Snake River Farms offers a variety of whole briskets. A whole brisket is identified as a 120 Beef Brisket, Deckle-Off, Boneless by the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP). It is not uncommon to hear a whole brisket is referred to as a full packer or packer brisket.

Briskets are the chest or pectoral muscles of beef cattle. There is one brisket per animal that is separated into two whole briskets. And barbecue mythology aside, there is no discernible difference between the right and left briskets. Each brisket is made up of two separate muscles. The deep pectoral muscle (pectoralis profundus) is the largest section and is commonly referred to as the “flat”. The second section is the smaller superficial pectoral muscle (pectoralis superficialis) or what is referred to as the “point”.

Snake River Farms American Wagyu briskets are generally larger than the those of conventional cattle. They are offered in a variety of grades and sizing ranging from 9 pounds to over 22 pounds. No matter the size you choose, a full packer brisket is a large cut of beef and makes a perfect meal when serving a crowd.

Why Snake River Farms American Wagyu?

Just like all our offerings, American Wagyu briskets have more internal marbling than conventional beef, including top-rated USDA Prime. The intense levels of marbling result in a rich brisket, overflowing with juiciness and flavor. Our highly marbled briskets are the not-so-secret weapon for many competitive barbecue teams and world-champion pit masters. Dubbed the “Winningest Brisket in BBQ” every major world-championship BBQ Contest has been won using a Snake River Farms American Wagyu Brisket.

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Tuffy Stone, 6-time World BBQ Champion, award winning chef and celebrated pit master, says our American Wagyu briskets are “..the perfect ingredient to give you the edge you need in competition, or in the backyard. Starting with the best products sets you up to win. Snake River Farms fits right into my way of doing things, providing the best experience with the best products.”

smokers

Time is quite possibly the most important ingredient needed when smoking a brisket. It is an all-day (or all-night) task and not something to be rushed. While there are many ways to go about smoking a brisket – we prefer to two most common methods - the classic low and slow cook and the hot and fast method.

Low and slow cooking uses a lower cook temperature over a longer period of time, to break down the internal marbling and finish the brisket. This method can be used with a variety of smokers such as, an offset smoker (Jambo Pit), a kettle grill (like a Weber), a Kamado grill (such as a Big Green Egg) or a wood pellet grill (Green Mountain Grill). For a brisket averaging 15 pounds, a low and slow cook can take anywhere from 10 to 14 hours, before allowing time to rest.

If low and slow isn’t your style, the hot and fast method cooks at a higher temperature over a shorter amount of time. This method can be used on any smoker but is generally seen when cooking on an offset smoker, an upright drum smoker (like a Gateway Drum Smoker), a Kamado grill or a wood pellet grill. In general, the cook time is around between 5 - 6 hours, before allowing time to rest.

While prep and smoking the brisket can be a bit intimidating, taking the process one step at a time is a clear path to success. Follow the steps below to get started, and watch acclaimed pit master and 15-time world barbecue champion Darren Warth, share his tips on how to trim and smoke a brisket from start to finish in our Butcher Shop Bootcamp Video: How to Smoke a Backyard Brisket with Darren Warth.

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Trimming

It is easy to find volumes of information on how to trim a brisket and there are varying philosophies around this step. We’ve seen seasoned brisket vets trim away a significant portion of fat and meat, as well as examples where very little trim is removed. The general idea is to create a uniform size and smooth surfaces, so your brisket cooks evenly when placed on the smoker.

When trimming a brisket, you’ll focus on the point and flat muscles (as referenced above). Trimming the brisket while cold keeps the meat and the fat firmer making the process easier.

Start with the fat side down and begin to remove the hard fat between the point and the flat. This allows you to expose the point for a uniform cook. There is a natural seam of fat naturally separating the point and flat, allowing you to trim to your desired coverage. After trimming the hard fat, flip the brisket over and trim off any larger pieces of fat, to level out the brisket, as well as any silver skin (thin membrane of tissue) on the exposed muscle.

Rubs

Rubs can be applied up to 24-hours prior to cooking and are an integral part in the cook process. A classic Texas brisket rub calls simply for salt and pepper, and while delicious it’s also great to add layers of flavor to your cook. To keep it super simple, we suggest our signature SRF BBQ Brisket Rub which we created with the help of longtime friend and award winning BBQ pit master, Steph “the genie” Franklin.

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It’s also fun to experiment by creating a DYI rub including your favorite flavors. Popular rub ingredients are salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, and sugar.

It is not uncommon to see a viscous or sticky ingredient such as oil or yellow mustard used as a binder to help the rub to adhere to the brisket. This is strictly a cooks choice step. Using a binder does not really add to the final flavor and when applying to a brisket, that has started to come up to room temperature, the rub sticks easily to the moist surface of the brisket.

No matter what rub you use, apply it to all surfaces of the brisket (even the fat). Using your hands or a shaker, put some distance between the seasoning and the brisket, then let it rain. Your goal is to have a and even layer of rub on the entire brisket.

After the brisket has been trimmed and seasoned it can rest safely, covered in refrigeration, for up to 24 hours. Prior to adding the brisket to the smoker, remove from refrigeration and allow it to rest, for at least 1-2 hours, at room temp to prepare it for the smoker. By adding a brisket that is close to room temperature to the smoker, it prevents a sudden drop in temperature of the smoker, adding to a longer cook time.

FAT SIDE UP OR DOWN?

This question comes up a lot in brisket cooking, and like so much of brisket lore, there are many opinions. A common thought is to cook fat side up because the cap will melt and infuse the meat with rich, rendered fat. However, many beef experts point out the muscle fibers of brisket are too tight to allow this to happen.

We’ve tested both ways, and relied on feedback from many a pit master, and find our best results come from cooking the brisket fat side down. Kettle, Kamado and pellet smokers deliver most of the heat from the bottom, thus placing your brisket fat side down protects the meat from a more direct heat and creates a more uniform bark.

HOW TO SLICE A BRISKET

Like all beef, a brisket is best when sliced against the grain. This shortens the muscle fibers and creates a texture that’s tender and easy to eat. As discussed above, a brisket has two primary pieces, the point and the flat. The muscle fibers, or grain, go in different directions in each of these pieces so take note of the grain before slicing.


A brisket slicing method that works well is to separate the flat from the point. You can find where the point ends and the flat tucks in underneath. Start with the flat and cut even slices. When slicing the point, rotate it 90 degrees to orient the so it runs parallel to you and slice. The point can also be cubed to make Brisket Burnt Ends, a specialty originating in Kansas City.

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For the low and slow smoke method we will focus on cooking brisket with kettles, Kamado-style ceramic grills and wood pellet grills.

Smoke and Fire

For wood pellet grills, set the temperature to 250° F and allow to come to temperature prior to placing the brisket on the grill.

With kettle or Kamado smokers, fill with lump charcoal, light a small fire until the temperature is set around 250° F. Add 1 to 2 small chunks of smoking wood (hickory is a good choice). Add a water pan to boost and maintain the humidity for kettles. Kamados have thick ceramic walls to insulate thus a water pan isn’t necessary.

Meat Meet Grill

It’s time to load the grill as soon as the smoke turns from white to blue-gray. When the smoker is at desired temperature place your room-temperature brisket on the smoker fat-side down. Next step, grab a cold beverage, relax and let the smoker do the work.

The First Few hours

Your instructions for the first three hours are easy, but sometimes hard to follow. Do nothing. Do not take a peek under the hood. Leave well enough alone. While you’re cooling your heals, your brisket will take on smoke and start the metamorphosis from big chunk of meat to delicious BBQ.

Manage the Middle

Between 3 to 4 hours, you’ll be nearing the middle of the cook, and approaching the wrapping stage. When you check the brisket, you will see the surface has become dry and turned a darker color. Fill a spray bottle with water, beef broth or apple juice and lightly mist the brisket to add a bit of moisture, keeping sure not to not over spray and remove rub.

A brisket is a large piece of meat and during a low and slow cook there is a stretch of time where the temperature may stop increasing. This is called the stall and it usually happens in the middle of the cook with the temperatures hovering in the 150° to 160° F range. Don’t panic when this happens, it’s completely normal. While there is not an exact time, the stall usually ends around hours into the cook.

During this time a rich dark bark forms and the desired tender texture to wrap the brisket is achieved. While an instant-read thermometer is key to any cook, we are also looking for the perfect color, and follow the “wrap on color” technique. As soon as the exterior bark is deep rich mahogany (dark reddish/brown) color, and the internal temperature starts to climb out of the stall, it’s time to wrap.

That's a Wrap

Wrapping the brisket aids in the cooking process and helps to tenderize the meat. It also helps speed up the cook time. You can use aluminum foil or uncoated butcher paper like our SRF X Oren Pink Butcher Paper to wrap your brisket. Paper is porous and allows some steam to escape but traps most of the rendered fat and juices.

Use two lengths of paper about 2 ½ feet long. Overlap them, place the brisket in the center and wrap all sides to make a neat package. Place the wrapped brisket back on to the grill.

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The Finish: When to Pull the Brisket

Determining when your brisket is done is a bit of art and science. The brisket temperature is a good guide, but the feel of the brisket is the final factor to decide when it is ready to come off the grill. Just as we wrapped on color, we are looking for the perfect time to “pull on feel”. The temperature range for this can vary but is approximately 198°F to 206°F.

When your brisket reaches this point, insert the thermometer probe into the flat of the brisket. It should pierce the bark and feel effortless when removing the probe, it should feel like it’s sliding out of a cube of butter. If it does not feel this way, continue cooking, testing every 15 minutes for doneness. When your brisket passes the “feel” test and temperature range is sufficient, remove from the grill.

Give it a Rest

Resting your brisket is one of the most important, and most overlooked steps, in cooking a brisket. The rest allows time for the temperature to equalize and juices to be reabsorbed. The temperature will actually increase from the carryover cooking effect. Crack the wrap slightly allowing heat and steam to escape, put the semi-wrapped brisket in an aluminum pan (to catch and drippings) and cover with plastic wrap to protect from spills. At this point wrap in towels or a moving blanket and place aside to rest for a minimum of two hours. This step can also be completed by placing the brisket in a closed Cambro or cooler, but if properly insulated can remain at room temperature until ready to slice. Resting is a key step to getting your brisket as juicy as possible.

When to Slice and Serve

Once your brisket has rested it for a minimum of 2 hours, it is ready to slice. As mentioned above it is important to slice the brisket against the grain. This is most easily accomplished by separating the flat from the point. This is easy to do as all of the hard fat has now rendered out making it simple to separate. Cut the flat into even slices. Rotate the point 90 degrees so it runs parallel to you and slice. The point can also be cubed to make Brisket Burnt Ends.

Like the name implies, this is a way to cook your brisket at a higher temperature and cut the cooking time in about half. While the length of cook time is shortened it is still important to allow ample time for this cook. Cooking hot and fast requires cooking at a temperature of at least 300°F . This technique is perfect for drum smokers, offset smokers, and wood pellet grills.

Follow the steps for trimming and prepping the brisket above and prepare for a hotter and faster smoke.

Heat smoker to 300°F. Place brisket in smoker, fat side down, and cook for 2 to 2.5 hours, misting with spray bottle of water, beef broth or apple juice, every 30 minutes. This adds moisture to the brisket and helps form the perfect bark.

As mentioned above, wrapping the brisket aids in the cooking process and helps to tenderize the meat. Use aluminum foil or uncoated butcher paper like our SRF X Oren Pink Butcher Paper to wrap your brisket. Paper is porous and allows some steam to escape but traps most of the rendered fat and juices. Remember we are looking for the perfect color and following the “wrap on color” technique. As soon as the exterior bark is deep rich mahogany (dark reddish/brown) color, it’s time to wrap.

Use two lengths of paper about 2 ½ feet long. Overlap them, place the brisket in the center and wrap all sides to make a neat package. Place the wrapped brisket back on to the grill.

After 2 hours begin to check the brisket for doneness, remember temperature is a good guide, but the feel of the brisket is the final factor to decide when it is ready to come off the grill. Just as we wrapped on color, we are looking for the perfect time to “pull on feel”. The temperature range for this can vary but is approximately 205°F to 210°F. When your brisket reaches this point, insert the thermometer probe into the flat of the brisket. It should pierce the bark and feel effortless when removing the probe, it should feel like it’s sliding out of a cube of butter. If it does not feel this way, continue cooking, testing every 15 minutes for doneness. When your brisket passes the “feel” test and temperature range is sufficient, remove from the grill.

Follow the resting and slicing steps from above and prepare for the best smoked brisket meal of your life.

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