About a month ago, I went over to Costco with a neighbor of mine to take a look at their meat selection. Honestly, I wasn’t particularly blown away by what I encountered, but I did see a butcher laying out some freshly cut brisket flats, so I wandered over to take a closer look.
I found a small, USDA Choice brisket flat weighing in at 2 pounds right on the dot and being that I had yet to smoke a brisket on the Kamado Joe, I figured, ‘what the hell’, and threw it in the cart.
While I’ve been a little too busy over the last few weeks to smoke it, I decided this afternoon was a perfect time since we had gotten all of our chores around the house done yesterday and FINALLY didn’t have any plans for the remainder of the weekend.
The night before I smoked this brisket, I liberally coated it in plain ol yellow mustard and Meat Church’s Holy Cow rub (HIGHLY recommended for beef). Nothing fancy, but man was it beautiful!
The next afternoon, I filled the Kamado Joe with Royal Oak and lit a couple fire starters at 12:30 pm.
Soon after I had the fire going, I dropped in eight chunks of hickory and let it smoke for a few minutes.
At 1:05 pm, the meat went on and the thermometer went in. For a cook like this, I highly recommend using a wireless meat thermometer, such as the Ivation Wireless BBQ Meat Thermometer, so you can go about other tasks without having to wonder how the meat is doing.
You can also take it a step further and utilize the mac daddy of meat thermometers, the ThermaPen (shown above), to spot check your temps in various locations on the brisket. Yes, for better or worse, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
This brisket stalled hard at 162F from 3:00 pm until about 4:30 pm when it finally broke into the 170s and then, thankfully, it climbed pretty quickly after that.
You’ll see a lot of people recommending that the brisket be wrapped in foil during the stall through about 200F or so, but just for the sake of keeping things simple, I opted to keep it unwrapped while it was being smoked. I did, however, wrap it when I took it off at about 195F to maintain heat as I let it rest. It sat for about 30 minutes before we sliced it up.
A lot of guys (and gals) will also spritz the brisket with apple cider vinegar, apple juice, or a combination to give it a little more flavor and moisture and while I’m all about that method for pork, I noticed that initially, I wasn’t getting a lot of great bark development on this particular brisket, so I decided to forgo the spritzing since it can lead to subpar / mushy bark.
As you can see from the picture above, the bark did end up developing very nicely and I’m here to tell you that it absolutely MADE this brisket. The rub was heavy in pepper and it lent a spice that paired absolutely perfectly with the smoke from the hickory chunks I used.
1. Don’t sweat minor temperature fluctuations. Yeah, I was hoping to smoke this brisket at 225 and ended up doing most of the cook a good 40 degrees higher than that due to having a hard time getting the Kamado to cool down, but it didn’t seem to matter a bit. The end result still put a smile on our faces and that’s what it’s all about.
2. Keep notes. I’m the first to admit that I simply don’t have the brain capacity to remember exactly how to turn out a perfectly smoked brisket every time. Despite my wife thinking I’m crazy, I like to keep high-level notes when I smoke meat for any length of time so I can get a feel for what went right and what didn’t go so smoothly. I use these when I’m trying to plan a meal to be ready at a particular time and they’ve proven to be invaluable.
3. Invest in a good rub. Don’t do your brisket an injustice by just coating it with whatever was on sale at the grocery store. Spend a few extra dollars and heavily coat it in a rub that really highlights the beef and smoke flavors. Again, I highly recommend Holy Cow from Meat Church.
Despite having some trouble keeping temperatures where I wanted them, this brisket was absolutely delicious. While it probably wasn’t quite as juicy as it would have been if it was a little larger (or if I wrapped it in bacon!), it definitely hit the spot when placed on a sesame seed bun and drizzled with a tangy barbecue sauce.
Don’t let anyone tell you that a 2 pound brisket flat is a waste of money or that it should be ground up into hamburger. If you’ve got a small brisket flat and are feeding just a few people (3 being ideal), follow the steps above and I guarantee, you’ll be glad you did! I’m already counting down the days until I can smoke another.