Smoking Small – 8 lb Brisket

Unless you’re buying a small, pre-trimmed brisket for the same price as a full un-trimmed, you’re probably buying a 15-20 lb un-trimmed piece of beef. I’m pretty picky when it comes to choosing a brisket. I like the fat to be light yellow, not brown. The brisket should easily bend when lifted from the center and the packaging should not be loose or bloated looking around the meat. The color should be clean and red, no blemishes or weird discolorations.

This time, I chose to use a traditional Texas rub, instead of my own blend to see how it would come out.

Not bad, but I still prefer my own rub. So, if you’re smoking anytime soon, you might enjoy this.

1-15 lb. Brisket, un-trimmed

1/4 c fresh cracked pepper

1/3 c kosher salt

1 c apple juice

1 c beef broth

4 c apple, cherry, oak smoking chips

The first thing I did was remove about 1/3 of the full brisket and saved it for corned beef (this is mainly where the tallow came from).

I then trimmed all but about 1/2 inch of fat from the fat cap on the remaining brisket. Remove all silver skin and most of the fat from the top side of your brisket. Use the fat for tallow to make gravies, basting certain dishes etc. This left me with an 8 lb brisket. Sizes and weights will vary.

Once done trimming, combine salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and season each side of the brisket generously. I usually use pink salt to create the smoke ring I usually demand in my brisket but, have never accomplished without it. In this case, I completely forgot. So, if you do want to create your own ring to ensure that beautiful trademark pink line is prevelant throughout your brisket, simply spread some pink curing salt over your brisket and allow to sit about 7 minutes. Rinse well and proceed to season.

These are two different briskets I’ve smoked using the pink salt and you can see in my post pic that this pink line is non-existent.

Once the brisket is seasoned, wrap it up in plastic wrap and place in a container. Allow to cure 1-2 days. Plan to smoke your brisket for 1 hour and 20 minutes per pound.

When you are ready to smoke your brisket, remove from the refrigerator, unwrap and allow to sit at room temp for about an hour. During this wait, move your smoking rack just above the center of the smoker. Fill the smoke chip tray with your chips. Set the smoker on 225° for 1 hour past the desired time of smoking process. This will depend on the size of your brisket.

Fill a spray bottle with the broth and apple juice. Set aside.

Once the brisket and smoker have been sitting for 1 hour, transfer the brisket the your smoker, fat side up. Insert your temperature probe into the center of the thickest part of the meat and set it. Your probe should have a magnet for you to stick on the side of your smoker. Get that in place and seal the door. Allow to smoke for 1 hour before spraying generously, top and bottom, with the liquid mixture.

During the smoking process, you’ll need to change out the wood chips, or add to, as they burn off. Make sure to spray your meat about every 30-45 minutes.

Once the brisket has raised to 180° F, remove from the smoker and wrap in plastic wrap then, foil.

Wrap it up well and place in an insulated cooler. Cover with kitchen towels and close the lid. Allow to rest a minimum of 1 hour before slicing or you’re going to have a ridiculously dry brisket.

(IF you ever do end up with a dried out brisket, you can save it a bit by filling a baking dish half way with the spray mixture, slicing it up, place in the dish, cover and bake at 200° for roughly 2-3 hours.)

When the brisket has rested a while, thinly slice against the grain. Rule of thumb is to serve 1/3 lb per person but, it’s not set in stone so, do what you like.

I served this with boudin stuffed jalapeños, and Mexican street corn.

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