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For those of us addicted to working our way through the BBQ line-up, brisket remains as one of the most challenging categories, or maybe it’s just me. Over the last decade of my (serious) BBQ life I have developed decent recipes for chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and prime rib but brisket stood as the last great challenge to be conquered. I tried dozens of recipes with smokers, gas grills, a pellet grill, and charcoal but my brisket’s were mostly disasters with a rare, unrepeatable victory. There is nothing worse than starting the fire at 4am and after a 14-16 hour cook having the anxious family dig into a dry, tasteless, tough, or overly seasoned 15-pound hunk of black meat. After many years of admittedly self-inflicted torture, I am happy to report that I have narrowed the number of uncontrolled variables to a point where I can now produce a great brisket every time.
Here’s the ticket to a low-and-slow cooked juicy, tasty, tender brisket that only takes 7 hours with a 5 hour cook.
- High brisket quality, prime is best;
- Cooking method that retains moisture;
- Using a “Texas Crutch” by wrapping with foil and adding moisture;
- Using a basic rub that accents the natural beef flavor;
- Letting the meat rest after the cook.
As with most BBQ recipes the most important ingredient is the meat and with brisket it is worth going to the next level. With this cut in particular it makes a HUGE difference and is probably the #1 reason for most of my failures. I usually buy my briskets at Costco and go for prime cuts. Choice works but anything less and you have a high chance of a tough cut. In my experience it is better to use a whole packer brisket, 8-16 lbs; the smaller cuts just don’t retain moisture sufficient for a good BBQ. The whole brisket includes both the flat and point cuts.