HOW TO SMOKE A BRISKET FLAT? A PERFECT FLAT BRISKET RECIPE

WHAT IS BEEF BRISKET FLAT?

Smoking a beef brisket flat is a beautiful thing! A flat (also known as a deckle) is a long, rectangular cut from the breast section of a cow. It’s one of the less expensive cuts, and it’s perfect for smoking because it’s very tender. You can choose from two kinds of flat: the first is the “first cut flat” and the second is “second cut flat.

WHAT IS BEEF BRISKET FLAT?

Beef brisket is a cut of meat with a lot of fat. It’s considered a tough cut, but it can be great for smoking. The smoking process imparts a unique flavor to the meat, making it tender and delicious.

More brisket flats are often sold at the butcher shop in addition to whole briskets. This way, you can buy a normal size flat rather than a large one if you’re just cooking for two, and you don’t have the time to smoke a whole one.

BRISKET FLAT VS. POINT CUT

You may have seen “flat” and “point” on menus or at grocery stores, but are unsure of the difference. There are two cuts of meat that are different muscles, connect by fat. One side is called the flat, which is lean and less tender than the other side, which is called the point. The point is often used for burnt ends because it’s marbled and more tender. Both cuts come from the same section of the cow i.e., breast.

This area sees lots of movement, making it unsuitable for quick-cooking methods. Slow cooking methods, on the other hand, will render all the fat into delicious textures and flavors.

A whole brisket is typically sold to customers in the butcher case, not just individual cuts. It can range in size from 12 – 18 pounds, depending upon the butcher. One side of the cut will have fat that covers the meat, while the other side will have less fat and more silver skin.

THE CHALLENGES OF LEAN BRISKET

·         Brisket might be difficult to cook due to a leaner portion, but it’s worth the struggle. To get that tender, fall-apart meat experience, you need to dissolve a lot of collagen into gelatin. This is why slow cooking is such a helpful tool: it allows the whole piece of meat to cook at collagen-dissolving temperatures without burning. For this very reason, brisket is considered a famous BBQ meat!

·         A lot of people don’t know this, but the flat of the brisket is a slice of naturally tough meat. It is a leaner portion, so you should be careful not to dry it out. This leanness does come with a trade-off: The point has tons of fat, which gives it a juicy and tender texture. SOLUTION: To keep your meat moist while cooking, we’ll take advantage of the fat cap and add some liquid.

Most brisket flats come trimmed on one side with the fat cap remaining on the other. To cook a flat with a fat cap, Malcolm Reed of the Killer Hogs BBQ team leaves it untouched. This offers a layer of insulation between the meat and the heat source, keeping the meat from drying out too quickly.

·         The stall can be a problem in cooking smoked brisket flat. It happens when the proteins constrict and release their inner water reserves. This water then surfaces to cool the meat down, which can stop it from cooking for a while. The meat sweats are caused by the release of water on the surface of the meat, which makes it difficult for the meat to cook any further.

BENEFITS OF LEAN BRISKET FLAT CUT

·         The first and perhaps the greatest advantage is that brisket flats are thin and of uniform thickness. They also have better thermal properties than a whole brisket. Whole briskets are strangely shaped with different height parts, resulting in uneven cooking. The point of the brisket is often overcooked, while the flat is undercooked. By cooking the flat alone, you can achieve better thermal control.

·         Another advantage of brisket flats is how quickly they cook. A whole packer might take 10 hours, but a flat will only take 5 hours at most. And because they are so much thinner, flats can be cooked simultaneously with less hassle than a whole packer.

·         The final advantage to cooking a flat cut of brisket is its ease of service. With only one direction of the grain, you can simply slice it and serve—easier than cutting the more difficult-to-handle whole cut of brisket!

PREPARATION

The first step in the preparation of every recipe is to cut the brisket beautifully and artistically because the whole juiciness and cooking process depends on it.

HOW TO SMOKE A BRISKET FLAT

How to Cut a Brisket Flat?

A sharp knife, a fat cap, and a steady hand are needed to get started.

You need to trim down your beef brisket before it’s ready for cooking. Make sure the fat cap is no more than 1/4 inch. This fat can be too thick and will not render fully.

Removing Excess Fat

The next step is to cut away any excess fat pockets and silver skin. Too much fat on the brisket will make it difficult to render and make for uneven cooking, doesn’t matter how powerful the recipe you’re following!

The brisket is arguably the most difficult cut of meat when it comes to smoking. While it has a lot of fat running through its body, the problem is that it is difficult to season the part that is buried in the fat. This can make smoking a brisket an intimidating affair. So, discard the excess.

One side of the brisket flat will have much more fat from the fat cap, and the other with much less fat and much more silver skin.

Pro tip: When smoking, leaving some of the fat on your meat is not only an excellent way to keep it moist, but it also acts as an insulator against the heat coming from the smoker. If your smoker has a hot bottom, then place the fat cap toward that section and vice versa.

SEASONING FOR BRISKET FLAT CUT

After trimming and searing the flat, it’s time to season it. In our recipe, we start with a binding agent—we use extra virgin olive oil. The binding agent allows dry rubs to stick to the meat. We typically use 2 tablespoons of oil for this cut. For seasoning, we are using a jazzed-up version of our beef seasoning, which is equal parts kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and granulated garlic.

COOKING A BRISKET FLAT

Smoking a brisket flat is basically the same as smoking any other brisket, but with a few different techniques to help ensure a tender and juicy result.

COOKING A BRISKET FLAT

But before we put the meat on the smoker, we need to take the time to make sure the flat is perfect so it will match up with our expectations.           

Begin by thoroughly washing the outside of the flat under cool, running water. This will remove any excess salt or possible bacteria that might be on the surface of the brisket.

A Dry Rub!

A brisket recipe lives and dies on the quality of its rub. To achieve that crusty bark on the outside, you’ll need to apply a strong and flavorful rub all around the brisket. You can go with traditional mustard or a blend of herbs and spices.

Setting Temperatures

To cook brisket the right way, you need to know your temps. To smoke brisket flats, you’ll want to set your pit-channel to have a high alarm at 275°F (135°C) and a low alarm at 225°F (107°C). If you’re not careful about how hot it is, the temperature in the grill will spike or stall out. You’ll need to be alerted on your phone if anything’s wrong.

Grilling

Place the brisket on the smoker, and smoke until the internal temperature is between 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit. To monitor the internal temperature, we recommend using a Bluetooth probe that you can place in your smoker. Camp Chef 24″ Woodwind Pellet Grill is a better option to consider as it comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology. It will measure the ambient temperature of the smoker and the meat’s internal temperature, which will help you to cook more precisely.

Wrapping

Once the flat hits 165 to 170, remove any probes and place the fat cap side down onto two sheets of butcher paper. Pour the basting liquid over the brisket and tightly wrap up the paper. Insert the thermometer again into the thickest part of the flat. Continue smoking until it reaches an internal temperature between 200 – 210 degrees Fahrenheit using a separate instant-read meat thermometer probe. No two smoked brisket flats are ever the same.

The best you can do is to buy Traeger Grills Pro 575. It has a built-in meat probe so no need to buy an external one.

Let it rest!

Brisket has the power to be the most tender meat when smoked at the right temperature. After it is done, cut off the heat source and let it cool at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before you slice it. This allows all the juices to redistribute in the meat, while the flavors soak in.

Slicing

Slicing the brisket is the hardest part. After it’s rested, be mindful about how you slice it. You want to cut perpendicular to the grain, so you’ll likely cut at an angle and get various-sized pieces. This helps keep the cells intact and will give you tender slices. You must use a cutting board for perfect slices.

THE STALL

If you’re cooking brisket, you may experience a stall. This is when the meat will stop cooking even though the temperature is still rising. It’s usually around 165°F when this happens. But don’t worry! That’s normal when the meat is sweating (or rendering) and when the heat is decreasing. Keep waiting patiently until the lower temperature starts to rise again.

Then you can use your aluminum foil crutch. Add some broth to the aluminum foil to keep the moisture content high and to make tasty sauce later!

HOW TO GRILL BRISKET FLAT WITHOUT A WRAP?

Smoking a brisket can be a long, difficult process and many choose to wrap the meat in foil. Wrapping the meat will help it cook faster and be more tender — but it will also make the meat lose its exterior flavor. A good way to balance these two options is to smoke the brisket most of the time without wrapping it and then finish off by wrapping it with aluminum foil. This will give you the best of both worlds: a tender cut of meat and some exterior flavor.

SMOKED BRISKET FLAT BURNT ENDS RECIPE

Ingredients

1 Brisket Flat, about 6 lbs.

2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard (as required)

1 Tablespoon BBQ rub of your choice

1/4 Cup Your favorite BBQ sauce

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter                               

Procedure

·         Start the process by following the manufacturer’s instructions for getting the temperature up to 250°F.

·         The side of the brisket with the most fat should have about 1/4” of fat left on it, but not too much or too little. The side of the brisket with no fat should have as much silver skin removed as possible.

·         Mix together the mustard blend and rub on top of the meat, and use a spoon or your hands to smear it all over, making sure to coat all sides. Repeat with the rest of the meat.

·         Place the brisket in your smoker. Smoke it until the brisket reaches 160°F, then split it in half and cut one half into cubes. Combine the cubed brisket with BBQ sauce, butter, and brown sugar in a disposable aluminum pan and cover. Wrap the other half of the brisket in foil, not too tightly though, you don’t want to brush any of the rubs off. Continue cooking until the wrapped area of the brisket reaches the final temperature of 200°F.

·         Remove the foil from the brisket, and continue to cook the beef cubes, burning the ends and growing the sauce. Meanwhile, let the whole piece rest for one hour in an empty cooler. After the hour is up, slice the meat against its grain into any thickness you desire. For a little extra flavor, brush your favorite BBQ sauce on top.

·         Cut the burnt ends off the brisket at the end of the cook, on a cutting board, and enjoy the slices and ends immediately. Brisket flats will dry out quickly if not eaten right away.

RELATED POST: HOW TO SMOKE BRISKET AT 225: A PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE

IT’S TIME TO ENJOY THE SMOKY MEAL WITH THIS GREAT RECIPE!

Smoking meat is an art. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to learning it. You have to practice. And, of course, expect some fails. But don’t worry, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process. Whatever you do, don’t give up. The whole point of learning something is to have fun while you’re at it. If you’re not having fun, then why bother?

HAPPY COOKING!

FAQs

1.  How to store brisket?

Answer: Fret not! If you have leftover brisket, it is okay and easy to store and keep. Cover the brisket with parchment paper and then wrap it tightly with some aluminum foil. Keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can have the best brisket taste even after days of cooking!

2.   How to reheat brisket flat?

Answer: If you’re in a pinch and need to reheat your brisket to enjoy the big flavor again, preheat the oven to 350°. Wrap the cold slices of brisket in foil. Reheat the foil packets for 15-20 minutes, or until heated thoroughly. You can place the wrapped brisket directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet.

3.  How to cook beef brisket in the oven?

Answer: Here’s how to make the quintessential pot roast but you must be prepared for the long cooking time.

Start by preheating your oven to 300°, putting a rack inside a large roasting pan, and then adding the brisket, fat side up, in the middle of aluminum foil. Cover it loosely with the heavy-duty foil, leaving a little space between the brisket and the foil. Place it in the oven and cook for about an hour and 15 minutes per pound until it reaches 185° internally.

Now open the foil and bake for another cook time of 40-45 minutes until it reaches 200 degrees. Use a thermapen to check the internal temperature. Once you’re done with this slow-cooked brisket flat, take out the brisket and slice gently to serve.

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