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PIA Brisket

disco

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Settle in and pour a beverage. This is a long one. It is a step by step for my PIA Brisket.

For those of you who don’t know my terminology, PIA stands for Pain in the Pants. I use it for dishes that are more work than I want to do every day, but that do improve the result. Here is my PIA Brisket recipe. I only do all this for special occasions as I am too lazy.

I make sure I always start with at least a grade A brisket (equivalent of your choice) but prefer an AA.

Trim the Brisket

Normally, you just cut the thickest fat layer down and cut out a couple of the hard parts of fat. This gives a decent result but, if you are really putting on fancy cooking, you will want to cut out all the hard fat. You will also be cutting off some of the meat.

Don’t cluck your tongue at me. I hate to waste meat as much as you do. You can use the meat trimmings in hamburger or sausage, but you will want to trim up the shape of your brisket. You will want to cut away any thin parts of meat that will overcook and the ragged edge of the brisket. Remember, you are making brisket art and every slice must be pretty as well as tasty.

I start by putting the brisket fat side down. There is a large of hard fat along one edge. Cut under the edge of that fat and cut most of it off.

PIA Brisket 01.jpg


On the other edge, the meat is usually rough and discoloured. I cut it off. Just take a thin slice off that edge.

PIA Brisket 02.jpg


You don’t have to worry about the fat on the meaty side. It will mostly render away. I do look for any loose flaps of fat and cut them off.

PIA Brisket 03.jpg


The corners of the thin end are too thin and square. They will overcook and not have a great texture. Cut them off to get a nice, rounded shape.

PIA Brisket 04.jpg


Turn the brisket over so it is fat side up. Cut the fat off in strips until it is ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Try not to scalp down to the meat but don’t panic if you do. You are trying to get a smooth layer of fat over the brisket. You really don’t want any divots or indentations that would let liquid build up and ruin your bark.

PIA Brisket 05.jpg


PIA Brisket 06.jpg


I find that burnt ends made from the point are the best part of a brisket. Some people totally remove the point and cook it separately to make the burnt ends. Heck, I do it. The idea is that separating it lets you get rub on all surfaces of the point. However, I think removing the point negatively effects the texture of the flat.

For my PIA brisket, I partially separate the point but leave it attached. That gives more surface for rub but still helps cook the flat well.

Put the brisket fat side down. You will see a line of fat a couple of inches from the thick end of the brisket. This is the fat line between the point and flat. Slice ½ inch (1 cm) into the fat line and lift the tip of the fat up.

PIA Brisket 07.jpg


Cut another ½ inch (1 cm) into the fat and lift more of the point.

PIA Brisket 08.jpg


Continue cutting and lifting until only about 3 inches (8 cm) of the point is attached to the flat.

PIA-Brisket-09.jpg

The point has lots of fat so trim the fat from the sliced area off the point.

PIA Brisket 10.jpg


PIA Brisket 11.jpg


Flip the brisket and cut the excess fat off the point section you separated.

PIA Brisket 12.jpg


PIA Brisket 13.jpg


If I am going all the way, I want big flavour! I usually don’t inject a brisket, but an injection adds to the flavour, so I inject my PIA brisket.

Inject and Apply Rub

I mix the following injection marinade:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) beef stock
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoon) soy sauce
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) onion powder
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) garlic powder
This makes enough for a large brisket. You can cut it back by 25% if you have a small one.

Inject the brisket every one inch or so. I find this easier to do from the meat side of the brisket. There will be some squirting so make sure you are ready to clean up before your spouse accuses you of making a mess.

PIA Brisket 14.jpg


Now I make up a rub. Again, big flavour is the key to my PIA Brisket. My rub ingredients are:

  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) Kosher salt
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) coarse black pepper
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) garlic powder
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) onion powder
  • 8 ml (1 ½ teaspoon) paprika
  • 8 ml (1 ½ teaspoon) ground dried chipotle
Mix them together and give all surfaces a generous coating.

PIA Brisket 15.jpg


Make sure to also apply the rub to the slice between the flat and point.

PIA Brisket 16.jpg


Cover the brisket with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight.

PIA Brisket 17.jpg


Cooking the Brisket

I cook my PIA brisket at 275 F (135 C). This gives a relatively short cook but still allows enough time to totally render the fat and collagen for a moist tender brisket. I like to use oak for my smoke, but competition blend, hickory or mesquite all give a strong flavour.

Now we get to a problem. How long will the brisket take to cook? Sigh. there is no exact answer to this. At 275 F (135 C) I find it takes about 40 minutes a pound to smoke a brisket to probe tender. Then you need 1 hour of resting time and 45 minutes to make the burnt ends. I like to add ½ hour in case there is a stall. So, I multiply the weight of my brisket in pounds by 40 minutes and add 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Remember, the brisket will stay warm in a cooler for hours, but you can’t rush it if it gets in a stall and takes longer.

Give me a moment. I must put my flak jacket and helmet on. I cook my PIA Brisket fat side up. I know competition Pit Masters will tell you that you get better bark if you cook it fat side down, but I think the texture is better fat side up and that is more important to me. If you don’t like it, get a ten-step ladder, and climb eleven steps. Then go ahead and cook it fat side down.

Put the brisket in the smoker and cook the brisket to an internal temperature of 160 F (70 C). Bring the brisket in to wrap.

PIA Brisket 18.jpg


I do not use foil for my PIA brisket. Foil gives a moist tender brisket, but it has more of a pot roast texture. I want moist, tender, and a great bit for my PIA brisket. Also, foil generates more steam that softens the bark.

I use unwaxed butcher paper. It keeps the brisket moist but doesn’t soften the bark.

I take two, four-foot lengths of paper and overlap them.

PIA Brisket 19.jpg


I put the brisket about ten inches from the end and fold the paper over the top of the brisket.

PIA Brisket 20.jpg


Fold the long edge over and crease it to stay in place.

PIA Brisket 21.jpg


Roll the brisket in the wrap to totally cover.

PIA Brisket 22.jpg


Put it back in the smoker and smoke to an internal temperature of 190 F (90 C). Then push a probe into the thickest part of the flat. If it goes in extremely easily, like butter, the brisket is done. If not, cook and test again every 20 minutes until it is very tender. When my brisket got to 193 F, the auger on my Traeger Timberline packed it in and I had to finish the brisket in the oven but I did the burnt ends in my Bradly P10. Sadly, the parts are on back order so there will be no product from the Traeger Timberline for a while.

Rest the Brisket

At this point the brisket has been cooking for hours. It needs to rest. This lets the meat relax and reabsorb its juices. Put an old towel in the bottom of a camp cooler and put the wrapped brisket on top of it. Add another old towel over the brisket and close the cooler. The brisket needs to rest for at least an hour and will keep warm for up to three hours.

PIA Brisket 23.jpg


Make the Burnt Ends

One hour before serving, have your smoker heated to 275 F (135 C). Take the brisket out of the cooler, unwrap it and cut the point you had separated from the flat. Rewrap the flat and put it back in the cooler.

PIA Brisket 24.jpg


PIA Brisket 25.jpg


Cut the point into one-inch cubes.

PIA Brisket 26.jpg


Put the cubes in a roasting pan. Sprinkle the cubes with your favourite brisket rub.

PIA Brisket 27.jpg


Add just enough of a sweet/spicy barbecue sauce to coat the cubes. You don’t want sauce pooling in the pan. You want just enough to give a nice layer to all sides of the cubes.

PIA Brisket 28.jpg


PIA Brisket 29.jpg


Smoke the cubes for 45 minutes, stirring once, until the sauce is caramelized on the cubes.

PIA Brisket 30.jpg


PIA Brisket 31.jpg


Slice the flat into pencil thick slices.

PIA Brisket 32.jpg


If the slices bend easily, you have success!

PIA Brisket 33.jpg


Serve!

PIA Brisket 35.jpg


PIA Brisket 36.jpg


The Verdict

This is my best brisket. The injection brings an umami flavour that enhances not overpower the beef. The rub gives a big spicy flavour that I love. The burnt ends are sweet/spicy and so tasty!

If this wasn’t so much work, it is the only way I would make a brisk

Disco
 

tx smoker

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Wow Disco, that's quite a project but the end result speaks for itself. Great job sir. And...what time is dinner?

Robert
 

disco

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Wow Disco, that's quite a project but the end result speaks for itself. Great job sir. And...what time is dinner?

Robert
You start driving and dinner will be waiting for you! Thanks, Robert.
 

yankee2bbq

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I agree with the others...Great Job!!

Also, very well written. Easy to understand and read!
 

TNJAKE

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Nice job disco. Those burnt ends look delicious
 

Winterrider

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Fantastic write up Disco. I have yet to do a full packer as availability is quite slim in my area. Bookmarking so when the time comes !
 

MJB05615

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Absolutely wonderful Disco! Really nice smoke ring too. As I get olderI'm finding it more and more difficult to do Briskets. But it's so rewarding in the end, unless it goes bad, lol. We love it so much, I have no choice but to do them when we can get them properly priced, it just takes me a little longer for the prep work. Thanks for sharing, another excellent cook with a great write up. Stay safe.
 

jcam222

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Looks great Disco. Trim job is the thing I have the least patience for. I’ll have to give your injections a go. Very nice results.
 

JCAP

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Looks really great! Love the burnt ends there but might light the take 11 steps off a ladder line even more!
 

disco

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I agree with the others...Great Job!!

Also, very well written. Easy to understand and read!
You are very kind! Thanks!

Nice job disco. Those burnt ends look delicious
Thanks. I will admit to being a burnt end junky.

Fantastic write up Disco. I have yet to do a full packer as availability is quite slim in my area. Bookmarking so when the time comes !
Thanks! I have the same problem finding packers here. I pick them up when I go to the big smoke.
 

disco

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Absolutely wonderful Disco! Really nice smoke ring too. As I get olderI'm finding it more and more difficult to do Briskets. But it's so rewarding in the end, unless it goes bad, lol. We love it so much, I have no choice but to do them when we can get them properly priced, it just takes me a little longer for the prep work. Thanks for sharing, another excellent cook with a great write up. Stay safe.
Thanks! I'm with you on the amount of work for a full packer. I am getting too lazy as well.

Looks great Disco. Trim job is the thing I have the least patience for. I’ll have to give your injections a go. Very nice results.
Thanks. I use this injection a lot.

Looks really great! Love the burnt ends there but might light the take 11 steps off a ladder line even more!
Har! Thanks. I just get a little intolerant of those who suggest there is a "wrong" way to smoke.
 

Jabiru

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Excellent guide and method, thanks. I reckon this will help a lot of people. The injection marinade you use is my go to for most Beef. Soy and Worcester is a great mix.

Love the colour and the moistness of your Brisket. Burnt ends are just so damn tasty.
 

chef jimmyj

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Great Tutorial and a beautiful result. I want to add...I absolutely Love your videos. Warm funny personality with accurate information keeps me interested...JJ
 

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