Have you ever heard the expression “Go big or go home”? This was the approach for our second smoking experience with our new Bradley Smoker. Our friends at Bradley are sponsoring this post and I think I’ve found a new love–don’t tell Liz ;-).
With one smoking experience under my belt I’m far from feeling like a pro smoking pitmaster, but given that things ran quite smoothly the first time around, I decided to up my game… to Brisket!
I did a lot of research for this one. There are so many opinions out there about what makes a perfect brisket. I started off my research with two basic goals: (1) the brisket needed to taste delicious and (2) it needed to be very tender. Sounds simple right? …well maybe not that simple 🙂
Questions about smoking brisket
Here are some of the questions I asked myself before I started researching and cooking: What should I set the smoker temperature to? What should the internal temperature of the meat be when it’s done? Should I inject it? How long should it cook? How long should I smoke it? Which wood bisquettes should I use?
Perhaps the most important question for me personally was about the internal temperature. Some folks said it was cooked and ready to eat at 170°F and some folks mentioned letting it go past 200°F. Most of the larger sites and smoking pro opinions seemed to hover around 193°F to 195°F. For my brisket I went with an internal temperature of 193°F. This is a perfect temperature to break down the fat and muscle, yet not dry the meat.
For the other questions, you’ll get details in the recipe below, but here’s a quick summary: I set the smoker heat to 225°F. I did inject the brisket with Chicken broth. I cooked the brisket for 10 hours, and smoked it for about 6 of those 10 hours (but every brisket will be different). I used a meat thermometer to tell me when my preferred internal temperature was reached. I used hickory bisquettes.
It was the perfect weekend to make this brisket. It was the Canada day long weekend and we had guests coming over. The brisket couldn’t have worked out any better! I was so happy with the results. The timing worked nicely as well. I got up at 6:00 am (the only difficult part of making this brisket ;-). I got the bisquettes started for the smoke and then brought up the temperature and I put the brisket in at around 7:00 am. By dinner time, we had one gorgeous brisket ready to sink our teeth into! The meat was so tender and flavourful. I won’t change a thing for our next brisket, other than maybe to play around with the rub to try out some new flavours.
Old school smoking?
I mentioned this on our last post; our new Bradley Smoker isn’t your typical “massive old-school down-south pitmaster smoker”, but it’s been perfect for me! I especially love that I don’t have to babysit the meat. Once the food is in the smoker, the smoker does a great job of maintaining an accurate temperature (as long as you don’t keep opening the door). I also love that the wood bisquettes get automatically fed and that I have full control over how much I smoke the food. The beauty of a smoker like this is that you start it up and it pretty much does all the remaining work on it’s own. You have time to hang out with your guests, enjoy some cold beverages and relax.
If you’ve never smoked food because you think it might be too complicated, I urge you to give it a try! It’s a lot easier than you probably think it is.
Invite some friends and family over for some smokin’ good meats and always eat well friends!
- 8.5 Lbs brisket with marbling and most of the cap removed
- ⅓ cup mustard
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp salt
- 1½ Tbsp chili powder
- 3 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- On the night before smoking, using a sharp knife, cut shallow crisscross lines into the top thin cap layer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the spices (sugar, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper)
- Slather the entire brisket with regular mustard. You'll barely taste this mustard. It's purpose is to create a coat on the meat that the rub will stick nicely to.
- Using your hand, sprinkle the spice rub all over the brisket and rub it into the meat (and cuts on the top) to evenly coat the entire brisket.
- Place the brisket on one of the smoker racks and place the smoker rack on a baking sheet with edges.
- Place the baking sheet in the fridge overnight, or at least 6 hours.
- I used the Original Bradley Smoker for the recipe, so I'll be explaining the process for our smoker. For other smokers, just bring the temperature up to 225 ºF and prepare the wood for smoking as per your smoker instructions.
- Fill the water bowl to half with water.
- Load the feeder with enough bisquettes for about 6 hours of smoking (3 bisquettes per hour plus 2 to push the last few).
- Open the damper at the top about ½ way to release smoke.
- Turn on the smoke generator and preheat the bisquette burner for 20 minutes.
- While the bisquette burner is heating up, remove the brisket from the fridge and inject the chicken broth into different areas of the brisket until all the broth is used. Some of the broth will fall onto the baking sheet. This is okay. Set the brisket aside at room temperature.
- Turn on the smoker and bring the temperature up to 225 ºF.
- Once the smoker reaches 225 ºF, open the door, place the rack with the brisket on the second shelf from the bottom, insert the prong from the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and close the door quickly to avoid dropping the temperature
- Make sure the temperature rises again to 225 ºF. Adjust if needed.
- Check the temperature every couple of hours to ensure it's still at 225 ºF.
- Check the water bowl (at the bottom of the smoker) every few hours to make sure the bowl doesn't over-fill with burnt bisquettes. If it's starting to fill, use an oven mitt to dump the bisquettes and water into another stainless steel bowl (carefull, it's hot). Fill the water bowl to ½ and place it back inside the smoker.
- Once the digital smoker thermometer reaches 193 ºF, remove the rack with the brisket from the smoker and place it back on a baking sheet.
- Cover the brisket loosely with a couple of sheets of aluminum foil to rest.
- Wait about 30 to 45 minutes before slicing the brisket.
- Place the brisket on a cutting board and slice as thin or as thick as you like.
- Pour the juices that dropped onto the baking sheet (while resting), over the slices for extra flavour.
I ran the digital thermometre prong wire through the top damper.