HOUSTON – It seems intimidating, that’s why some people call it the holy grail of barbecue, but you can totally make a perfectly cooked brisket at home!
To help you achieve it, Leonard Botello, pitmaster and owner of Truth BBQ, shares his tips and tricks for a tender and juicy brisket.
To see Botello’s complete tips, watch the videos below.
Truth BBQ placed in the top 10 on the Top BBQ Spots list by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2017.
According to Botello, who has appeared on Food Networks’ “Chopped,” here are some of the key things you need to know.
1. Prep Work
“Basic tools you need - meat thermometer, good gloves, offset smoker, quality wood like post oak, etc.”
2. Selecting the best brisket
“Buy quality meat and look for a uniform shape for even cooking.”
“You don’t want to over trim your brisket. The fat protects the meat from drying out and gives flavor, so make sure to leave at least an eighth of an inch of fat on the meat.”
“The key to seasoning a brisket is a great blend of spices. You can use salt, pepper, garlic – however, let the meat flavor shine on its own, don’t overdo it, and don’t use more than 5 ingredients.”
“Distribute the seasoning evenly across all sides of the brisket, pat into the meat - this is what forms the delicious bark when cooking. but also, you don’t want to clog the pores of the meat so the protein can properly breathe.”
5. How to smoke it
“For home cooks, an offset smoker is easy and popular, plus make sure you get good quality wood.”
“Maintain the fire and consistent temperature. For a 10-12lb brisket, cook low and slow for 10-12 hours. For the at-home pitmaster, you’ll know it’s done when it’s at 203 degrees or so.”
“Make sure you have a water pan in your smoker because heat wants moisture and humidity. If you don’t have one in the smoker with your brisket, the fire will pull the moisture out of the meat.”
“Pulling your brisket off the pit doesn’t mean it’s done. One of the most important parts is letting it rest until the temp drops to below 150 degrees. Then, and only then, can you cut into it and serve. This keeps the meat juicy.”
“When cutting, identify the point and the flat and separate. The point is the thicker, fattier side of the brisket; and the flat is the leaner side. You’ll be able to tell by looking at your full brisket.”
“Once you’ve separated the meat, make sure you cut your servings against the grain with a serrated knife for the smoothest cut.”
“ A great portion size is about ¼ pound per person. Also, hold the sauce - a great brisket doesn’t need sauce, but it’s nice to have on the side if guests want. Let them add it to their own portions.” said Botello.
Cooking your own brisket is a lot of work but can be very rewarding. It takes years of practice to master.”
But if you want to enjoy brisket without spending the whole day in the smoker, drop by one of Truth’s locations in Houston or Brenham for brisket, pork ribs, smoked turkey breast, and more.
To connect with Botello, click here.