Smoked brisket with Weber smokey mountain cooker
|Walnut cutting board similar here|
|Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker - sale here|
We always enjoyed Taxes style smokey brisket, and finally made our mind to cook smoked brisket. It is also fitting to learn the new skill in the current stage since we cannot go to a restaurant.
First, here are the necessary components we used:
- High quality brisket: ours is from Wholefoods, a small (5 lb) but nice brisket mostly the point part
- Salt and pepper: we used sea salt and free pepper
- Smoker: Weber smokey mountain cooker 18 inch
- Temperature probe and thermometer: we used two probes, and Weber iGrill 3 installed on a Weber Genesis gas grill
- Charcoal and wood chunks
- Rapidfire Chimney starter
The other tools include foil/butcher paper, cooler, boning and slicing knifes, grinder, shaker.
Brisket meet preparation:
There are many approaches to prepare brisket meat. The key is proper trimming, and seasoning. You want to trim the brisket when it is cold so fat can be easily cut off, use a sharp knife to trim down fat to about ¼ inch layer. You could also buy trimmed brisker.
We used a simple method to season the brisket meat by using only sea salt and fresh pepper. We used 1/4 cup of salt and pepper each (measured before grounding), grinded using a KitchenAid Coffee & Spice Grinder down to small pieces not too fine, placed in a salt/pepper shaker and shake to well mixed, then sprayed onto the brisket surface on all sides. We seasoned the brisket the night before and kept the seasoned brisket in a refrigerator overnight. Make sure to take out the brisket meat from refrigerator an hour before cooking so it can come up to room temperature.
We researched where to place the smoker. The fire safety direction is to place it one foot from any combustibles and based on this we placed the smoker on the deck near the gas grill so we could use the thermometer built in the gas grill. It turned out fine, the smoker body is hot (~200 F) but the heat towards the surrounding is minimal.
To start the smoker, first place charcoal on the charcoal grate. The required amount of charcoal varies with the total cooking time, and you can always add charcoal during the cooking. We used the Rapidfire Chimney starter to ignite some charcoals, by placing the chimney starter half filled with charcoal on a propane gas burner. It took about 10 minutes for these charcoals to be ignited, then you can carefully dump them inside the charcoal on the grate. We placed the burning charcoals in the center of grate. At this moment, you can place several wood chunks on the charcoals. After that, put the smoker together, and fill the water pan with hot water. We also wrap the water pan with aluminum foil to make it easy to clean afterwards. This startup process is simple and very clean.
The key of cooking a nice brisket is to control the smoker temperature. The temperature should be controlled around 250 F. The Weber smokey mountain cooker and most other smokers use air intake dampers to adjust the available air for charcoal combustion, and thus control the burning intensity and cooking temperature. We adjusted the air intake dampers (there are three) and ultimately reduced down to approximately ¼ inch opening for all thee intakes. The air outlet can be reduced down but should NEVER be closed. Monitoring the temperature using the thermometer. We used the Weber iGrill 3 with a thermocouple sensor inserted inside the cooking chamber to monitor the temperature through a phone app with Bluetooth connection, pretty fancy.
We also used another thermocouple probe to monitor the brisket temperature. The probe was inserted inside the meat. Once the meat was placed on the grill, the meat temperature increased quickly and reached 140 F in about two hours. The temperature increases much slower after that and it took two and half more hour to reach 165 F. This stage is the famous “stall”. The “stall” of temperature is attributed to the heat balance of evaporative cooling of meat water evaporation and external heating. It is the same way as we human feel cooler when sweating. This brisket meat is a small one of 5 lb and a larger brisket could require much more time to pass the stall stage.
One way to beat the stall and maintain the moisture in meat it to wrap it with foil or butcher paper. We took the meat out and wrap it with foil and placed it back to smoker quickly. You can see the big temperature dip in the temperature history at around 5 hour mark. Wrapping the meat reduces the evaporative cooling and temperature increased faster after that. We removed the brisket from smoker when the temperature reached 200~205 F. It took around 6 hours to smoke this brisket. It is important to set the cooking time based on temperature if possible, instead of following the general cooking time guideline.
After the brisket was removed from smoker, do NOT remove foil/butcher paper, instead wrap it with an old towel and place in a cooler for one to two hours. Use a container or add more wrap to avoid juice leak. This provides time for juices to distribute and result in more flavorful brisket.
Now is time to serve, though this is the first smoked brisket we cooked, it is definitely delicious, and everyone in the family enjoyed.
- Prepare meat by trimming fat down to ¼ inch thick.
- Season with fresh grounded sea salt and pepper, and sit overnight in a refrigerator.
- Use a chimney starter and a gas burner to start, it is efficient and clean.
- Maintain smoker temperature at around 250 F, fine tune until you understand the smoker performance.
- Monitor meat temperature instead of relying on cooking time guideline; remove meat at the temperature of around 165 F, wrap it with foil/butcher paper, continue cooking until reaching 200~205 F.
- Resting brisket for 1 to 2 hours by insulating to keep the temperature before serving.
|Use any corn bread mix, but add pine nuts! You will enjoy the difference! I also like to add 3 minutes boil at the end of baking.|