Getting Started: Family Secret Brisket Recipe!

When you’ve been raising beef as long as we have, you cook a lot of it too.  We’ve done our fair share of learning the hard way. Our family Brisket recipe is really easy …once you figure out the tricks, and to be honest, that took us a while.  First off, there are two kinds of brisket.  Whole brisket and brisket flat.  The difference is not that the “whole brisket” is more wholesome, it just has a part called the “brisket point ” left on it; when the point is removed from the brisket, it becomes a “brisket flat”.  Leaving the point makes the whole brisket about twice as heavy as a brisket flat, but the point is very fatty.  VERY fatty.  Flats cook much quicker and are that part of the brisket that you get if you’ve ever had dinner at where a cook is “hand carving” brisket.  Brisket flat is what most of us would call traditional “brisket”.  The point, in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, the point is something special.  If you’ve ever been to BBQ country, they call the point, “Burnt Ends” they are very rich, meaty…they are meat candy…   Back to the secret.  Cooking a brisket flat or whole brisket is the exact same process, just a different amount of time.

Season to Taste!

Some folks like BBQ sauce, others, a dry rub.  We prefer to start with a medium/light rub of Kosher or Sea Salt over the whole brisket.  Start with hot smoke – 350-400F temp with lots of smoke. Place brisket on cook rack FAT SIDE DOWN (this is your insulation) If you’re using BBQ sauce, mop in on heavy during this phase of cooking.

We prefer to use natural wood smoke and heat, (build a very hot bed of coals and add small to medium pieces of wood that have been soaked overnight).

If you have a pellet grill, or similar cooker, these will work great as well!  The heat will sear the outside of the brisket and the smoke will give it a nice flavor and a deep red “smoke” ring that should radiate in from the outside when sliced 1/4 – 3/8”  Let the brisket smoke this way for 1- 2 hours.

When you believe the brisket has smoked to your liking, remove it from the grill and wrap it in heavy aluminum foil.  Wrap it tightly with a few layers to further seal in the heat and juices.

Place the brisket back on the grill or in a conventional oven at low, <225F, temp.  The brisket will finish cooking very slowly and will become very tender and juicy.

After another hour or so, check the internal temperature of the meat.  It should be between 150 and 170F.  Continue to check the internal temperature of the meat every 20 or 30 minutes until temperature for brisket reaches 190-195F.  When it does, remove it from the grill or oven and allow it to rest on the counter or table for 30 minutes or longer, still wrapped tightly in foil. (set it in a cookie sheet, it will leak some) The reason it is so important to pay attention to the internal temperature is if it is allowed to go too high, the fluid inside the cells will begin to boil and rupture.  This will make the brisket very, very dry and chewy so be very careful to not exceed the recommended times or temperatures.

If you cooked a brisket whole, the Burnt Ends are on the top side of the thicker end of the brisket. They will be separated from the brisket flat by a layer of “oyster fat” simply follow this layer of fat with a knife to remove the burnt ends.  Trim lower layer of fat from point and slice burnt ends.

Hope you enjoy our brisket recipe!  Remember the larger the cut the more forgiving it is.  Our brisket recipe uses premium beef because the quality of the beef is a big part of how the brisket tastes.  Thanks!

Chef’s Notes:

  • Get a GOOD digital meat thermometer
  • Build a big fire in your offset smoker, or preheat your Traeger® to “High”
  • Add water soaked wood to fire and put seasoned brisket whole or flat on cook rack
  • If you want to use BBQ sauce, now is the time.
  • Maintain high temp with lots of smoke for 1 – 2 hours
  • When brisket has achieved a nice, dark, smoked color – almost black – remove & wrap
  • Place wrapped brisket whole or flat in 200 – 225F oven and allow to cook until beef brisket internal temperature reaches 190-195F & remove.
  • Allow WRAPPED brisket whole or flat to rest for at least 30 minutes
  • Rest time is the perfect time to turn the drippings into gravy (see Roast Recipe)
  • Slice across the grain and serve