first time ever cooking brisket
Brisket, believe it or not, is really hard to find where I live, without special ordering and even then some crazy minimums are needed. I found one at a farmers market and decided I would try it out. I am nervous as I have read a lot of major failures. Also it is big, so we will be cooking for a small group.
It is a 6.5lb brisket, trimmed, vacuum packed right now, but probably going into the freezer until the weather warms up enough to have an outdoor feast. We have a gas grill, a small smoke box and or the oven to choose from.
I have looked through a few recipes, some are simple some are pretty complicated. Any advice/help/recipes would be appreciated.
My thoughts for serving are some nice baps, a homemade bbq sauce, maybe beans, corn, coleslaw etc.
If you aren't an VERY serious bbq person. . . I would suggest looking for a recipe that just gets some smoke flavor outdoors, then is finished wrapped in foil with a bit of water what have you in a low oven. It might sound like cheating or fake bbq, but its a hell of a lot better than ruining a brisket.
I would say this is one way to go and good advice in general.....however, you have to get your feet wet sometime to start and hone your passion and skills. Even a novice can make an excellent brisket following the recipes and methods of others.....and it seems to me, that given you are about to attempt this effort very soon.....I would say you are a very serious BBQ person, or at the very least, on your way to becoming one.
Pulled pork is getting feet wet, brisket is falling in the deep end.
My disaster may have come from using a smaller piece of brisket though.
Either way you cook it: read a shitload of recipes and techniques and such. find one you are happy with and don't have to change. follow directions. don't try to wing it.
I agree with finding a recipe from a reliable source that you feel comfortable with. Something else I like to do when a recipe is complex and new is to REALLY study the recipe (print it out or photocopy it) and make notes, either in the margin or on new paper and also highlight to dicy bits. In other words, get to know it thoroughly. Read other recipes to corroborate what you have learned.
Give yourself adequate time to do the job properly, as well. If you freeze it, make sure you allow it time to thaw thoroughly in the fridge. The basic thing with brisket that I have learned is it must be cooked LOW AND SLOW. Too high of a temperature will turn it into a giant ball of rubber.
However you cook it, remember to slice it the correct direction (across the grain). Sounds bizarre, but if you cut it the wrong way, it will *seem* like you cooked it into tough awfulness.
I just made an 11.8 lb brisket this week for the office (going away party) and i make brisket a lot as part of a group from my church that feeds homeless people or shelter people.
I don't trim or anything. I use a Reynolds cooking bag (Turkey size) which, believe it or not, has brisket instructions inside. I just put a TB of flour and 1/2 cup water in the bag w/the brisket and cook according to time as instructed. I cook a little less time than they recommend.
Then I let it sit in bag undisturbed until it is just warm and put the entire shebang into the refrigerator as is. well, I take it out of my big turkey roasting pan and put it in a disposable aluminum pan.
I refrigerate it for 24 hours, then I undo the bag and take off all the fat (and there is a lot -- keep the trash can right next to you) but it is now congealed. It never gets real hard but it is easy to remove. I start with a knife, but always finish with my hands. I remove the top layer of fat from the cooking juices too, there is wonderful meat jelly underneath. You get the benefit of the fat while cooking and then you remove it, the brisket is juicy.
Then I slice it (with an electric knife) against the grain into neat slices. I put the slices and the meat jelly into the crock pot and pour bbq sauce over (I use KC Masterpiece)
There is never any left.