The Big Cut


The History and Art of Cooking Smoked Beef Brisket

The Origins of Smoked Beef Brisket

Smoked beef brisket is a staple in American BBQ, particularly known for its deep roots in Texas. The tradition of smoking meats dates back to indigenous peoples and early settlers who used smoking as a method of preservation. In Texas, this technique evolved into an art form, with beef becoming the primary meat of choice due to the state's rich cattle ranching history. Jewish immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries also contributed to the popularity of brisket, bringing their knowledge of slow-cooking tough cuts of meat.

What is Brisket?

Brisket comes from the lower chest or breast of the cow. It's a tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue, making it ideal for slow-cooking methods like smoking. A whole brisket is usually divided into two parts: the flat (or first cut) and the point (or second cut). The flat is leaner and slices more neatly, while the point has more fat and is often more flavorful.

How to Smoke Brisket

  1. Preparation: Start by trimming the brisket, removing excess fat while leaving enough to keep the meat moist during smoking.
  2. Seasoning: Apply a generous rub using our Feedlot Crossbreed seasoning, which perfectly enhances the natural flavors of the brisket.
  3. Smoking: Smoke the brisket at a low temperature (225-250°F) for several hours. The process can take anywhere from 10 to 18 hours depending on the size of the brisket and the desired doneness.
  4. Wrapping: Often, the brisket is wrapped in butcher paper or aluminum foil midway through the cooking process to help retain moisture.
  5. Resting: Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 203°F, let it rest for at least an hour before slicing.

For a detailed recipe, check out our Smoked Brisket Recipe.

How to Slice Brisket

Proper slicing is crucial for a perfect brisket. Always slice against the grain to ensure tenderness. For the flat, thin, uniform slices are ideal. The point, being fattier, can be sliced slightly thicker or even chopped for sandwiches.

Serving Sides

Smoked brisket pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides:

  • Coleslaw: A tangy, crunchy counterbalance to the rich brisket.
  • Potato Salad: Creamy and hearty, a classic BBQ side.
  • Baked Beans: Sweet and smoky, they complement the deep flavors of the brisket.
  • Cornbread: A slightly sweet bread that’s perfect for soaking up brisket juices.
  • Pickles and Onions: These provide a refreshing contrast and cut through the meat's richness.

In Conclusion

Smoking beef brisket is a labor of love, rooted in tradition and perfected over generations. By understanding its history, preparing it correctly, and pairing it with the right sides, you can create a BBQ masterpiece that honors this iconic dish.