Brisket Basics in 5 minutes
It's the holy grail of my barbeque experience ... my Everest. The brisket is, hands-down, the most difficult barbeque category to cook and to master. I do not consider whole-hog in this rating system, because 1) not everyone has the time/money/resources/mouths to barbeque an entire hog. Do you know how much it costs just to purchase a whole hog ready for barbeque? In the hundreds of dollars. Add the costs of ingredients to make the injections for a 100-pound hog, rubs, charcoal and wood .... my friend, you have yourself a barbeque to charge admittance to.
In Texas, Barbeque is beef, not pork. Heck, in my own mind, barbeque would have nothing to do with pork, except for the fact that ribs are so delectable.
The brisket if the fore shank of the cow carcass (as shown in the diagram). In terms of the overall cow, the brisket is a very tough piece of meat, with not much fat except on the outside edges. It is a cut that can cause delight or dismay when pulling it forth from the smoker. In the 1800's, during slavery in America, plantation owners and ranchers would give the brisket to the slaves, because it was considered in inferior cut of meat. And back then it was just that.
But the slaves came up with a method to make the brisket moist, supple, and perhaps the most delicious part of the cow. The method was called barbeque. OK, so barbeque wasn't invented by the slaves, but the slaves' method of cooking the brisket in a slow, smoky, moist environment is what worked for them, and it is the way that it still done today. Because of the peculiar nature of the brisket and it's fat structure, this method is the only one that ensures the meat will turn out tender and moist.
The flat cut is usually the top of the brisket and it the leanest and prettiest section of the brisket. It's often called the "point." The bottom portion of the brisket is not a s pretty, quite a bit fattier, and tends to have random marbling or even tough pieces of tissue. Some Texas barbeque houses call this meat cut as having "flavor." But of course, they mean fat.
Brisket, much like all barbeque, must be cooked slow, at a low temperature, and preferably with a lot of smoke. The brisket is a great cut of meat to show of your smoke ring abilities, so load up on the smoke. I take Dr. BBQ's advice for cooking a championship brisket by following these steps:
1. Rub or schmear your brisket