Laura’s cousin John and family are coming over this weekend and because they LOVE meat (and John is considering buying a BGE) I decided to build them the king of BGE dishes, the BRISKET!!
As always, Walmart is your friend! Great, huge, juicy, fatty, all American briskets! I selected a beautiful 14 lbs specimen for the honor of being cooked on my BGE!
There are a lot of different opinions about marinating brisket. Some say DO some say DON’T.. I’ve tried it without and with marinating and the best brisket i ever made had some sort of paste rub I created on it for almost a week..
Some people brine their brisket, this turns it into corned beef. You see, the term “Corned Beef” has nothing to do with corn. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt. I try to recreate that one instance that i created the best brisket and I am fairly confident that I did with the marinade I made this time!
The marinade is pretty basic. I used:
- Soy Sauce
- Kosher Salt
- Brown Sugar
- Lemon Juice
Looking back at the ingredients, it actually looks like a brine.. Oh well, I’m confident it will turn out awesome! I mixed everything to a smooth paste. I like paste with a chunk of meat this size, it applies easily and sticks. I am not a large fan of brining bags when I’m not (consciously) brining.. Either way i brine in a bucket anyway.. I promise I’ll blog my turkey the next time I do it..
First we wash the the brisket. It’s been sitting in plastic for a while and the juices that have leached out are not the ones you want (like with ribs). After I like to dry it with paper towel. Best to start with a dry piece of meat, both when applying marinade or rub.
I forgot to discuss which brisket out of all the briskets, you should choose. I love the thick ones with a large chunk of fat on them! Google “brisket” if you want to know what part of the cow it is and yadayada (don’t feel like discussing that part). Its basically two muscles divided by fat. FAT is the key and that’s why you really shouldn’t buy a “brisket flat”. Flats are pretty attractive because they are of a more civilized weight. However brisket, being one of the toughest cuts of beef, does not lend itself well for a fast(er) cook. It needs to sit in the Egg for long long hours. At the end of the process (anywhere between 10 to 14 hours) all the fat will be melted off. As the fat melts off, it infuses the brisket with Godly goodness.. My 14 pound brisket will probably lose 3 to 4 pounds of its weight during its time on the Egg.
Back to the Marinade
I feel I got side tracked for a minute with my brisket poetry up there.. But yes, the marinade! As described under The Marinade, I make sure I come up with some sort of paste. Smoked brisket has a great flavor “naked” so you don’t have to go overboard with the marinade. Salt, soy and garlic make great flavors and brown sugar creates tenderness and an awesome crust. Come to think of it, I should’ve put cracked peppercorns on there.. Maybe I’ll do that before I put it on..
Ok, I applied the marinade paste (had to make a second batch, this is a big bastard) and wrapped the brisket in cling wrap. Then put it in a dish (so that Laura doesn’t yell at me for a brisket that leaked all over the fridge) and, well, put it in the fridge. This brisket was marinated, tucked away in the fridge on Wednesday and will be smoked on Friday a solid 36 hours later. I’d say anywhere between 24 and 120 hours in the marinade is good. Just let it die a little more, REALLY dead meat tastes better than just plain dead meat!
The Cook (38 hours after marinating)
My alarm clock woke me up at 5:30am. I jumped out of bed and went downstairs to light and setup the Egg. This cook will be on relatively low heat (200 – 230 F, 250F dome temp). I soaked a good handful of Mesquite and Hickory chips over night which i threw over the coals. The egg will be setup for indirect heat, with the plate setter, tinfoil and a drip pan. No harm in having the grease cook back into the underside of the brisket! You have to start this whole process early if you want to be able to eat at a decent time. You can’t rush brisket! it takes about an hour/hour and a half per pound!
Dome temperature stabilized at 250 ish and grate temp at about 165: WE’RE OFF!!
The temperature kind of jumps up in the first few hours. Three hours in, the temperature is already at 153F ! Kind of nerve wrecking but its how it goes. I just always hope it slows down (which it does). I plan to take it off when it reaches 180 F and then wrap it up and put it in a cooler for a while to let the temperature even out at around 190F . I’m right on schedule according to this graph:
I checked the brisket for the first time after 4 hours: looking good, the fat is melting away and it smells awesome!
8 hours later. We went for lunch, came back and the fire was out!! Needed more coals. That will teach me leaving brisket alone! Before lunch it was at 167F and it has been sitting at 163F for the past hour now… Looks good though! Oh, just went up to 165F!
OK after 9 hours the brisket hit 180F. I took it off, wrapped it in a towel and put it in a cooler, where it will sit for about two hours, or more, depending on when we eat.
After 2 and a half hours we were ready for carving!