Choosing & Prepping the Brisket
As with all cuts of meat we recommend you choose the best possible quality you can afford. The better quality meat you buy, the better tasting end product you are going to get.
You can buy a full size 14-16-pound Prime Grade or even Wagyu Brisket for around $120 locally or if you don't have a quality local butcher you can get it online and shipped to you, check out Snake River Farms. If at all possible try to buy a Brisket that has not previously been frozen, that can be hard to find, but if you do you will have a more tender and juicier result.
A Brisket has two parts, the flat and the point, and a fat cap on top that you will want to trim to about 1/4 of an inch thick. When choosing your brisket look out of freshness and marbling. You want the color of the meat to be deep red and plenty of fat marbling throughout the meat. The fat will help the Brisket stay moist whilst cooking.
Coat your Brisket liberally with your preferred rub, there are so many to choose from it's a topic for another day, watch out for a post on rubs. Or you can keep it basic and just use salt & pepper. It's up to you. Wrap the brisket tightly in foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
Prepping your cooker for smoking
To smoke your Brisket "Low&Slow" you need need to cook it indirectly over the heat. We recommend a Barrel Type Smoker or a Ceramic Grill like a Big Green Egg.
On the Barrel Smoker fill your fire box and close the vents to keep the temperature down, regulate them carefully and slowly to not increase or decrease temperatures rapidly.
On the Big Green Egg, fill up the entire fire box and start a fire just on top of the Fogo Charcoal. There is no need to light all the charcoal, because it will be very difficult to bring down the temperature once all the charcoal is lit and blazing at 600 degrees. The fire will spread slowly during the cook, there should be no need to refill. Finally put the plate setter on to create that indirect heat zone.
Set up a drip pan with water directly under the Brisket, it will help you keep the temperature stable.
You may choose to use Wood Chips: among those regularly recommended are Oak, Hickory, Mesquite, Pecan. Again this is a preference, you may be fine just using the subtle smokiness of Fogo Charcoal.
Low & Slow Smoking the Brisket
Take the brisket out of the refrigerator one to two hours before you want to put it on the smoker. Place the brisket fat side up on grate, cover with the lid and maintain the temperature at 225°F, using the vents. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so check every hour and try to stay as close as possible to 225°F. Alternatively you could buy a digital thermometer or even a Temperature Controller (basically a digital thermometer with a fan, that will keep the temperature at a preset level).
After about 4-6 hours the Brisket will stall at an internal temperature of about 160°F. This is normal, we recommend at this point to take off the brisket and wrap it tightly in foil with 1/2 cup of apple juice (aka The Texas Crutch) and put it back on until it reaches an internal temperature of 200-205°F
Done and Serving
The magic mark is 205°F. At this temperature pull your Brisket off the grill wrap it in more aluminium foil and towels and put it to rest wrapped in towels in a cooler.
When serving your Brisket always cut against the grain. This will ensure very tender cuts of meat. When slicing a full Packer Brisket you have cut slight different then when cutting the flat alone. There are two muscles with differently running grains so the best idea is to separate the flat from the point first. Between the two runs a line of fat that is softer then the surrounding meat and should be fairly easy to find. Slide a sharp know along that line and the two pieces will come apart easily.
Slicing a full packer brisket is different than slicing just the flat alone. Since there are two connecting muscles with two different grains, you must first separate the flat from the point. There is a line of fat that separates the two muscles and it is fairly simple to find with the edge of your knife (or even your fingers). The fat will be much softer than the muscle, so simply glide a very sharp knife along the soft line of fat and the two pieces will come apart easily. Then find the grain and always slice against it. ENJOY!