“How Do I Cook a Brisket?”
It’s a Harder Question than You Might Imagine.
Grocery store flyers rarely catch your eye, but this week’s gets your grilling juices jumping: a sale on brisket. It’s not just any brisket, either. It’s the choicest cuts your grocer offers. You practically drool as you get ready to head out to buy some. Then, you realize you have little experience on how to cook a brisket. How does that work, especially on a smoker grill?
Your question is actually a tricky one. However, you came to the right place to get some down to earth advice. The answer to how to make that brisket the talk of the family dinner for days greatly depends on what temperature you cook your brisket at and what your process is.
What Is Brisket?
To learn how to smoke a brisket in a smoker or bring out its flavor with BBQ rub or sauce, you should first understand the meat. Brisket comes from the cow’s chest area. This leaves the meat kinda tough at first blush. After all, those cows have pretty lean, muscular breast regions. Despite this fact, brisket can become tender, juicy and delectable if it is cooked properly.
The trick to cooking a brisket is to give it the time it deserves. You cannot and should not rush a cut of brisket, which makes heating it in a smoker a perfect solution. The longer it warms up, the more the connective tissues fall apart, eventually leaving meat that slides away from the knife and fork.
Now that you know where brisket comes from, you need to understand how to bring out its best — and not rough ‘n tough — side.
How to Smoke a Brisket in a Smoker
Let’s dive right in. When smoking a brisket, I don’t like to recommend a cook time because it’s impossible to give an exact read. Everybody cooks brisket a different way. Some will cook them at 225 for 16hrs and never take it out to wrap. Some will wrap, but cook them at 275 degrees. There’s no wrong way to do it!
With that being said, you do need to make sure that no matter how you cook your brisket, you wind up with an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not eyeball the meat! Make life easy and buy a trusty meat thermometer. That way, you will never end up with undercooked and potentially unsafe entrees. As you get more accomplished at smoking a brisket, you may be able to get a good idea of how to tell when smoked brisket is done by stabbing it with a fork or knife. Hit any resistance? It has a bit to go. Slide right into the meat? It is probably done. Just use the thermometer for backup to be certain.
What Temperature Should You Smoke a Brisket in a Smoker?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a cook temperature and cook time. This includes wrapping the brisket: whether with foil or butcher’s paper, it can affect the cook. The trim of the meat will also affect the cook time, dependent on if you trimmed the thickest part of the fat cap off or not. Then there’s size: is it a whole packer or a brisket flat? 12 lbs. or 22? This can greatly alter the temperature and time spent in your Grilla Grill.
With all of that said, lo’ and slo’ is usually my method to smoke a brisket. I like it to get it the most tender and juicy while it spends a bit of time in the smoker. If that isn’t your style, what’s great about the Grilla or Silverbac is that they can do hot and fast or low and slow. Either grill will help you get your desired results.
Fatty Side up or Fatty Side Down?
Of course, that still leaves a big conundrum: Do you smoke a brisket fat side up or fat side down? The answer is that both can work wonders to keep a brisket beyond tasty. Just resist the temptation to remove the fat because marbling is absolutely your friend!
With the fat side up, you basically baste the brisket in its own sweet juices. With the fat side down, you provide a bit of cushion between the meat and the heat, ideal for slow cooking. So why not get the best of all worlds and just turn your brisket carefully every two or three hours? That way, you can enjoy a succulent cut of meat. Add some spice rub, cook it over mesquite or hickory smoke pellets, and you have a BBQ brisket that will disappear faster than you can say Grilla Grills.
In fact, Grilla’s got the best hot n’ fast brisket recipe. It’s the only way I’ll cook it quick.
The best advice I can give, as a general rule of thumb, is smoking your brisket until it reaches an internal temp of about 195-200 degrees. Then, dig in!