Thursday, December 22, 2011

Texas Brisket...The Final Steps

Well, here I am posting this late tonight, I'm still recovering from my food coma from another amazing brisket!  I had a little trouble maintaining 225 degrees in the grill last night as it was very cold and windy, but my brisket that I put on at 3 AM was still ready to eat by 6:30 PM.  So now let me tell you the last bits of information you need to finish your brisket off.
OK, last night I talked about cooking your brisket on indirect heat at 225 degrees.  I'm not sure if I mentioned you can plan on the total cooking time being around 1 1/2 hour per pound of meat.  I also talked about the "stall".  It usually occurs around 150 degrees, but for the second time in a row my brisket hit the stall at 160 degrees.  It took about 3 hours before the temperature started to rise above 160.  One it started to come out of this stall, I moved the brisket to a "Texas Crutch." 

The Texas crutch can also help you power through the stall faster if you choose to do so.  The main purpose is to maintain moisture.  It's a fairly easy step, and at this point you will be able to move it to the oven, so you won't have to check on it as often, or keep adding wood chips!  You can just use foil if you like, but I prefer using a "turkey sized" aluminum roasting pan.  Place your brisket in the pan, then pour one cup of beef broth in the pan with it.  Don't pour it over the meat, that will wash the seasoning off!  Just pour around the brisket.  Now, cover the top of the roasting pan with aluminum foil.  Either leave the meat thermometer in the brisket (under the foil) or push it through the foil and back into the thickest part of the brisket.  That is what I prefer to do so you can monitor the temperature without opening the foil.  Set your oven around 225 to 235 degrees, or you can continue to cook it in the crutch on the grill if you prefer. 

video
When is the brisket done?  I shoot for an internal temperature of 190 degrees, some prefer going up to 195 degrees.  I have also pulled one off when it reached 185.  Anything over 180 is acceptable. For your first time I would shoot for 190.  There is another way to check.  Take the brisket out and poke it.  If it jiggles, it's probably done, if it seems firm it may need more time.  This is what some pros call the "wabba wabba" point.  Check out the video clip as I check my brisket.  It is easy to see that it hit this wabba wabba point, and I pulled it off at 190 degrees.  If you pull it off under 180 degrees, be cautioned, you may end up with a stomach ache!

Hold on, you're not done yet!  Now you need to put the brisket through a "rest" period, of at least 1 to 2 hours.  Get yourself a good plastic cooler big enough to hold a brisket, and wrap the inside in a towel or blanket.  Set your brisket in the cooler, still in the foil.  Cover the top with the blanket or towel and close the cooler lid.  The brisket can set in there for nearly 4 hours and will most likely stay above 180 degrees.  I put mine to rest for 2 hours and it was still 185 degrees when I pulled it out.

slicing the flat
Finally, how do you slice the thing?  Well, start with the flat, that is the easy part (remember, the flat is the thinnest part of the brisket).  Simply start on the end and slice in thin strips until you get to when the brisket gets thicker, near the point.  Now, slice the point as near to half as you can.  The butt end of the point can be cut in the same direction that you cut the flat.  As for the middle section (that should now have been cut on both ends) rotate this section and cut the opposite of how you cut the flat.  The grain changes here and is easier to cut.  Check out the diagrams for a better visual.

cutting the point in half
You can serve the cuts just as they are, or wipe some barbecue sauce on it and make a sandwich out of it.  Now, you probably noticed you have a lot of little pieces, some shreds of meat, and the crispy pieces known ans "burnt ends".  These are perfect for shredding and soaking in BBQ sauce for sandwich meat.  The burnt ends contain tons of flavor and as far as sandwiches go, they are my favorite! 
slicing the "butt" portion of the point
slicing the middle portion


A lot of this has been quick and dirty, but these are the basics.  I am 4 for 4 on successful briskets, and I tell you the leftovers don't last long...if there are any!  Give it a try, you will be glad you did.  If you have further questions drop me a line and I will discuss it more with you.  Good luck!








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