Now, I have always cooked brisket low and slow… but I’ve been reading a lot about people cooking Hot & Fast on a Ugly Drum Smoker. So I had to try it out! you can get my plans to build your own Ugly Drum Smoker here >>
I bought a 13lb whole packer at Sam’s. (It can be hard to find whole packer briskets at my local Sam’s, but if you ask one of the butchers they can usually pull one out of the back for you).
Once I got the brisket home, I busted it out of the cryovac and started trimming on it. When you are cooking a brisket on high heat, you don’t want to remove to much of the fat on the underside. This fat will actually help protect the brisket from the heat.
So I just trimmed out the hard vein of fat between the flat and point and took off any discolored meat around the sides. I gave it a quick wash, a pat dry and then I was ready for the injection.
I personally don’t like to cook brisket WITHOUT injecting it because your not going to get the same flavor on the inside of the meat if you don’t. For this brisket I used an injection of:
- Beef Stock
- Soy sauce
- Frank’s Red Hot sauce
- And a splash of garlic wine vinegar
I always place my brisket in a full size aluminum food service pan and spread the injection sights out about an inch apart. Once it’s oozing out all the sides, it’s done. The food service pan catches all the over-flow – and I pour any of that extra injection in the 3 gallon zip lock bag I’m putting my brisket in. Then it all goes into the fridge for an overnight rest.
The next morning I fired up the UDS. I started with 11 lbs of briquettes and several chunks of cherry wood. Then I put 10 coals in a charcoal chimney and hit ’em with the weed burner. Once they were ready, I poured them into the fire basket with the other charcoal and wood… and then opened all the air intake holes.
The UDS came up to temperature in about 30 minutes to my target temp, 325 degrees. Once I saw the temps climbing, I had to cover one intake hole, but the ball valve and other intake stayed open 100% for the entire cook.
While waiting on the smoker to get to temp, I took the brisket out of the marinade and let it drip dry. I don’t rinse or pat it; just let it drip for a couple of minutes. I then covered it in a thin layer of yellow mustard and doctored it a bit.
I started with:
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Granulated Garlic
- Onion Powder
I let that sit for a few minutes and then went back over it with The BBQ RUB.
The, once the smoker was at 325, I placed the brisket fat side down on the cooking grate, stuck a thermometer in the thickest part of the flat, and put the lid back on.
I just sat back and let the UDS do it’s job.
The internal temperature climbed pretty fast. In only two hours it was up to 160 degrees, and I always pull my briskets and wrap them at 160…
And one little tip… I save about 2 cups of my marinade and pour it over my brisket when I got wrap it in aluminum foil. This gives my brisket plenty of liquid in that foil package to “soak up”.
Now, the temp of a UDS will spike the longer you have the lid off. So I made sure to keep my lid closed as much as possible.
But once I got that brisket wrapped and got it back on… bouncing back to cooking temperature wasn’t a problem at all. I didn’t notice a stall in temperature like I usually do with a low and slow brisket.
And in 3 more hours, I had an internal temp of 198… which is the temp where I always pull my briskets off the smoker and vent them for 5 minutes.
I want to vent my briskets to let-out all the steam. With briskets, I always hold them in a “dry cooler” for a few hours so all the juices can stabilize. And if you don’t vent… the internal temperature will continue to cook the meat while holding, and the brisket will be over done.
Brisket is easy to over-cook and it’s easy to dry out. So you really have to pay attention to those little steps like venting it and then holding it in a dry cooler if you want the best eating brisket you can get.
After resting, I took out the brisket and then separated the point from the flat to make burnt ends. This is when I noticed that my brisket was really moist and had a nice smoke ring. It looked great!
For the burnt ends I cut the point into 3/4” cubes, placed them in a half size aluminum pan and tossed in a sauce (I tried something new: 1 cup of The BBQ Sauce and 4 Tablespoons of the drippings from the foil). Then I put the burnt ends pan back on the smoker for 1 hour.
I wrapped the flat up and placed back in the cooler while the burnt ends finished. After 45 minutes I took the flat out of the cooler (it was still really hot to handle without insulated gloves). I placed it in an aluminum pan and brushed a thinner version of the sauce on top of it. I put it on the UDS along side the burnt ends, but only let it sit on the cooker for about 15 minutes… then it was time to slice.
I was amazed at the tenderness of the flat and the burnt ends. They were melt in your mouth good!
Now… while my brisket was resting, I decided to play around with the UDS. I wanted to see if I could get the temp to stabilize at 225 and then see how long it would burn on one load of coals.
I shut down the other intake hole and closed the ball valve to 25%. In about 30 minutes the temperature dropped to 225 and it sat there. 3 hours later I took my brisket out of the cooler to make my burnt ends and “bake on” my sauce – and it was STILL sitting at 225. After everything was done, I was determined to let it burn itself out. But at 10:00pm that night I finally had to close the intake and cover the exhaust. It was still rocking along at 225. I have no idea how long it would have kept burning – and I just didn’t feel like finding out that day.
But my hot and fast brisket turned out really good. I was more than pleased with it. Not sure I would go to bat with it in a contest, but I would definitely be confident to serve it if you came over for a Saturday BBQ.