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The Ultimate Guide to Perfecting Your Brisket Smoking Technique

Smoking a brisket is one of the most essential skills that any cook needs to know. Let The MeatStick team give you some insider knowledge on how to level up your brisket cooking game!

Which Part of The Cow Does Brisket Come From?

Cow primal cuts

Brisket is a primal cut of beef. It comes from the cow’s breast, the lower chest area. Brisket cut is low in fat content, it’s one of the cow’s most used muscles. It's categorized into two sub-primal cuts: Brisket Point and Brisket Flat. One crazy fact is that corned beef and pastrami are made from brisket!

Choosing the Right Brisket

A great smoked beef brisket begins with a cut of meat. When browsing cuts of beef, consider the USDA grades - Prime, Choice, or Select - with Prime offering the most flavor due to higher marbling. Aim to get a brisket with consistent marbling and a good fat cap, as these are key to flavor, tenderness, and juiciness.

Prepping Your Brisket

After you get your brisket skillful trimming sets the stage. Aim to even out the brisket fat cap to about a quarter-inch and remove excess silver skin and connective tissue. Seasonings range from simple rubs to intricate marinades – whatever your preference, ensure thorough application. Letting the brisket rest before smoking is essential for seasoning and marinade to penetrate your meat.

Avoid This Common Smoking Mistake

Using Cook Times and Guesswork

Smoked brisket

Brisket made using The MeatStick 4X

You took the time to choose the perfect cut and prepared it. The worst thing you can do now is over or under-cook your brisket. Most blogs give you estimated cook times these are flawed because depending on the size of the meat and your smoker these can vary a lot. Here is when The MeatStick comes into play. 

The MeatStick Wireless Thermometer aids you in the smoking process. Here's how to use it:

Setup: Insert The MeatStick into the thickest part of the brisket, avoiding the fat.
  1. Monitor: Use The MeatStick app to set your desired temperature. The app will keep you updated on your brisket's internal temperature, ensuring perfect cooking without constantly opening the smoker. You can rely on the app for all the updates you need about your meat. 
  2. Temperature Control: Maintain a steady smoker temperature between 225-250°F. The MeatStick alerts you if the temperature deviates, allowing you to be at ease knowing your brisket will be cooked to perfection without constantly having to worry about it.

The "Stall" Phase during smoking 

When the internal temperature of the brisket hits around 150°F, you'll encounter a phase known as "the stall." This happens as the moisture on the brisket's surface starts to evaporate, causing the internal temperature to stabilize. Pitmasters are familiar with this. There's no need to worry. You have two options: either patiently ride out the stall or employ the Texas Crutch method. For the latter, wrap the brisket tightly in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, adding 1/2 cup of apple juice. Then, increase the grill temperature back to approximately 225°F.

Smoking Your Brisket

Smoked brisket

Smoked Brisket using The MeatStick Wireless Thermometer

Patience is an important step in smoking brisket. Each offers different advantages, whether using an offset, pellet, or electric smoker. Your choice ofsmoking wood, like oak, hickory, or mesquite, significantly impacts flavor. Aim for a steady temperature, keeping it between 225-250°F using indirect heat. Overcoming the “stall” phase can be aided with the Texas Crutch method, wrapping the brisket in foil.

Achieving the Perfect Internal Temperature For Brisket

The ideal internal temperature for a well-cooked brisket is around 195°F. The MeatStick app, and will alert you when your brisket is about to reach 195°F. This precision ensures that you achieve the perfect balance of tenderness and juiciness.

The Final Steps - Checking and Resting

The Importance of Resting

Once your brisket reaches the target temperature, the next essential step is resting. Resting is not just a pause; it's a continuation of the cooking process. During this time, the juices that have been driven to the center of the brisket by the heat begin to redistribute throughout the meat. This resting period, which should last at least 30 minutes to an hour, is crucial for achieving a moist and tender brisket. The MeatStick can remain inserted in the brisket during this phase, allowing you to monitor the temperature drop gradually, ensuring that the meat doesn’t cool too quickly.

Maintaining Temperature During Resting

A tip to maintain the right resting temperature is to tent your brisket loosely in foil. This method helps in retaining heat without cooking the meat further. The MeatStick app can be used to keep a watchful eye on the temperature, ensuring it stays in the ideal range for resting.

Serving Suggestions

Baked Brisket Bits Potato

Smoked Brisket Bits in a Baked Potato

Slice your juicy brisket against the grain for maximum tenderness. It’s a standout on its own or accompanied by classic sides like coleslaw or cornbread. Sauces are down to personal preference. BBQ sauce, hot sauce, or any sauce is up to you! And don’t forget about the leftovers – they make for delicious tacos, sandwiches, and more.

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