Quantcast
My new book, The Four Fundamentals of Smoking, is available now!

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

If you are here, you are looking to tackle one of the hardest things a backyard pitmaster can do… smoking a whole packer brisket! Time and patience are necessities to success here. If you practice both, you too will turn out an amazing brisket!

A “whole packer” brisket comprises two muscles that sit on top of one another separated by a layer of fat. The flat (pectoralis profundus) is lean and more rectangular in shape. The point (pectoralis superficialis) is fatty and looks like a bulging mound of meat sitting on top. You can easily find brisket flats at most grocery stores, but for central Texas style barbecue, you want a “whole packer” brisket. What makes this central Texas style BBQ is the magic of this recipe. This brisket recipe uses a simple seasoning mix and post oak wood to flavor the meat. After 10-14 hours in your smoker, this will be the best BBQ by far you have ever cooked. Now sit back, grab an ice cold Shiner Bock, and enjoy this post How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

Start with your whole packer brisket sitting on a cutting board fat side down. Trim off all the excess fat, hard fat, and silver skin. 

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

Now flip the brisket over and trim the fat cap down to a 1/4″ thick. 

Use a little yellow miss youstard to act as a binder for the seasoning. Rub that all over the top and bottom of the brisket. 

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

Now season liberally the top and bottom of the brisket with your spice mixture.   

Let the brisket sit at room temperature while you setup and light your Big Green Egg.

Fill the firebowl of the Big Green Egg up with a layer of lump charcoal. Next place 4 – 5 chunks of Oak smoking wood. Fill the rest of the firebowl up with lump charcoal and start your fire. If you need a refresher course on how to do this, check out my post for How to set up your Big Green Egg for Low and Slow Cooking. Preheat the Big Green Egg to 250°F and wait for the smoke to turn to a light blue/gray color.

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

Once the temperature is stable at 250°F and the smoke is clean, place your brisket inside. I like do 2 things when smoking a brisket on my Big Green Egg: First, I place a small lump of smoking wood on the grate and place the brisket on top of that so it bows. This allows the fat and moisture to run off the surface of the brisket preserving the back. I got this tip from Henry Soo at Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ. Second, I use a 1/4 steam table pan filled with warm water to keep the environment nice and humid for this long cook. 

After the first 3 hours of the smoke, start spritzing the brisket every 45 minutes when you see dry spots forming. 

When the bark is set and the stall has started to break (typically 5-6 hours in to the cook and 165°F internal temperature) pull the brisket and wrap it. 

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

When you remove the brisket from the Big Green Egg, have two pieces of butcher paper roughly 30” long a piece overlapping and set aside for you to place the brisket on. 

Place the brisket about 1/3rd of the way up the overlapping butcher paper and spritz one more time with water. Add a few shakes of the spice mixture to the surface of the meat then wrap the brisket up in the paper.

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

From this point it is a waiting game as the brisket will rise in temperature from 170°F to 190° – 210°F. Here are the cues to look for with the actions to take letting you know when the brisket is ready to come off the Big Green Egg:

Temperature: brisket is two muscles joined together with a thick layer of fat. One muscle is large and fatty while the other is long, flat and lean. Both muscles will not reach temperatures at the same time. So, I like to take my cues from the flat as that is the hardest part to get right. Once your flat starts measuring 190° to 210° you are ready to move on to the final test to know if the brisket is done.

Feel: now that your flat is measuring between 190° – 210°, use the thermometer probe to check the flat and point for tenderness. You want the thermometer to go in and out of the brisket with little to no resistance. Think of it like poking a bag of mashed potatoes. That probe needs to slide in and out with ease. If you do not feel that, leave the brisket in your smoker and check every 30 minutes until that is the texture you feel when taking the temperature. Once you get that you are done… but you are not ready to eat yet. Remove the pan with the brisket from the smoker and get ready for it to rest.

Now that the brisket is off the Big Green Egg, crack the butcher’s paper wrap slightly allowing heat and steam to escape, put the semi-wrapped brisket in an aluminum pan (to catch and drippings), and let it sit at room temperature in until the internal temperature drops to 165° (usually an hour). This stops the carryover cooking and brings the temperature of the brisket to a place that is optimal for resting. Now take that brisket out of the aluminum pan (leaving it wrapped in the butcher paper), wrap it in plastic wrap, wrap that in an old towel, and place it in an empty cooler for 1 – 4 hours. This resting is a key step to getting your brisket as juicy as possible.

Finally, take the brisket out of the cooler and wrapping then place it on a cutting board. Separate the point from the flat by cutting through the deckle (fatty layer between each muscle). Now slice the flat in to pencil thin slices and the point can be cubed for burnt ends or slice against the grain for juicy fatty slices of brisket deliciousness.

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg

How to Smoke a Brisket on the Big Green Egg
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is the only recipe you will need to cook a whole packer brisket on the BIg Green Egg.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: BBQ
Serves: 12-16
Ingredients
  • 12-15 lb whole packer brisket
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • ½ cup cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup beef broth
Instructions
  1. Trim the fat cap of the brisket down to ¼”. Trim the large chunk of hard fat that sits between the point and flat muscles on the meat side of the brisket. Trim the sides and ends to be uniform in shape. Add the mustard to the entire surface of the brisket creating a light slather for the spices to adhere to. Mix together the Kosher Salt, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, and cracked pepper together in a shaker. Now, shake the spice mix evenly across all surfaces of the brisket. Let the meat sit out at room temperature for at least an hour before putting it on the smoker (this allows the meat to start cooking faster at the lower temperature. If you put a large cut of meat like this in the smoker cold, it will add up to an hour or more to your total cook time).
  2. Load the lump charcoal, light a small fire, set temperature to 250°F and add 2-3 chunks of smoking wood (preferably Hickory or Post Oak). In kettle smokers you will need to add a water pan to help keep humidity at that 70%-80% range. A Big Green Egg is so well insulated that you do not need to add a water pan to help manage humidity.
  3. Once you see the smoke turn from white to blueish gray, it is time to put your meat inside. Place the brisket fat side down in the Big Green Egg. The fat cap renders slowly during the long cook and will act as a barrier between the meat and the heat source helping to keep surface area from drying out. There is much debate on fat side up or down. For me, it depends on which cooker you are using. I have found when the heat source is below the meat, fat side down is the way to go.
  4. For the first 3 hours of the brisket cook, leave the brisket alone. Do not open the Big Green Egg for any reason. This first phase is where the pellicle is forming, and the most important smoke absorption occurs. After 3 hours that’s when the fun begins.
  5. As you are waiting to check in on the brisket after the 3-hour mark, now is the time to prepare a spray bottle to mist the brisket with for the next part of the cook. Fill your spray bottle with 3 parts water, 1 part apple cider vinegar, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
  6. Once you have made it through the first 3 hours of the cook you should have decent color forming on the outside of the brisket. You want to ensure your pellicle is not too dry or too wet. At this part of the cook, you may need to spray the outside of the brisket with the spritz mixture. To know, look inside the Big Green Egg and touch the surface area of the flat part of the brisket with your fingertip. Do not move or pick up the brisket as you do not want to interrupt the bark formation. You want the surface to be slightly sticky to the touch but not wet. If it is dry and streaky, spray the surface with a spray bottle full of the mixture. This will help the formation of the bark more than anything else. At this stage in the cook, most if not all of the smoke flavor has been absorbed into the meat. But the gases and oils being released from the wood smoldering inside the firebox need to adhere to the surface of the meat in order to form that dark color you want. To ensure that happens, making sure the surface area stays moist is key. You will want to do this every 30 minutes or so until you wrap the brisket after it breaks stall.
  7. Brisket is a very large, dense cut of beef. Over time as it cooks slowly inside the Big Green Egg, the fat and collagen break down releasing liquid. After 4 – 5 hours of total cooking time, the internal temperature will stick at one spot usually between 150° and 160°F. This temperature “stall” can last several hours and be frustrating. I suggest using a digital instant read thermometer to check the temperature of both the point and flat muscles. Make sure you are not putting the tip of the thermometer into the deckle (fat layer) as that will not give you accurate results. The best time to check the temperature is when you are looking at the brisket’s bark formation every 30 minutes or so. Open your Big Green Egg, observe the bark formation, take a temperature and note the changes.
  8. NOTE: My guidance to you is wait until the brisket breaks stall i.e. the temperature starts rising again before wrapping. In my experience, wrapping is not designed to break the stall but rather help tenderize the meat in the finally stages of the cook. Waiting until stall is broke helps you develop that deep, rich and dark bark you want.
  9. Once the internal temperature starts climbing by more than a degree from the stalled temperature, and your bark is a dark mahogany color and not streaking when you mist it, it is time to take off the Big Green Egg and wrap.
  10. You have a choice at this point to wrap in aluminum foil or butcher paper. To be direct, I have had success with both methods. However, I usually wrap in butcher paper now as it gives you a slight advantage to bark formation. Basically, paper allows the steam inside to release without getting trapped inside. This helps the bark get darker and provides the texture you want. Wrapping with foil usually speeds up the time to get the brisket probe tender but can impact bark formation. That is why most pit masters today wrap with the butcher paper. When you remove the brisket from the smoker, have two pieces of butcher paper roughly 30” long a piece overlapping and set aside for you to place the brisket on. Place the brisket about ⅓rd of the way up the overlapping butcher paper and spritz one more time with water. Add a few shakes of the spice mixture to the surface of the meat then wrap the brisket up in the paper. Place the wrapped brisket in a large aluminum pan with a cup of beef broth in the bottom. Place the pan with the brisket back in the smoker and let it cook until it is done.
  11. From this point it is a waiting game as the brisket will rise in temperature from 170°F to 190° - 210°F. Here are the cues to look for with the actions to take letting you know when the brisket is ready to come off the cooker:
  12. Temperature: brisket is two muscles joined together with a thick layer of fat. One muscle is large and fatty while the other is long, flat and lean. Both muscles will not reach temperatures at the same time. So, I like to take my cues from the flat as that is the hardest part to get right. Once your flat starts measuring 190°F to 210°F you are ready to move on to the final test to know if the brisket is done.
  13. Feel: now that your flat is measuring between 190° - 210°F, use the thermometer probe to check the flat and point for tenderness. You want the thermometer to go in and out of the brisket with little to no resistance. Think of it like poking a bag of mashed potatoes. That probe needs to slide in and out with ease. If you do not feel that, leave the brisket in your smoker and check every 30 minutes until that is the texture you feel when taking the temperature. Once you get that you are done… but you are not ready to eat yet. Remove the pan with the brisket from the smoker and get ready for it to rest.
  14. Now that the brisket is off the Big Green Egg, crack the wrap slightly allowing heat and steam to escape, put the semi-wrapped brisket in an aluminum pan (to catch and drippings), and let it sit at room temperature in until the internal temperature drops to 165°F (usually an hour). This stops the carryover cooking and brings the temperature of the brisket to a place that is optimal for resting. Now take that brisket out of the aluminum pan (leaving it wrapped in the butcher paper), wrap it in plastic wrap, wrap that in an old towel, and place it in an empty cooler for 1 – 4 hours. This resting is a key step to getting your brisket as juicy as possible.
  15. NOTE: I say 1 – 4 hours as the longer the brisket rests, the more the juices settle, and the collagen breaks down. The sweet spot for most people is 2 hours but you can wait and extra 2 as needed if it accommodates your serving time.
  16. Finally, take the brisket out of the cooler and wrapping then place it on a cutting board. Separate the point from the flat by cutting through the deckle (fatty layer between each muscle). Now slice the flat in to pencil thin slices and the point can be cubed for burnt ends (recipe on page xxx) or slice against the grain for juicy fatty slices of brisket deliciousness.