Bothered by your latest attempt at succulent, grill-flavored smoked brisket? Let’s face it, even professionals with years of experience get it wrong from time to time. There really is a right way to cook smoked brisket and a wrong way.
If you’re sick and tired of overcooked briskets or simply looking to tweak your smoked brisket recipes, here are some tips you may find useful:
1. Be Patient When Smoking Brisket
Depending on the size of your cut, the ratio of fat to meat, and the starting temperature, a fully smoked brisket can take anywhere from 5 – 8 hours in the smoker. There’s prep time, refrigeration time, and thawing time as well to consider, which can add an additional 2 – 3hrs to your total cooking time.
Low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to smoking brisket the right way. Consider the size of brisket you plan on smoking and plan your prep time and cooking time accordingly, and you’ll definitely see better results.
2. Brisket Cut Is Very Tough Meat
Collagen, a connective tissue in muscles, is the main component in meat that makes it chewable. Under extreme heat, the collagen liquifies, becoming soft gelatin that tenderizes the meat as it cooks.
So why is your brisket so tough? A typical cut of brisket, taken from the breast of the bull or cow, has more collagen than other cuts of meat, making it much tougher and more dense. On average, smoked brisket takes 2x longer to tenderize than other cuts of beef.
If your smoked brisket is consistently tough when you take it out, there could be a few reasons:
- Your smoked brisket has been cooked too quickly
Cooked with insufficient time at high temperatures, the collagen in the brisket will dry up, leaving the meat dry and tough to chew.
- The smoked brisket did not thaw sufficiently
Frozen brisket takes much longer than the average recipe requirement to tenderize. Allow your brisket to reach room temperature before putting it on the grill. After seasoning, refrigerate your brisket until your ready to put it in the smoker or your pellet grill.
Remove it when you’re ready, allowing time once again for your meat to warm up naturally before you start smoking it.
- Your pellet grill is not holding a consistent temperature
A quality wood pellet grill like Rec Tec 680, for instance, uses a PID controller with SMART technology to regulate fuel and monitor the internal temperature of the cooking chamber. Smoked brisket is best cooked between 165 degrees fahrenheit and 225 degrees fahrenheit, depending on weather conditions.
3. Personalize Your Smoked Brisket
Patience is the key to a perfect brisket, but there’s plenty of room for personality too. Innovate on the recipes you like best by experimenting with seasonings and even flavored wood pellets (apple, hickory, oak, etc).
It may be that you’re happy with the results of your brisket, but the taste is lacking that extra ‘kick’. Barbecue sauce in the right proportions can be exhilarating on a brisket sandwich, but there are other ways to enhance the flavor. Draw on inspiration from world cuisine to expand your culinary palette.