My confidence was getting better with my smoker, and I knew that I had to try the “holy grail” of smoked meat, a beef brisket! I’ve always believed that any BBQ joint or backyard pitmaster can do a fantastic job on chicken and pulled pork, but the real test is their brisket because it’s so difficult to get consistently right. I’ve had brisket at places that was phenomenal on one visit only to go back and find it dry and not very flavorful the next, so the pressure was on (in my mind) to make something amazing!
I started out with just a flat, the part of the brisket without the point (this site has a good description of what the parts of the brisket, the flat, the point or deckle, are) and gave it a heavy coating of dry rub, wrapped it in plastic wrap and kept it in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, after I got my smoker fired up and leveled off to 225 degrees, I added some hickory chunks and placed the brisket, fat-side up, on the grate. And then waited… this is the hardest part in my opinion! At the 4 hour mark, I added some water to the water pan because it was almost out, only about an inch left. I also added some more chunks of wood to keep the smoke flowing.
After learning about the stall and how to power through it the day before with the pork shoulder, I thought that I didn’t want to take that kind of chance with a piece of meat I’ve never smoked before. I checked the internal temperate of the brisket and sure enough, it was just at 160 degrees! So I wrapped it in heavy duty aluminum foil and placed it back on the grate, this time with fat side down.
The wind had started to pick up and I was having a problem maintaining the heat within the smoker above 210 degrees. At the 7 hour mark, I checked the internal temp, and I was only up to 185, and while I was hoping for 195 or better, it was still a good sign that I had made it past the stall. So I added a few more pieces of charcoal to the smoker, on the outer edges so that the heat would rise up easier, and waited.
Finally, after 9 hours total, the internal temperature had climbed up to 205 degrees! I took the meat inside and let it rest in the foil for 15 minutes. I carefully unwrapped it and placed it on a cookie pan, grabbed a knife, then panicked! I had never cut one of these things before! So I asked my wife if she’d like to give it a try. And she did, and the pieces looked amazing. She was, however, upset that she cut it the wrong way. That’s OK, we learned from it and we’ll cut it the correct way next time! Regardless, it was amazing!! I can’t believe how well it turned out!!! And soon we’re going to smoke another brisket, and maybe we’ll smoke the whole thing!