Brisket is such an underappreciated cut. It is often reserved for winter pot roasting or simply left on the butcher's block. It's worked hard which means we need to work a little harder in the kitchen to bring out its real character. As they say, patience is a virtue, and when it comes to Brisket this is totally true.
Brisket is a cut from the forequarter, you might see it referred to as 'point end' or 'flat end' depending on how the joint has been cut. We prepare the 'flat end' as it gives you the ultimate consistency of cooking one even piece.
When cooked properly Grass Fed Brisket is one of the most flavoursome cuts from the carcass. This is due to the connective tissues and collagens that are laced through the meat. When slowly cooked the collagen gently turns to gelatine and creates the most unctuous texture to the meat.
This Summer we are championing Brisket for your barbecue. If you want a sure-fire crowd pleaser you really need to give this a go.
To smoke a Brisket you will need a couple of pieces of kit. Firstly, a meat thermometer, it doesn't have to be fancy, a simple dial thermometer works fine.
You'll also need a lidded barbecue. There are a whole load of different size and shape barbecues on the market with all sorts of gizmos and gadgets. Really all you need is a well insulated charcoal or wood-fired barbecue with a lid, that you can control the air intake.
To rub or not to rub?
We are using a 2kg Grass Fed Brisket for this recipe.
Good Grass Fed Brisket can withstand strong flavours and you'll still get that beefy punch. You can keep your smoking super simple by just generously seasoning the meat or you could make an aromatic rub or marinade to further enhance your dish.
Anything with treacle, honey or sugar works very well as the long slow cook will nicely caramalise the outside of the meat. Try adding aromatics like fennel or coriander and of course garlic and chili.
Lighting a fire
For this recipe, we are using a Big Green Egg.
Make sure you have cleaned out your barbecue.
Open all the air flows and set a fire in the bottom of your pit. We use half a bag of sustainable locally felled charcoal with a little kidling. Once the coals are burning well add a little more charcoal and just a few small logs.
Allow the fire to burn for around 30 minutes, once the flames have died down and the embers are glowing you can add some smoking chips of a few more lumps of wood. Shut the lid and close down the air flows to reduce the air flow which in turn will lower the temperature. We're aiming for a temperature of 120C.
How to Smoke Brisket
Place the Brisket on the grill and shut the lid. Leave the Brisket in the barbecue for as long as you can resist. 6 hours should give you plenty of smoky flavour and a mouth-watering texture. 8 hours will give you falling-apart meat.
You'll need to regularly check the smoker, adjusting the airflow and adding more fuel to maintain an even temperature.
When the meat reaches 65 - 70C you'll see them temperature stall. As the meat is cooking it is releasing moisture, at this point in the smoking you're wanting to drive off the last bit of moisture from the cut. Once this has fully evaporated the temperature of the meat will begin to rise again.
You are aiming for a finished internal temperature of 80C, getting to this point as slowly as possible.
Once you have reached this point and the meat looks so so delicious, you're going to need to apply a little more of that patience. Don't put all that good work to waste by diving in too soon. Leave the joint to rest, loosely foiled up for 30 minutes, this allows the protein to relax and all the flavour to stay in the joint.
Dive in and enjoy all of your hard work.