Weight: 879g Aberdeen Angus joint from Sainsburys butcher.
Smoker: WSM with no water/sand in the pan.
Woodsmoke: Oak with a small amount of apple.
Charcoal: Supagrill charcoal briquettes – 2.5kg burning in a horseshoe fuse
So, my first consideration was to marinage the joint, and I did this with a recipe from SMF member called mythmaster:
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
The fat cap was almost 1/8 inch, and before marinading, I cut off any other bits of fat from the underside of the joint. Then it was into a clip-seal bag with plenty of marinade, and into the fridge for approx 20hrs.
Being such a small joint, and knowing that brisket needs time, I made the decision to lower the smoker temperature from 225F(107C) to 205F(96C), in my attempt to extend the time in the smoker.
1.40pm: I used a simple sea salt and coarse black pepper to season the meat after draining off the marinade, then it was onto the smoker.
I've only had my wsm for 5 days, but I have already found that using a horseshoe/snake/fuse style charcoal layout, as opposed to the minion method, allows me to control the smoker temperature more easily. With water in the pan, I can control the smoker at even lower temperatures which sould be good for some fish projects I want to try.
2.40pm: So, one hour in, I pull the vegetables I had beneath the brisket, which were part of SMF member Chef Jimmys Au Jus Recipe I planned to use:
1- Lg Onion,
3-4 Ribs Celery
3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic
Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,
THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,
2 Tbs Tomato Paste,
1/2 tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)
1-2 ea Bay leaf
5.30pm: The brisket IT was now at 165F(74C), and I had decided to foil, adding a small amout of au jus with the addition of a spoonful of cherry juice, then back onto the smoker.
At this point, I decided to raise and hold the temp to 225F(107C), mainly because I wanted the brisket ready at 6.45-7pm. I did notice a small stall in temperature movement, and then from about 176F(80C) to 192F(89C), the temperature increase was by 1 degree every 5 minutes.
At this point I pulled the brisket. I took it into the kitchen, drained off the juices, and left in the existing foil. I had no other foil to add, and no old towels to use either. I left the brisket like this to rest for exactly ½ hr.
When I came to slice, I was very happy with the smoke ring the meat had taken on, however the meat was, by colour, over cooked – like not pink at all.
I served the meat with celeriac, which was mashed with butter and coarse black pepper, which I have found goes very well with smoked meat, together with the vegetable used to make the au jus with.
The meat was unfortunately quite tough still. I have tasted smoked brisket once before – tender and juicy as it should be, and although my brisket had taken on a good smokey flavour, it was no where near as tender as I had hoped it would be.
I wanted to take more photos throughout this project, but didn't get around to it until it was time to pull the brisket, so I've attached just the one with some slicing done to show the bark, meat, and smoke ring.
If anyone can give me directions on how to work with small briskets like this, in achieving a more tender finished product, I would really appreciate your comments. Also if there are any other areas of my process that need adjusting or changing, please let me know.
I'm still new to smoking, and have found SMF to be a true college of knowledge, so thank you for all the recipes, advice, and good vibes that I get from this site!