There are few things more enjoyable than a brisket that has been smoked to perfection, falls apart at the slightest pressure, and then melts in your mouth. It is admittedly a hard skill to master, but this basic tutorial can act as a great jumping-off point if you’ve been wanting to learn how to smoke a brisket and get those crispy, coveted burnt ends.
1. Remove the brisket from refrigerator, and then unwrap it onto a clean surface. Pat the meat dry.
2. Using a trimming knife, remove enough of the fat cap to leave about quarter inch of fat (insulation). There’s also a large vein of fat called the deckle. The deckle runs between the two muscles called the point and the flat. (The point is the larger piece where the burnt ends come from, and the flat is where the brisket is sliced from). Some people remove the deckle for a leaner dinner, and others prefer to leave it for more flavor. If you remove it, just be careful to not cut too deeply into the point or the flat. (For more on this, consult BBQ With Franklin or All Things BBQ on YouTube for how-to videos.)
3. Mix the seasoning and begin to liberally coat the brisket. Be sure to cover all the nooks and crannies.
4. Place the brisket onto a baking pan and allow it to refrigerate overnight.
5. An hour before you’re ready to smoke, take the brisket out of the refrigerator so that it can come closer to room temperature.
6. Start your fire. Make sure your smoker is at a steady 250 degrees when you place the brisket on.
7. Add coals and your favorite wood to the firebox to ensure that the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much from 250 degrees.
8. When the internal temperature of the brisket is about 165 degrees, remove and slice the point from the flat. Wrap the flat in either butcher paper (Central Texas style) or in aluminum.
9. Slice the point into one-inch cubes, place in an aluminum pan, and put back on the smoker (these will be your burnt ends).
10. Place the flat back on the smoker for a couple of hours, or until it hits an internal temperature of about 200-205 degrees.
11. When the flat is done, remove it and let it rest in an ice chest or insulated cooler (do not add ice; for this step you simply need the insulated walls to keep moisture in) for at least an hour and a half before serving.
12. Remove the burnt ends from the smoker when they’ve reached a beautiful, dark burgundy color.