Grilling a Beef Brisket is Easier than you Think!
December 15, 2021
You may have been under the impression that grilling a beef brisket is one of the hardest things to do if you’re not a professional chef or seasoned grilling guru that has a whole bunch of competition trophies. That belief may be common – but it is certainly not true! The secrets to grilling a tender and flavor-packed brisket are simple and easy to remember.
Are you ready? Here are the secrets.
Here are the secrets! Maintain a level temperature in your covered grill, try and use an offset or zone grilling method, grill for a long time. Done!
The reason people have trouble with briskets is that they often don’t allow enough time for the grilling process of classic style “Low and Slow” cooking to render a proper result. Everyone is busy, it’s easier to toss a few steaks, burgers, chicken, and more on the grill and be ready to eat in only a few minutes.
But when you start grilling or smoking, cuts such as Boston Butts, racks of ribs, briskets, and such items then the cooking process needs to be lengthened. The key to grilling a beef brisket is understanding one important rule – Don’t rush! Your desired result is to transform a tough cut of meat into a finished product that is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor. The only way to do that is to use a constant low temperature for a long period.
Here’s what you need to do to grill the perfect beef brisket.
I'm not an amazing cook. But I can follow a recipe!
- R. McAdams
The Brisket: Look for a brisket that is around 6-8 pounds. There are actually two sections to a brisket, kind of a top and bottom for simplicity (flat and point), your local butcher may sell the combo, or one or the other. For this article, simply look for a 6-8 brisket to keep things simple, and don’t worry about the specific cut as this method works regardless. When you start competition grilling then you can dive more into the variations. Trim any huge pieces of fat away but don’t get rid of all of it.
Seasoning: Here’s where you can do whatever you want! Use your favorite seasoning mix for your brisket. You can select something simple such as steak seasoning, or a Tex-Mex blend, a Montreal-style mixture, a sweet and spicy barbecue blend, or simply sea salt and crushed pepper. BUT – also use moisture with your seasoning. Brush your brisket with liquid beef bullion, bullion paste, steak sauce, a hearty dark craft beer, whatever you like. Apply the moisture, rest, and apply your spices and set aside while you get your grill going.
Grill Set-Up: Try and set up your covered grill for offset or zone grilling. Simply put – put the heat on one side while your brisket is on the other side of the grill. A circle grill could use the ring method of hot charcoal around the edges with the brisket in the middle. The whole idea is to avoid grilling your brisket directly over the heat source like you would do a burger or steak. The low temps and long grilling time will help break down the connective tissue in the brisket making tender.
Temperatures: THE BIG TIP! Maintain a temperature in the chamber of your covered grill of 225°F. Place the brisket in position, and close the lid – grill for about 4 hours until you reach an internal temperature of the brisket reaches 160 to 170°F. At this point, brush your brisket with a liquid such as a thinned version of the sauce you used with the seasoning. Then, do this…
Grill or Oven: Here’s where you can move things from the grill to the oven. Or keep things going on the grill if you have enough charcoal and are not burned out on trying to maintain the temperature. This is not a concern of pellet grills and smokers. But this tip is worth considering. I do this all of the time when thunderstorms roll through the area and I have to move inside. Here’s what you do for either covered grill or oven. Remove the brisket from the grill grate and place it in a baking dish or heavy-duty aluminum pan. Add a cup of beef broth and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Continue cooking in the covered grill or preheated oven at 225°F. for 1-2 hours until your reach an internal of 185°F. You may jump to 195°F or higher as your brisket rests.
Rest and Slice: Now, remove the covered brisket from the heat. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes while still covered, then slice against the grain while allowing the slices to soak up some of the juices.
This article already seems more complicated than it should be since I tried to include as much detail as possible. The bottom line is that you should allow enough time to properly cook your brisket. If you rush, you’ll not achieve the tender results you are looking for.
Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR, and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.