Brisket in the Smoker Grill
Brisket is beef breast cooked for over 24 hours at 100 °C - the supreme discipline of American BBQ. Due to the long cooking time, the meat becomes as tender as butter and very flavourful - you’ll love it.
Ingredients for 15-20 people
We use the folded brisket from the Metro. This is then rubbed with a mix of chopped garlic, tarragon, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and then seasoned well with the Zarda Barbecue Rub. You can also get very good brisket from the butcher, if you ask for it. It’s important that some fat (but not too much) stays on the meat, otherwise the flavours cannot penetrate the meat. If you wish, you can leave the meat to marinate overnight in the fridge, but due to the 24 hour cooking time this is not necessary.
So that more can fit into the smoker (the meal is for 15-20 guests), the brisket should be folded again. For Long Jobs of 24 hours, only the final third (from the smoke outlet on) of the smoker should be occupied. There, the temperature is at its most even. To moisten the cooking chamber and to better maintain the temperature, a container with hot water should be placed facing the firebox.
At midday on the previous day, the smoker was fired with beech wood, as this meal was planned to be ready on Sunday at approx. 13:00-14:00. At the beginning there is a lot of smoke, as the meat only takes on the smoke in the first few hours. You should only use very dry wood which has been stored for at least 2 years. It is best to keep the Smoker wood inside the house for 2 weeks before using it, so that any residual moisture completely disappears. Damp wood creates bitter smoke, which does not taste good. Brisket should have a delicious smoky aroma, which is much finer than that of black forest ham. In addition to beech wood, I like to use oak wood, as it leaves a great glow and has an intensely smoky flavour.
Later, beech wood charcoal is used to retain the heat. Throughout the cooking process you should place a roasting thermometer in the meat in order to measure the core temperature of the meat. I recently acquired a digital radio thermometer - more on this in another report. The most important thing for a perfect brisket is an even temperature of 100 °C for 24 hours. It may be unsporting, but the next step works very well and saves you a night-shift at the Smoker. I haven’t experimented with a Minion Ring in the Smoker yet. This experiment will follow at a later date. In the late evening, place the meat in the oven with a top and bottom heat of 100 °C. Put some water in the drip pan under the meat.
In the morning, put the meat back in the heated Smoker, and it will be ready at midday after 24 hours. For the final 3 hours, the brisket should be unfolded again, so that a nice crust is created. The folding and re-folding process is only necessary because of the large amount of meat, otherwise you do not need to do this.
In the case of Long Jobs in the Smoker, at the beginning the temperature of the meat steadily rises and usually stays at 70 degrees for several hours. This phenomenon is called the Plateau Phase (or stall phase).
Explanation of the Plateau Phase
During this up to 4 hour long phase the temperature doesn’t increase, sometimes it even falls slightly. Previously it was believed that this was to do with the melting of collagen and the energy required for this. The collagen holds the meat together, and the slow cooking process changes it into Gelatine and makes the meat as tender as butter. That was wrong. The Plateau Phase occurs when the wet bulb temperature is higher than the temperature of the meat. The wet bulb temperature is the lowest temperature obtained by the evaporation of water into the air under constant pressure (evaporative cooling). The higher the humidity in the Smoker, the higher the wet bulb temperature. As soon as the surface of the meat dries out and all moisture is emitted, the wet bulb temperature sinks again and the core temperature continues to rise. Through mopping, the Plateau Phase is even extended, since the surface of the meat is artificially moistened and thus the meat is cooled through the evaporative cooling. As long as the meat can evaporate enough moisture to cool itself and to keep the humidity in the Smoker, the Plateau Phase will continue. Even a bowl of water in the cooking chamber can indirectly prolong the plateau phase, as the wet bulb temperature remains high due to the high humidity. If you wrap a piece of meat in foil, then the Plateau Phase does not apply.
The meat is ready at a core temperature of 95 degrees. If you stick to a temperature of 100 degrees, there is no brisket that can tolerate 24 hours. The temperature should not fluctuate, that is very important.
Result: Succulent and flavourful meat, juicy and very delicious. You will never forget the taste of your first brisket, as the flavours are unique, and you will quickly understand why it is worth undertaking a 24 hour marathon for a piece of meat. You will also understand the importance that the right amount of smoke has for the meat. Brisket freezes very well, and tastes fantastic in a sandwich.