In the past I’ve done recipes and videos for competition brisket but this one is a little different. There’s no injection or aggressive trimming, it’s just seasoning, smoke, and time.
I start with a 12-14lb whole brisket which is the perfect size for fitting into a Food Saver bag. It’s hard to wrestle bigger briskets trust me on this. You can expect a 12-14lb brisket to yield about 6-7lbs cooked which is enough meat to feed a dozen or more people.
Since we’re not injecting or marinating this brisket, it needs a good dose of seasonings on the outside to drive the flavor. I start with Butcher BBQ’s Steak and Brisket Rub. This rub is a combination of Salt, Garlic, Onion, Lemon Pepper, and herbs. It’s a great base layer for any cut of beef. You can substitute any seasoning here even Salt, Pepper, Garlic will work.
Next I apply my rub (The BBQ Rub.). It’s got some peppers and it’s going to give a great color to the Brisket. Plus it’s going to add just a touch of sweetness to give you a perfect balance… which is all your need for beef in my opinion.
Give it a good coat all over the brisket. Make sure you get the edges covered and any get it down in all the folds. You want seasoning on all surfaces.
The Last layer of seasoning is Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick. Not only does it bring more flavor to the bark but it also creates texture due to the coarse grind of the spices in it.
Once again here’s where this recipe differs:
At a contest I would cook brisket fat side down the entire time. But you have to remember with my competition briskets I’ve trimmed off most of the fat, and I’ve injected it with at least 16oz of liquid.
Also I’m more concerned with the appearance of the competition brisket. We’re judged on one bite most of the time and as you can imagine that bite has to be packed with flavor, moisture, and has to look like it came out of a magazine. You wouldn’t want to sit down and eat a plate of this brisket. It’s simply to rich and over the top.
For this “Eating Brisket” we’re not worried about the extra fat or what it looks like after it’s cooked, so I’m going to cook it fat side up the entire time. I want the final product to have a “beefy” flavor but not be enhanced or artificial.
I also want to taste the spice and smoke on the outside. This is the way brisket was meant to be cooked!
So I have the brisket on the pit, fat-side up and the temp holding steady at 250 degrees. For smoke I use a few chunks of pecan and cherry wood, but not too much. It’s easy to overpower beef with smoke. The cherry will give you all the color and smoke ring it needs, trust me on this.
At this point you can set a timer and relax for a few hours. Keep the temp steady at 250 and the door closed. After 4 ½ hours it’s time to take a look.
I don’t go by internal temperature at this point. I know some folks say to take it to 165 or 170 before you wrap, but I really don’t care what the internal is right now. What is important is the color on the outside. It should be dark but not burnt. I want a mahogany color not a meteorite!
Once the color is right on the outside, I wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. Pull off strips about 36” long and lay them cross wise over each other. I use at least 3 layers because I don’t want any leaks. Carefully place the brisket back on the cooker to finish.
The temp should be holding steady at 250 for the remainder of the cook and it’s probably going to take about 4 more hours. Typically a 14lb brisket takes me 9 hrs to cook at 250.
It’s a good rule of thumb but not always the case. This is where the internal temperature becomes crucial.
Brisket needs to get to 198 degrees in the thickest part of the flat. Sometimes it happens is 8 hours, sometimes it’s 12. There’s no exact science here but be patient and start checking around the 7 ½ hour mark.
Once I see 198 in the flat, it’s time to get it off the heat. Open up the foil and let the steam escape for 5 minutes, then cover it loosely and let it rest. I place it in a cambro or clean, empty cooler for at least 2 hours.
Since I’m giving this brisket as a gift, I needed it to cool completely before vacuum sealing.
After the 2 hour rest, I chilled it in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Then it was easy to slide into the 11” Food Saver bag.
I also poured the drippings into a pyrex measuring cup and let it chill in the fridge. Once the fat comes to the top, dip it off and pour the remaining Jus in the bag with the brisket. It makes some really good liquid for reheating the brisket.