BBQ64/17: Franklin Style Brisket:
I have cooked brisket a few times and failed with it every time! It’s been a mixture of tough (undercooked) and tough, crumbly and dry (overcooked) through a variety of small flats for practice right through to a full packer. I knew the problem was mainly down to my technique and lack of experience with brisket but I know that there is only a small window of time with brisket to get it right. Whilst more experienced bbq cooks knock out great brisket from British beef I decided to try a USDA packer from Bob’s Butchers which due to the large anount of fat and marbling should increase my chances of cooking a good one!
Big slabs of meat take a long time to cook at 225F and I needed it ready for dinner but didn’t fancy being up all night. I have been re-reading Pitmasters and Franklin BBQ recently both of which suggest cooking at 275F instead of 225F. Artust has also mentioned this to me as he saw it on his epic road trip last year with more places cooking that bit higher. Artust also recommended that I buy a USDA brisket from Bob’s Butchers so I ordered one along with the beef and pork ribs.
I had a look through some of my books and the Franklin BBQ book had a simple rub of salt and pepper plus the quicker cook time from higher cook temperature so I decided to give it a try.
The brisket was a big old beast, guessing at least 5kg maybe 6kg and didn’t need much trimming at all. I made the salt and pepper mix with 1/2 cup of each then I used my spice shaker to apply it all over patting it in as I went:
I left it sitting out to warm up and for the rub to sink in whilst I got the smoker fired up. 2x 4kg bags of heat beads and a full chimney of lit lumpwood later it was settled at 275F and I put the brisket in fat side down. Folk get a bit worked up about fat side up (fat melts and bastes the meat) or fat side down (shield the meat from the heat) but I went for fat side down to try and make sure I didn’t dry the meat out by overcooking it with the heat below:
I put some oak chunks in which I topped up each hour but I left the smoker alone until 3 hours in when I spritzed with water:
The bark was starting to form and was browning up. I kept spritzing every 30 minutes (or so):
6 hours in it was starting to turn the “deep mahogany” colour Aaron mentions in his book and the bark was forming well:
It looked like it was still coming out the stall so I gave it another hour (7 hours total):
7 hours in I took it off the smoker and wrapped it tight (it was tighter than that top layer looks!) in a double layer of butchers paper (from Smithfield Casings) then put it back on the smoker:
I kept an eye on the internal temperature and appeared to hit a second stall at 190F which panicked me a bit. It was sat there for at least an hour so I was wondering if I should take it off in case it was drying out or leave it to try and push through the stall and aim for 203F. I have seen this before and took it off last time it happened but it was tough so I decided to leave it on this time and try to push through. Eventually it started rising so I left it until it hit 203F and I checked the texture by touch. It was feeling very soft at the point but slightly firmer at the flat so I gave it a little bit longer but I was getting nervous. After 11 hours cooking it was reading 203F in most spots and felt soft so I took it off and left it to rest for 90 minutes which actually softened it further.
I made the Franklin Coffee BBQ Sauce whilst the brisket was resting:
I was getting hungry and the smell of the brisket was driving me mad. I had to start slicing! When I unwrapped it I was very happy with the colour:
As per the instructions in Aaron’s book I sliced the end of the flat off and had a quick bite, it was fantastic and all my worries left me and I had a big smile on my face!
I cut a few slices off the flat which were very soft, moist and flexible which was a massive improvement on my previous attempts:
I took a slice to see how flexible it was:
We weren’t going to eat the whole thing between 2 of us so I didn’t slice all the flat to stop it drying out and moved up to the point and sliced the whole point off then rotating it and slicing it in half:
The point was even better than the flat! Softer still and even moister!
I think you have to do this if you cut a brisket:
As you can see it was very soft:
I started slicing so we could start eating, I cut the point a bit thicker than the flat:
One plate served up with the Coffee BBQ sauce which was very, very tasty:
I am so happy with this cook which is why there are so many photos on this page! Brisket has hung over me for a while as I just haven’t managed to do a good one and I felt this was my last chance to crack it so I was so happy when it came out so well!
Very interesting that the rub was just salt and pepper but it tasted so good, less is more and all that!
I loved the point part and my wife preferred the flat which works well. We did eat both parts but I had more point and she had more flat which works well!
I wouldn’t change a lot with this one except hopefully I will relax a bit more when I do it again. At some point it would be good to see if I can cook a British brisket to the same level but I will want to get a few more good cooks under my belt before trying that!
The higher cook temperature and reduced cooking time is very interesting. I am planning to do pork butt again soon so will try it at 275F to reduce the cook time.
Post updated with leftovers!
I had enjoyed the brisket so much I was genuinely counting down to lunchtime so I could eat more of it! I had some brioche buns and wanted to try and recreate the Smokestak brisket buns. The first one came out great but I didn’t get the presentation right on the second one, it tasted good though!
As if that wasn’t enough meat for 24 hours I had some more for dinner! This time using up the leftover hotlinks and pork rib meat as well – Brioche bun with brisket, pork rib meat, hot links, Franklin coffee bbq sauce and red chillies:
These were great rolls, 2 was too much though! Just one would be fine next time!