Wednesday, August 10, 2022

My Low Effort Brisket Cook

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This isn't a tutorial, just notes from my latest brisket cook which was a lazy but tasty effort.

Several weeks ago, Kroger had USDA Choice whole beef briskets on sale for $1.99 a pound. I'll always jump on brisket at that price. If I do nothing but grind it into ground beef, I'm still getting about half off. I picked out a nicely shaped one and I was thrilled when I flipped it over and saw the Certified Angus Beef® Brand logo.

CAB brisket for $1.99?  That's like reserving an economy rental car and getting to the rental place and they give you a convertible sports car or SUV upgrade.

I wasn't in a hurry to cook it so I wet-aged it at 33-36°f for 30 days. It's not as good as dry aging but it is much easier and that was the theme of this brisket.....minimal effort. 

Brisket Prep

Again, I took the easy road at every turn on this cook. I have been extremely busy at work this summer and barely have time to come up for air. 

  • Trimming - I normally like to split my brisket into the point and flat, competition style. I do this because it shortens the cook, lets a big brisket fit in a Large Big Green Egg, and provides maximum surface area for bark development. Not this time, though. I trimmed the silverskin off of the flat and a little bit of fat here and there but not much, not even enough for the tallow pile.
  • Injection - None. 
  • Seasoning - I did a base layer of Obie-Cue's Double Strength Garlic Pepper and then a moderate coat of Obie-Cue's Big Bull's Texas Brisket seasoning
  • Dry Brine - After seasoning, I wrapped it loosely in a large food bag and put it in the fridge overnight to let the magic of dry brining take place.

The Smoker

I was going to cook this on one of my Big Green Eggs but the brisket was a tad long to fit and my charcoal supply was limited. Keeping with my theme of minimal effort, I rolled out Trevor's Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX pellet cooker. I started with post oak pellets and when those ran out, I switched to Kingsford's Oak/Hickory/Cherry blend, one of my favorite combos. 

The Cook

I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 5:30am, pressed a button on the Rider DLX, turned a dial to 225°f and went back to bed for more zzzz's. At 6:30am, I put the brisket in the cooker.

I put the brisket on the top rack and have a sheet pan underneath to keep it from making a complete mess of the smoker.

I used the Thermoworks Smoke to track the internal temps of the brisket. I put one probe in the middle of the flat and the other in the center of the point.  

My plan was simple.

  • Smoke it at 225°f until it reached an internal temperature of 165°f AND had a nice dark crust forming.
  • Spritz it every hour with quality apple juice.
  • When it hits 165°f, wrap it in foil with a bit of beef stock and dried onion, then back on the smoker to braise tender until it hits north of 203°f and is probe tender
  • Rest it in the Cambro UPC300 (a hot box like caterers use) for an hour or two.
  • Put it back on the smoker for 15 minutes just to reset the crust, which gets a bit soft sitting in the steamy hot box. 

When it hit 165f, it looked good but I thought that it needed some more color. I wanted that black gold. So I let it ride.
Thirty minutes later, it was getting closer...but let it ride some more.

That's what I'm talking about!

Yep, that's looking perfect. That's Alexis handling the brisket, she's a bad ass brisket cooker herself. She can do it all, from picking out the right brisket to building the turn in box for a competition.

With my normal process, I'm wrapping 6 hours in. But this way, it was 3:30 (9 hours in) when we wrapped.

Black gold! It looks like a meteorite but it's perfection.

It was juicy, wiggly, tender, beefy, peppery, smoky, and delicious!

The pictures don't do it justice but that's what happens when you take pictures in the harsh lights of your garage at night. My usual process has the brisket finished at 1:30pm but Lazy Chris had a different process.

To finish it all off, we poured off the juices from the foil wrap into a fat separator and strained the beef jus onto the brisket to boost flavor and keep it juicy when we reheat it.

Easy, peasy, nice and beefy!