Brisket is a finicky beast. No cut of meat will thwart your smoking skills like the BBQ beef brisket. However, this brisket recipe on the Big Green Egg (or your barrel smoker) is foolproof. The secret? The ol’ KISS method. Keep it simple, stupid. It’s not personal. It’s only business. Brisket business. So follow these simple directions for the best damn brisket this side of heavenly beef.
- 8-12 pound whole packer brisket
- 1/2 cup non-iodized salt
- 1 cup coarsely ground pepper
First, buy a packer brisket (flat and point), and don’t separate them. They need each other to cook correctly. The flat (leaner) needs the point (fattier), and vice versa. Second, buy a Prime cut. Yes, it will cost more, but it’s worth it. If you have to settle for Choice, fine. But don’t even bother with Select or lesser cuts. You’ll waste your day—or night—smoking tough meat. Brisket is a 12-hour commitment.
You can also waste your time making a brine and soaking your meat, but there’s no need. A Prime brisket needs no soak. And you don’t need to make a complicated rub with numerous herbs and spices. The meat is the star.
A simple 2-1 ratio of pepper to salt will do the trick. Make sure the salt is non-iodized. And the pepper is best when freshly cracked. Many recipes call for a 1-1 ratio of pepper to salt, but I find that to be too salty. By doubling down on pepper, you get a spicier, crunchier crust.
Trim the brisket. Basically, remove the excess fat and silver skin. Don’t be afraid to hack away at fatty chunks and tough-looking pieces of meat. Leave about 1/4-inch fat on the bottom. Next, mix the 1 cup of pepper and 1/2 cup of salt. Cover the entire brisket with the salt-pepper rub (sidebar, I grind the excess fat and trimmings to make sausage).
Green Egg Setup
- Lump charcoal
- Oak or pecan chunks/chips
- Fireproof gloves
- 2 foil pans
Fill up your Egg with lump charcoal and ignite. Wait for the Egg to get up to 500-600 degrees (usually takes about 20 minutes). Place a metal/foil pan directly on the charcoal (you’ll need fireproof gloves for this), filled with two cups of water and a couple handfuls of wood chips (I love pecan and oak). Add a couple more handfuls of wood chips directly on the charcoal. Now you’re smoking!
Place the convEGGtor (indirect convection shield) on the Egg. I like to put a foil pan on top of the convEGGtor to catch the drippings, too (it makes a great base for BBQ sauce). Add the grate. Place the brisket on the grate (fat-side up). Close the lid. Set temperature to 240 degrees. A fluctuation between 225 and 250 degrees is normal, but try to stay between 230-240 degrees.
Smoke, Store, Slice, Serve
Smoke the meat until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. At this point, you should have great looking bark. Now, wrap the brisket in non-waxed butcher paper.
Return the wrapped meat to the Egg. Continue smoking until brisket reaches an internal temperature of 200-203 degrees (about five more hours for this 10-pound cut).
Remove the wrapped brisket, wrap in an old towel, and place in a cooler for at least one hour to let the juices settle.
When you are ready to serve, unwrap the meat, and slice against the grain. I like to separate the flat and point immediately. Then I slice the flat, followed by the point.
This 10-pound brisket (after trimming) took about 12 hours on the Egg, with a one-hour resting period in the cooler.
8 Step Brisket
- Buy 8-12 pound packer brisket (preferably Prime)
- Trim fat, silver skin, and tough pieces of meat (leave 1/4-inch fat cap)
- Cover with 2-1 ratio pepper-salt rub
- Smoke at 240 degrees until meat reaches internal temp of 160 degrees
- Wrap in butcher paper
- Smoke until brisket reaches internal temp of 200-203 degrees
- Wrap in towel and place in cooler for at least 1 hour
- Slice meat against the grain