This barbecue beef brisket recipe will show you how to make the king of barbecue meats: Beef Brisket.
Now that's exciting!
I've had beef brisket before, but few have quite the flavor that you'll get when you make this recipe. The seasonings, the wood and the techniques that I'm about to show you will help you turn out a world class beef brisket.
Beef brisket is a funny piece of meat. It's the pectoral muscle of the cow, or more appropriately, the steer. (The best beef comes from the male of the bovine species; the steer. We'll use the term cow because that's the term that most people associate with beef.)
The brisket is the chest muscle. It runs across the animals chest and up under the neck. Since the cow stands on four legs, this muscle gets quite a workout, holding the animal up and helping it get around. It's actually the second toughest cut of meat on a cow. The toughest cut is the shank. (The muscles on the top of an animal are more tender than the ones lower down. That's what "eating high on the hog" means: when you eat high on the hog, or steer, you're eating the more tender cuts. The muscles at the bottom of an animal do more heavy lifting and are thereby tougher).
A full brisket, often called a packer brisket or full packer brisket, is actually two muscles; the flat and the point. The flat is the thinner, leaner portion of the brisket. The point is the thicker, fattier portion at the other end of the brisket. The fact that it's one of the toughest cuts of beef, the grain of the meat runs in different directions, and that one muscle is thin and lean and the other one is thick and fatty, make cooking this cut of meat a bit of a challenge.
But have no fear. Just pay attention to your brisket, take your time, and you can have a barbecue beef brisket that melts in your mouth.
When choosing a beef brisket to barbecue, there are some factors to consider;
There are several lines of thought on trimming a beef brisket:
There are advantages and disadvantages to each method. Trimming your brisket always helps you turn out a better product. Before you barbecue beef brisket, you should trim it. Here's why...
When trimming a beef brisket for your barbecue, your main objectives are:
Butchery is definitely based on the science of anatomy, but there is a bit of art involved in learning the skill. No two briskets, or any other cut of meat are exactly the same.
It's gonna take some experience and "feel" before you become proficient at trimming meat. I will explain it to you, but you do have to pay attention to the cut of meat and follow the natural lines and contours of the meat.
Meat feels different than fat when you're cutting it. Bone feels altogether different than meat or fat. (Fortunately, there's no bones in a beef brisket.) This is where the feel part comes in. You will use your hands to feel where the fat ends and the meat begins.
Don't worry, with a little practice, you'll have it down. Even if you mess up and trim too much, or not enough, it's okay. You'll still have a very good barbecue beef brisket, and you'll learn how to do it better next time.
You will need a few things to trim your brisket. First, you'll need a very sharp, thin knife. I use a stiff boning knife, pictured below. It's very cool and works great!
You'll also need an extra large cutting board. (Tip: Place a damp
kitchen towel under you cutting board to keep it from moving around.
This makes your life much easier and is safer than having your cutting
board moving all over the counter). If you don't have an extra large cutting board, you can use your kitchen countertop, just make sure it's clean. (Make sure you clean and sanitize your board and/or counter afterwards).
And finally, you're gonna need a relaxed attitude and some patience. Trimming a brisket is not hard, you just need to take your time and learn as you go.
Remember: Safety is of the utmost importance. Stay calm and take your time. If you get flustered and agitated, you may end up cutting yourself!
Note: These are the steps that I take. You can do them in any order that you like. Remember: your goal is to leave a 1/4"-1/8" layer of fat on your brisket.
However you get that done is up to you. After you've trimmed a few briskets, you may feel more comfortable
doing it in a different way than I do.
That's fine. Do it the way that makes you the most comfortable and helps
you achieve the result you're looking for.
Place the brisket on your cutting board with the bottom (the fat cap side) face up.
1) Trim away the fat on the sides of the brisket. Taking a look at the sides of the brisket, when you trim the fat, will give you some idea of how thick the fat cap is.
2) Feel the fat cap to gauge how thick the fat is. Trim the fat cap to about 1/4" thickness. This is pretty straight forward; use your hands to feel the fat cap. This helps you tell you how much fat there is. Trim with your knife to about 1/4" thickness.
3) Remove the large chunks of fat on the sides of the beef brisket where the point and the flat meet. There are large chunks of fat on the sides of the brisket near the point. Sometimes there is a large chunk of fat at the end of the point as well. This is hard fat. It does not taste good and will not render well. This hard fat should be removed.
You can see this large chunk of fat in the picture below. It's a couple of inches thick and runs into the brisket a few inches into a v shape. It may be just a few inches in, or it may run completely under the point. Feel with your hand to gauge how big it is and how it runs into the brisket.
Use your knife to remove this fat. Just start at the top and trim away. Then cut away from the bottom side to remove this fat. It's shaped like a v, so this is how you'll want to cut it out. See the photos below.
Do the same to the other side. If the fat runs under the point from one side to the other, remove it.
4) Remove the silver skin. Turn the brisket over so the top (the meat side) is facing you. (See the picture below) The silver skin is the tough, silver colored membrane on top of the meat. See those streaks of fat? The silver skin sometimes runs under those streaks of fat as well. If there is silver skin under the fat remove it. If not, just trim that fat to 1/4". The brisket in the photo actually has very little silver skin.
Remove the silver skin by putting you boning knife under it, angle your knife slightly upwards in the direction that your cutting. Hold the silver skin tight with your non cutting hand and cut up against the silver skin to remove it while saving as much meat as possible.
5) Trim the flat. Even out the Brisket. If the end of the flat is less than an inch or so thick, cut the thin portion off so it's at least about an inch thick. The flat on this brisket is pretty thick, so we're not going to trim it. If the brisket is wider on one end then tapers down, trim it so it's a rectangular shape.
Some people cut an end off of the flat across the grain. This is done so they know how to slice the brisket when it's done. Because of the bark formation, it's difficult to tell how the grain runs after the brisket is cooked. A simple solution to this? Take a picture of the brisket before you cook it. Simply refer back to picture before slicing.
Note: Barbecue beef brisket comes from Texas. They cook it there in big offset pits using oak wood. This is the wood that you should use. If you can't get oak wood, a 50/50 combination of apple and hickory works very well as a close second.
Cooking time for a Barbecue Beef Brisket is about 1 ½ hours per pound @ 250°F. That means a 10-12 pound brisket will take 15-18 hours to cook.
The time estimates for this barbecue beef brisket recipe and all the recipes at Barbecue-Know-How.com are estimates. Never use time to gauge when something is done cooking.
Experienced pit masters can tell when a brisket is done by the “feel” of the meat. It feel loose and floppy, with an almost jelly like consistency.
Most people can't tell when
something's done by feel, that's okay, that's what thermometers are
for. After awhile, you'll know what a properly cooked brisket feels
like. For this recipe, you want your barbecue beef brisket to finish at an
internal temperature of
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