Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dry Brisket Lesson Learned

By Dru Chai

I hope everyone had a fantastic, safe, and BBQ-filled Independence day weekend. I spent the majority of my time eating a smorgasbord -- smoked brisket, smoked chicken, hot links, corn, potato salad, etc. I needed a nap after every meal. There were plenty of leftovers, that's for sure. The chicken turned out awesome, extremely moist and flavorful, with just enough of that smoky apple wood flavor. Dare I say -- could it even be competition worthy? The brisket was an entirely different story. But there was one critical mistake I made before firing up the WSM.

My BBQ smoked chicken - competition worthy?

For this smoke-out, I bought a 6 lb brisket at Costco and a 6-pack of bone-in chicken breasts. It was essentially the exact purchase from my previous experience. But there was one huge difference -- The brisket was not in sealed cryovac packaging like this. Instead, it was simply plastic wrapped like all the other meats --  with the styrofoam plate on the bottom with tightly sealed plastic wrap all over.

Turns out, I made a rookie mistake. Here is an excerpt from Virtual Weber Bullet:

Avoid small, super-trimmed brisket flats with the point removed. They may be advertised as "first cut", "nose off", or "cap removed". These are fine for braising in the oven, but are hard to barbecue without drying them out. If this is all that's available to you, a layer of bacon placed on top may help to keep the meat moist during cooking.

No wonder. I thought that the brisket was missing something when I unwrapped it -- the entire cap, which contains a lot of fat, was completely missing. The fat helps keep the brisket moist through the hours of low and slow smoking. So how did my brisket turn out? You guessed it. It was dry. So I had to slather the brisket with plenty of BBQ sauce. Lesson learned.