If you have a spare day and you want to immerse yourself in a great barbecue experience, consider giving beef brisket a try.
The main ingredient required for this cut of beef is time – up to 10 hours depending on the size of the brisket. “Low and slow” is a must, producing a smoky, beefy, tender cut of beef that can be served by itself or as a brisket sandwich.
Let's first discuss the cut. As you know from previous articles, it is a bonus to have a working relationship with a butcher in your town. An entire beef brisket can weigh up to 10 pounds. If you locate an entire brisket, the “fat cap,” which is a layer of fat across the top of the brisket is a definite plus, as it helps keep the meat moist during the long cooking process.
In most cases you will see only a portion of the brisket, known as the point, which is roughly four to six pounds. Choose the brisket with the most marbling of fat throughout the meat.
The brisket is located above the front legs of the steer and is a piece of muscle which gets worked hard and supports a lot of weight. A low and slow cooking method melts the connective tissues in the brisket, making it tender and delicious.
The cooking temperature needs to be near 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer and the brisket will cook too quickly making it tough and dry. If you are using a kettle grill, set it up for indirect heat with 10 to 12 pieces of charcoal. If you use a liquid smoker the moisture will soften the cooking temperature. Make sure you place hickory chips on the charcoal when the charcoal is 50 percent to 60 percent gray. Let the hickory flame out, then place the meat on the grill opposite the coals and place the lid on the grill or smoker. You will be adding charcoal to the kettle grill occasionally to keep the heat where it needs to be.