With Independence Day falling on a Monday this year, I predict folks will be out grilling in droves for the long holiday. If this happens to be you, maybe you’re considering cooking up a nice slab of brisket from your own WBD beef.
Brisket is one of those cuts of meat that I feel is “not what it seems”. Brisket used to be one of the cheapest (aka lowest quality) cuts from a beef, and very often is turned into hamburger without a second thought. It admittedly is a fairly tough piece of muscle due to its location on the bovine. It is chock full of connective tissue (being cut from the heavily exercised pectoral muscle), which if not broken down well in the cooking process can make for a chewy piece of leather. You’re probably familiar with corned beef and pastrami – two common uses for the brisket. Lately, thanks to huge improvements in the design of the at-home smoker, the lowly brisket is rising to the top of the food chain, so to speak, and the top of the budget.
If your portion of the beef animal contains the brisket, and you opt not to turn it into burger, you now need to tackle cooking it. This is where the “not what it seems” part begins. If it’s cooked well, it will be scrumptious. If not, you will be sorely disappointed. I recall the words written on so many of my grandmother’s old recipe cards: “Low and slow”. I mean, REALLY low and REALLY slow.
PJ recently cooked up a half brisket the other day, and it hit the “scrumptious” side of the meter. His trick? Marinate your thawed brisket for a full day. Use whatever your favorite marinade is, but let it sit covered in the refrigerator for a full 24 hours to let those connective tissues break down well. Then place it on your backyard smoker (we use a Traeger), uncovered. You can baste it or season it however you like, but this day he used his old standby Chicago Steak Seasoning. Please note here, we are only Traeger aficionados, NOT experts. We’re usually happy with what comes off the Traeger, though, so we must be doing something kinda right. On this particular day, PJ set the grill to 250* and let it cook for 5 hours, then raised the temp to 325* and cooked it for another 4 hours. I know some people speak of “searing” the meat at a high temp first, then cooking it. I am certain this would improve the flavor and tenderness even more. Slice and enjoy! If beef can taste like candy, I think this would be close.
And on that delicious note, we hope you all have a fantastic Fourth of July weekend. Stay safe, celebrate your freedoms and eat beef!