Admittedly I have not done nearly as many beef briskets as I have pork butts. I think I have only ever tried to do 2 briskets on the Big Green Egg since I got it and I have only done 2 on gas grills before that. Brisket is and has been a challenge for me and I hope that I can break the brisket curse with this one.
My first ever brisket was done on a gas grill before I knew the concept of what true low and slow was about. I put it on at 6 in the morning and thought it would be done in 12 hours. Well I think at 9pm it was still tough as hell!!! It had a good flavour but I did not even use a meat thermometer nor did I really know what I was doing. I watched a couple YouTube videos and thought I could do it too… I was so wrong.
My second attempt was also on gas, but this time after I smoked the meat for about 5 hours I threw it in a pan with some beer and wrapped it in foil and finished it for 4 hours as a braise. This worked as the meat this time was juicy and more the way a brisket should be… but hell, I could have done that in the oven.
The 2 times I did brisket on the Big Green Egg I had moderate success. By now I knew the concepts better. I actually USED a meat thermometer. I knew that I had a target temperature north of 195F. I knew about the plateau that smoking meat goes through as it breaks down the connective tissue, where you might actually see your meat temp DROP!!! Don’t worry, it’s all good, it’s supposed to do that! My problem was the grade of meat I bought. We were down in North Dakota and their Wally Worlds down there sell brisket. So I bought some thinking this was cool… well big mistake. I didn’t know the USDA meat grading system and what I bought was the lowest quality meat you could get. Even the Big Green Egg couldn’t fix that!!! These 2 were closer to what I wanted but still missed the mark as they were still tough at 200F.
Well yesterday I popped into my butcher shop and I asked Steve the butcher if he had any brisket. Sure enough he pulls one out and asked me if I wanted it trimmed up. For sure I said, your knives are way better than mine!!!
So I brought home this 10 pound bad boy of Certified Angus Beef. This time I have quality going in, so I am off to a good start!
Now there are a bajillion ways to cook a brisket and all of them can give you some great results. I have tried some more complex rubs and marinades and injections and mops in different combinations on the 4 briskets that I have done. But my Egging buddy Jason down in Texas recently wrote a blog post about going back to basics… salt, pepper and smoke and that’s IT!
To read Jason’s blog click here
It looked like it worked so well for him that I thought I would give it a shot! Here is my brisket with just salt and pepper…
As for the smoke, I also took Jason’s advice and I used a combination of Hickory, Mesquite and Cherry wood. I am out of wood chunks but used probably about 8 cups of wood chips with about 6 of them being soaked in water for 4 hours. I mixed in some dry chips when I put them on the Egg.
I am aiming to run the Egg with a 250F grill level temperature and my DigiQ should help hold it there. I am going to go check on it shortly as it was just coming up to temp and I think it overshot it slightly, but it should come back down. The DigiQ is awesome because even though I had to get up at 3am (the cost of great BBQ!!!) it now allows me to go back to sleep knowing the temperature will remain stable. At this temperature I am shooting for 1 to 1 & a half hours per pound to cook, which would be 10 to 15 hours of cooking time. It was up to temp around 4am so hopefully we’re eating around 7 tonight!
Stay tuned I will post a followup later!