket is 12-14 hours. You want a full propane tank, or about 20 lbs of charcoal, depending on your grill.
    3. Meat takes on smoke flavor best when it is cold. Get your grill set up, get your smoke rolling, then take your brisket out of the fridge, apply your rub and go straight to the grill.
    4. Meat doesn’t absorb smoke well as it gets warmer, as a practical matter after an internal temp of about 150F, so don’t worry too much about smoke after that. However, when the meat is cold and moist, it absorbs a lot of smoke. That's why we go straight from the fridge to the smoker and why we have a water pan in the cooker.
    5. A brisket will stall during the cook. This is normal. Don’t freak out. Do plan for it. Your meat temp will naturally rise to about 155F and then suddenly stop going up. IT IS NORMAL. The moisture in the meat is evaporating and cooling the meat off faster than the temp is increasing from the grill heat. This will continue for several hours, then the meat comes out of the stall and goes up slowly after that
    6. Meat temp is a guide. The real way to know if the brisket is done is to probe it with a thin, pointy “probe” .... a thermometer or cake probe ... when your probe enters the meat and feels like a knife going into warm butter ... it is done.
    7. Meat temp helps, though. Quality brisket is getting into the done range when it’s internal temp is 190F. Start checking it then. Somewhere between 190 and 205, it should be done.
    8. After it is done, you should wrap it tightly in aluminum foil (very tight) and put it in a 170F oven for at least one hour. Or wrap in old towels around the foil and then into a beer cooler (will hold the meat at 170) for at least one hour. COuld go as long as 4 hours, depending.
    9. When ready to slice, take it out of the oven or cooler, unwrap, let it sit on cutting board for 10-15 minutes. You want the internal temp to come down a bit, to about 150 .... makes it slice easier


    Method

    Trim the brisket per above video
    Salt and dry brine for 24 hours
    Prep grill for 2 zone cooking, bring to 225-250 on indirect side
    Get smoke going using a smokenator or foil pouch of wood chips or wood chunks depending on whether using propane or charcoal
    Get your grill thermometer set up and monitoring the indirect zone on your grill
    Rub the meat per above instructions
    Straight to the grill, place a meat temp probe in the thickest part of the meat
    Cook per guidelines above about temps .... get over 190F and then start checking for “done” using the probe to feel like butter approach
    When done, remove, wrap, hold in oven or beer cooler
    When ready for dinner, slice into 1/4” slices .... check out this video on slicing brisket: https://youtu.be/sMIlyzRFUjU ..... slicing starts at the 8:00 mark
    Serve :-)

    Buying brisket

    Preferably go to Costco and buy a Prime Packer Brisket ... this will have both the point and flat and come in cryovac. Bigger is better. Go 14-16 pounds. If your costco doesn’t carry whole packers, go to a local butcher and ask him for a whole packer brisket. If your butcher doesn’t know what that is, find a new butcher. :-)

    Prime is way better than Choice. If you go higher grade than Prime, it will cook very different and very fast. Be aware.

    A Prime packer, pre trim weight of 14-16 lbs, will need 12-14 hours to cook, plus 1 hour to prep the grill, plus minimum of 1 hour holding after the cook. Plan on 16 hours start to finish. If it is done early, hold in oven/cooler longer, which is fine.


    ——————————

    Whole packer brisket in cryovac
    Click image for larger version  Name:	72212C94-82F5-495D-A92C-1A6704E5BD90.jpeg Views:	1052 Size:	2.57 MB ID:	546243

    Starting to trim .... use a sharp knife, keep the meat cold
    Click image for larger version  Name:	4F611EDE-5CE7-400A-AE39-C828C5FBAE07.jpeg Views:	514 Size:	3.09 MB ID:	546245

    Trimmed and starting to dry brine
    Click image for larger version  Name:	2F5813C1-3C37-4286-907E-EB5276936473.jpeg Views:	518 Size:	1.94 MB ID:	546244

    With the rub on, just out of the fridge, ready to go on the smoker
    Click image for larger version  Name:	8B44C377-7DAC-4D6B-8491-315DCB5F116E.jpeg Views:	514 Size:	2.86 MB ID:	546246

    Just put it on the WSM at 2 AM
    Click image for larger version  Name:	42DAAC2A-1911-4F2E-8F19-64FFAD9C1ABC.jpeg Views:	518 Size:	1.56 MB ID:	546248

    Just hit the stall ... notice the bark and the moisture on the meat .... it’s at 150F and doing good
    Click image for larger version  Name:	B459B4F8-731B-46BB-8EB5-DA62917A8477.jpeg Views:	516 Size:	3.41 MB ID:	546247

    What it looks like done! Click image for larger version  Name:	01C45A22-E281-46CC-9C5E-4B34581448E1.jpeg Views:	506 Size:	2.25 MB ID:	546249

    And starting to slice it
    Click image for larger version  Name:	C8CD8DA7-1CDF-4BA5-A3A7-9BCE21212BF7.jpeg Views:	513 Size:	1.49 MB ID:	546250

    On the plate with sides
    Click image for larger version  Name:	831C47C2-A83A-443C-A0E0-163DABF25DB8.jpeg Views:	514 Size:	2.23 MB ID:	546251
    Last edited by ecowper; September 30, 2020, 01:02 PM. Reason: Edited regarding how/when a brisket absorbs smoke.
  • Oakgrovebacon
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 1898
    • South central Illinois

    #2
    Nicely done! No argument here. Looks very good! Anyone following your directions should be a brisket master.

    Comment

    • MWOE2007
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 22

      #3
      Great write up. Thanks for taking the time to post.

      Comment

      • NoogaQ
        Club Member
        • Jun 2018
        • 42
        • Chattanooga, TN

        #4
        Wow! Hope your friend know how lucky he is to have you do this excellent how-to. Great job!

        Comment


        • Sweaty Paul
          Sweaty Paul commented
          Editing a comment
          👆👆
      • panteracfh3
        Club Member
        • Jul 2018
        • 286
        • Tewksbury, MA
        • "Jump in the fire!" - Metallica

        #5
        I'm getting my first smoker delivered today and the wife wants brisket. Timing of this post couldn't have been better. Many thanks!

        Comment


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          That’s awesome ... what smoker? And if you need some help, don’t hesitate to let me know :-)
      • Mr. Bones
        Birthday Hat Master
        • Sep 2016
        • 9418
        • Kansas Territory
        • Grills / Smokers
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        #6
        Very nice job, there, brother!
        I'm bettin he will do jus fine, with such good guidance!

        Great lookin brisky, btw!

        Comment


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          His kids love BBQ, but he has never cooked his own. He decided he wants to dive right in with brisket!

        • Sweaty Paul
          Sweaty Paul commented
          Editing a comment
          ecowper think if I were trying I’d start with a pork butt. Nope, pork butt is EXACTLY how I started.

          Good on him.
      • RonB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2016
        • 12827
        • Near Richmond VA
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          Dot
          lots of probes.
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        #7
        That's the way to learn him.

        Comment

        • Mudkat
          Club Member
          • Feb 2017
          • 2089
          • At a river near me, MD
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          #8
          Bookmarked this baby! Thanks for the write up!

          Comment


          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            Happy if this is helpful for someone besides me :-)
        • Steve R.
          Club Member
          • Jul 2016
          • 2350
          • Elizabethtown, KY
          • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

          #9
          Have you been spying on me? Cause that is eerily similar to Steve's Brisket Method! I do like my butcher paper wrap, though. And I typically look for the nicest Choice I can find, since Prime is a lot more expensive around here. Honestly, other than what you included in this post, everything else is simply a matter of personal preference, so you definitely got the basics covered.
          Last edited by Steve R.; August 10, 2018, 07:15 AM.

          Comment


          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            so, you haven't noticed the spy cams and microphones in your house and yard yet??

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            The one thing I don’t do is wrap .... I only ever wrap if the hunk of meat (brisket, butt, whatever) does not want to get done on time :-)
        • Frozen Smoke
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 1528
          • Northern Mn

          #10
          Solid tutorial! You're buddy owes ya a case of beer for putting together detailed instructions like that!

          Comment


          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            And a couple slices o’brisket!

          • holehogg
            holehogg commented
            Editing a comment
            Good day Sir. Trust you the family and of course the grandkids are doing well. Still miss your presence in the pit. Happy New year to you and yours.
        • Donw
          Club Member
          • Jul 2017
          • 3121

          #11
          Well written article. Should be a sticky. Now will someone tell me how to bookmark this thread?

          Comment


          • FireMan
            FireMan commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, ditto.

          • Bogy
            Bogy commented
            Editing a comment
            Someone else may have a different method, and I'm using Chrome as my browser, so YMMV, but I went to the address bar at the top of the browser, clicked on the star on the right side (or go to the menu for the browser), and set it as a bookmark. I've got a folder marked "Grill" so it went in there. I did it as a bookmark in my browser, I don't see a way to set a bookmark as part of the website.

          • Donw
            Donw commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Pastor. Used the bookmark function like you instructed and now have it saved.👍🏻
        • FireMan
          Charter Member
          • Jul 2015
          • 7700
          • Bottom of Winnebago

          #12
          Magnifico! That is one thing I have not cooked. First off it’s a ton of meat just for 2 people. Second there is all sorts how to’s & the fear factor of screwing it up if I do it for a group, that & the length of time. Your tutorial is concise & precise. With your painstaking explanation I will give it a try before winter sets in.

          Comment


          • ddmcwhirter
            ddmcwhirter commented
            Editing a comment
            Look at good mop sauces...I don't use while cooking, but on slices, soaking toast, etc. and, when vacuum sealing for the freezer we pour in some sauce. I prefer the rather transparent stock and vinegar based sauce, with spices, steak sauce, fruit juice, and a bit of bottled bbq sauce.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            ddmcwhirter I make Texas mop sauce to use when serving usually.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            Scout789 and don’t forget to save some for brisket hash in the morning!
        • Troutman
          Club Member
          • Aug 2017
          • 7255
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          #13
          Yea really nicely thought out and presented ecowper , bravo !!! Now as to what could turn into a 3 hour argument, I may have a disagreement with you on your #2 in your first set of notes, but that's indeed a personal preference !!!

          Comment

          • ecowper
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 3356
            • Maple Valley, WA
            • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
              Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

              Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
              Thermometer = Maverick ET732
              Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
              Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
              Thermapen Classic = Grey
              PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

              Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
              Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
              Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
              Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

              Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


              Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

            #14
            Troutman I argue with myself about #2 ..... beef ribs, done right, might be the finest BBQ one can cook ..... no, you fool, it's brisket! shut up .... no you .... no you ..... ribs .... brisket ..... argh!

            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Now you're on the right track.......

            • Bogy
              Bogy commented
              Editing a comment
              I thought whatever you just cooked and were eating right now was the finest BBQ available!?
          • Bogy
            Club Member
            • Mar 2016
            • 605
            • North Central Iowa
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            #15
            Great write up. I was restacking the beef in the freezer on Monday, so I could add a bunch of pork. Processor already separated and trimmed the brisket, so when I cook them it will be a little different, but this was a good refresher. Been waiting until we had more people to do the brisket. Got an request for pulled pork for Labor Day weekend when we celebrate my granddaughter's birthday. May do brisket along with the pork.

            Comment

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            Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

            maverick PT55 thermometer
            A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

            Click here to read our complete review


            Track Up To Six Temperatures At Once

            Grilla pellet smoker
            FireBoard Drive 2 is an updated version of a well-received product that sets the standard for performance and functionality in the wireless food thermometer/thermostatic controller class.

            Click here for our review of this unique device


            The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

            NK-22-Ck Grill
            Napoleon's NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

            Click here for more about what makes this grill special


            Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

            Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill
            Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

            Click here to read our detailed review and to order