Brisket is probably my favorite bbq food item. It’s a close tie with ribs, but brisket squeaks out the win because the leftovers are so versatile. You can eat it plain, put it on a baked potato, make brisket cheese fries, a brisket sandwich, or my favorite brisket pizza. The options for brisket leftovers seems endless, so it takes first place. Plus, when you make a perfect brisket at home you feel triumphant. It’s a real victory because brisket seems to have a mind of its own, it doesn’t like to follow the rules, you have to just let it do it’s thing until it tells you that it’s ready. It’s a high maintenance piece of meat, but worth every hour of it.
Pellet Guy and I decided it was time to make a brisket again so we picked up a 6.5lb flat from Costco. A whole brisket is made up of two parts, the flat and point. The point is larger, fattier and where burnt ends come from. The flat is smaller, leaner and is perfect for a smaller group, or in our case a party of two. So far Costco and Sam’s Club seem to have the best prices and offer just the flat, which is all we need since it’s just the two of us. We got it home, cleaned it up a bit and injected it with some beef broth. When I say cleaned it up a bit, first we washed it off with some water, than pat it dry with paper towel, then took it to the cutting board and removed as much fat as possible from the top, evened out the fat cap on the bottom, and squared off the brisket a bit so that it would cook evenly. We also marked where the grain was so we knew where to cut once it was cooked. Quick note, you always want to slice against the grain.
We did all of this the night before our cook, and then first thing in the morning we got the brisket rubbed. Sometimes I like to layer a couple different rubs, but this time I wanted to try a new one I just got in for review called Meat Mitch Steer Season. A while back I reviewed their Whomp Rub, which I loved so I was pretty excited to give this one a try. I have also been using their WHOMP bbq sauce a lot lately. It’s got a nice quick to it, and I find myself putting it on just about everything.
For the brisket, I figured the rub said steer on there so it had to be good on brisket, right? Plus, it won 1st Place World Championship for Beef at Memphis in May, so clearly it works well on beef. It’s a salty, spicy, with a hint of sweet rub that has a beautiful dark, rich mahogany color thanks to some of the spices in there like paprika, chili pepper and molasses. We put a nice thick coat of the rub all over the brisket in hopes we would get a nice bark.
After we got the brisket all rubbed up, we got our pellet grill going and set the temp to 250 degrees. Whenever I am doing a low and slow cook, I tend to prefer my Grilla Grill over the Traeger because that double walled design of the Grilla holds those low temps so well. In fact, in the almost 12 hours this finicky meat took to cook, it never deviated more than five degrees in either direction. Once the grill was to temp, I placed the brisket fat cap side down and walked away. Now the journey begins.
Every hour I sprayed the brisket down with some broth to make sure it stayed nice and moist. Normally, around the four hour mark I will start checking the internal temp, because once it hits 160-165 degrees, I like to wrap it up. As I have said before, brisket is temperamental, and it tends to have a plateau where the temp seems like it never moves, and this one was extra fussy. It took almost 2 hours for it to go from 150 to 160. I kept thinking my thermometer was broken or something because it couldn’t possibly be taking that long, but sure enough it was. And then it did it again later where it sat at 190 for another two hours, but I will get to that in a minute. By the time it hit 155 I checked to see how it looked and the bark was looking good and little puddles of liquid were starting to set on the top, so I decided to just go ahead and wrap it a few degrees early. I have always read that those puddles mean it’s time to wrap, and I couldn’t keep staring at the temp any longer so that sounded good to me. I have wrapped brisket in both aluminum foil and butcher paper, and this time I decided to go with butcher paper. At least for a while. After I wrapped it up, I placed it back on the grill, fat cap down, and played the waiting game.
The rule of thumb for how long to cook a brisket is 1 hour to 1 hour 15 mins per pound. However, I will say it again, briskets have a mind of their own, and after the 10 hour mark on my 6.5lb brisket flat it still wasn’t done. It hit about 190 and never moved, two hours went by and it was stuck around 190, so I decided to take it out of the butcher paper, put it into some aluminum foil and added a little beef broth. I was hoping the aluminum foil would help speed up the cooking process, plus I bumped up the grill temp from 250 to 275. This finally did the trick and I saw the temp move. It took about another hour to finally reach 205, which was the number I was looking for to tell me it was done, and then I took it off the grill, put it in a disposable baking tin, wrapped it in a towel and put it in a cooler. I let it sit in the cooler for about an hour, and then I just couldn’t wait any longer, so we took it out and sliced it up. The house was smelling so good, and we had been waiting for this brisket for 12 hours at this point, plus we were starving, our will power was all but gone and it was time to eat.
The brisket was still piping hot, and as soon as we took it out of the foil and put it on the cutting board we knew we were in for a treat. The bark was perfect, and it had some jiggle to it when we placed it down. At this point our mouths were watering and we couldn’t wait to taste it. I snagged the first slice immediately and did the bend and pull test, and it passed. Now it was time to taste. There really are no words for this part, because it was THAT good. The steer season rub was out of this world delicious. The brisket was bursting with flavor, my taste buds were doing a dance. It was spicy, salty, savory and then a kick of sweet at the very end. It was perfect, it really was. I played coy and told Pellet Guy to give it a try, and he looked at me and said, “Oh no, is it not good? It’s not good is it?” And I told him to just give it a try and see for himself, and then his face lit up and all I heard was, “Holy crap this is ridiculous!”
After trying the Meat Mitch Steer season, now I want to try it on all different types of beef products. I bet it would make awesome fajitas. Is it bad my mouth just watered a little thinking about that? I can’t say enough good things about this rub, and if you are looking for something great on beef, I highly recommend giving this a try. I don’t normally eat a ton of beef, but I found myself wanting to eat more of it recently just so I could use this rub.
As for the brisket, we ate it for days and each time it was just as good as our first bites. We made naan pizza’s with it a couple of times and that was delicious. I even pickled my own red onions for the pizza, which was surprisingly easy to do, I had never pickled anything before. Pellet Guy added it to grilled cheese quite a few times and he said that was awesome. The actual recipe for this brisket is really easy, it’s the cook time that is going to be unpredictable, so just be patient and make sure you start your cook early.
A general rule of thumb is that brisket will take 1 to 1 hour 15 minutes per pound to cook, but brisket has a mind of it’s own, so start your cook early, because you just never know. The 6.5lb flat I did for this recipe took almost 12 hours.
- 6-7lb Brisket Flat (you can use the whole brisket, but this recipe was done with the flat)
- 1-2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup Meat Mitch Steer Season
- Rinse the flat under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove as much fat from the top as possible, and even out the fat cap on the bottom.
- Take about 1/4 cup of the beef broth and inject it into the brisket, trying to cover several spots all over the meat. I did this the night before, but you can do it right before rubbing, it doesn’t really matter.
- Liberally cover the brisket with the Meat Mitch Steer Rub (or whatever rub you prefer, or you can go traditional Texas style and just use salt & pepper.) . Don’t be stingy here, you want the meat completely coated on all sides, even the fat cap should get some rub.
- Let the meat rest while you get your grill temp set to 250 degrees. Once the grill is to temp, place the brisket fat cap down (if using a Pellet Grill), and place a meat probe in it so you can monitor the temp.
- Every 45 minutes to an hour (until it gets wrapped) spray the brisket with some beef broth, apple juice, or whatever liquid you would like.
- Once the meat reaches 160-165 degrees and has a nice bark on it, wrap it in either butcher paper or aluminum foil and place it back on the grill, fat cap down, and put the meat probe back in.
- Once the brisket reaches 205 degrees, test for tenderness by poking it in a few places with the meat probe. It should slide right in with ease, if it does that, the brisket is done.
- When you take the brisket off the grill, keep it wrapped and place it in a disposable baking tin, wrap it in an old towel and put it in a cooler for at least an hour and up to 2 hours to rest.
- After an hour or two has passed, it’s time to slice (always against the grain) and enjoy!
* When you are cleaning up your brisket, make sure to mark somewhere the direction you want to cut it later, which will always be against the grain. * Briskets tend to have a plateau, so don't get too worried if it sits at a certain temp for hours. * If it's taking too long and you absolutely can't wait anymore, you can bump the temp up to 275.