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Aaron Franklin’s Brisket

This is the third and last review of Aaron Franklin’s Masterclass, the famous Aaron Franklin Brisket. We will smoke the mother of all Texas BBQ cuts, a full packer brisket. A brisket has two types of cuts, the flat cut and the point cut. In other kinds of BBQs, the flat and the point are cooked separately, however, in Texas BBQ, both the point and flat are kept together in what is called a full packer brisket.

In this episode of the FOGO life, I  will follow Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe step by step. I’ve also invited Joey Machado, an expert on all things brisket, to try it with me, to see if it measures up to the famous Aaron Franklin BBQ! Let's see how it goes!

Charcoal Pro-Tip: I don't have an offset stick burning smoker like Aaron so I am going to do a smoked brisket on my XL Big Green Egg.  I am using the Fogo Super Premium with the large chunks for this long 15hr cook, at 270 degrees and add Post Oak Wood Chunks for smoke.

Video Recipe

  1. It all starts with choosing the best possible piece of meat. Choose your Brisket wisely, if you can buy the best quality of meat available, I actually had a hard time finding any full packer brisket at all locally and ended up choosing this one from 12 other choice briskets. I choose this because it had the best shape and the thickest flat. 
  2. Next step is trimming the brisket. Trim your brisket well, cut off any dried-out meat and trim the fat layer down to about 1/8 of an inch. 
  3. Coat with Mustard and apply a rub of equal parts of coarse salt and pepper. 
  4. Wait until you have clean blue smoke, put on some drip trays with water and put on the brisket.
  5. After 3hrs on the smoker starts spritzing the brisket with Apple Cider Vinegar every hour to avoid it drying out, once you hit the stall in the brisket internal temp of around 160-165 degrees, wrap the brisket in pink butcher paper. Butcher paper will help keep the bark from becoming soggy while still helping to cook and tenderize the brisket. 
  6. The brisket is done when it's tender around 205 degrees, pulled it off the smoker and wrap it in towels and let it rest for one to two hours. It will carryover cooking, getting more tender and reabsorb juices. Don't skip this very important step!

For the BBQ sauce, I followed this recipe from Aaron Franklin’s BBQ Rib Sauce from the Masterclass, but actually cooked it on a cast iron on the grill. The taste was amazing and the charcoal gave it a very smoky flavor!

The taste test!

After 9 hours of cooking my Big Green Egg brisket at around 270 degrees, wrapping it after about 8 hours, we let it rest for about one or two hours. Unwrapping the brisket was like opening a Christmas gift - it looked like a perfect brisket and it smelled absolutely fantastic!

One of the questions I had was if I should do brisket fat side up or down. In this case, I put the fat side up and it came out great. This is about my sixth brisket that I’ve smoked on the grill, so I’m still trying to learn what works for me. 

Start with cutting off corner piece and look at it and see how it is. We got a nice smoke ring.

We look for a piece that has a little bit of a tug but is not falling apart. This side will always be the hardest part of the brisket to cook, but you sacrifice this piece to have the rest of the brisket how you want it done. Joey says that his favorite part of the brisket is usually from around the middle, as you get both point and flat in the same piece.  Also, usually on this kind of brisket, all the grain will run in the same direction. As long as you’re cutting against that grain, you’re always going to have a super tender brisket even if your brisket is not cooked all the way done to exactly where you want it to be.

Joey is very familiar with Barbecue competitions, so I asked him how they typically judge brisket (the big question is would mine do well??! haha!). In the  IBCA (International Barbecue Cookers Association), for instance, Joey says that you need to put 9 slices of more or less ¼ of an inch in a box so that the judges can taste. The judges cannot touch the meat, and they only get a plastic fork and plastic knife. So you want the meat to be tender so that when they use the fork and knife it separates easily. A secret to this is almost to overcook it!

There’s two things you need to think about for a great BBQ:

  1. Meat choice. I went to three supermarkets, I chose a brisket that had a big flat, this is a super thick flat on the brisket avoiding the ones that had 1 inch flat. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they just choose any brisket period. Joey says that the meat I chose, would have been a perfect competition brisket (yes!!)
  2. Fuel. Why have prime brisket, if we use a subprime product to cook it on. It can definitely take your BBQ to the next level!

We did some of the brisket into pork bun sandwiches. I made BBQ sauce using Aaron Franklin’s BBQ sauce recipe from his Masterclass, and I actually did it on the cast iron on the PK grill. The smokiness it added to the BBQ sauce really popped out the flavors. Added some pickles to the buns and the taste was phenomenal.

If you have any leftovers, you can always freeze the brisket either before or after its been cooked.

How good was my Aaron Franklin Brisket?

Joey is from Austin, so knows the BBQ scene in Texas pretty well. I asked him if my brisket was something you’d expect to be served at Franklin Barbecue. To my surprise he said yes! It had a good amount of flavor and spiciness from the bark but it was also meaty and juicy. Because of my brisket selection and because of the way I cooked it, this turned out to be a success! He even joked that he thought maybe Aaron Franklin was around the corner waiting to pop up! Joey says I pretty much nailed the class! 

Reviewing Aaron Franklin’s Masterclasses on Pork Butt, Ribs and now Brisket, has been extremely rewarding and inspiring. I’ve become better and learned some new tricks and I can’t wait to get cooking some more Texas style BBQ! Let me know if you give it a try, would love to know how it works out for you!


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