Big Green Egg: Beef Brisket

Posted by johngl

Contrary to popular belief, doing a good brisket takes some effort…and time.  Lots and lots of time. It was the toughest thing to get through my thick skull: some things you just can’t rush.

Big Green Egg Smoked Brisket

Early on, I tried four hours, then six hours: still no joy. Finally, I went to ten hours and even longer.  At last, I’d hit upon it! It wasn’t the seasoning, or the meat, or the smoker: it was just time. Well, okay, not just time; the rest of those things play a very important part, but I think you know what I mean.

So, when getting the Big Green Egg thing ramped up for a brisket, I knew that I was in for a fairly long haul.  Out of the gate I was shooting for 10 hours.  Well, ten hours of cook time anyway.

The seasoning of the brisket began yesterday morning.  Liberal amounts of salt, fresh ground pepper, and some granulated garlic was all that I used.

Seasoned Brisket

I wrapped it up and popped in back into the fridge.

23.5 hours later…

The Big Green Egg belching smoke

the Big Green Egg was belching smoke from the chimney starter. It was an absolutely glorious beginning to a wonderful day.

About a half hour later, I hoisted the brisket into the Egg.

Only the beginning

Getting the Egg regulated temperature-wise is pretty straightforward if not a bit touchy. Vents near the bottom and on the top of the Egg make for near infinite ventilation possibilities. A tap here, a slide there, and I was pretty well dialed into the 250°F number where all the magic happens.

At about eight hours, I decanted the wine.

2008 Embocadero Tempranillo

I had this outstanding $10 Tempranillo yesterday afternoon with the bone-in ribeyes.  I went back to the store today and picked up a case. Yes, it is that good. The longer it sits open, the better it gets and hence the decanting.

At ten hours, I plunged the thermometer into the brisket and it came back at around 192°F: the wonderful leathery-looking mahogany-colored brisket was ready.

Great Color!

I popped it off the grill and let it rest a few minutes.

Brisket off the Egg

I sliced it up!

That's a knife!

About the only thing I could complain about is that the great red smoke ring I get when I use my two-chambered smoker isn’t quite as prevalent when using the egg.  The good news is I didn’t have to spend nearly as much time tending the rig.  I guess that’s a reasonably fair trade.

Brisket, plated and ready to eat

Ten hours. Minimum.

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About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

14 thoughts on “Big Green Egg: Beef Brisket

  1. Thanks for sharing the wisdom, question; when I do a brisket (I can only get the flat ones in my area, not the whole packer trimmed). When I do them I am hitting 180 degrees in about 4-6 hours with the egg set at 250 degrees…when I leave it on longer even at a lower temperature I lose the mahogany color and get the “Crust” effect which makes the brisket more chewy. Any suggestions?

    • Neil, thanks for visiting and the kind words!

      I think you need to start with a lower temp and go longer. Drop it down to 215-220. That “flat” is really lean and the proteins tighten up pretty severely. And, while I don’t do this myself, wrapping the brisket in foil once it hits that mahogany stage, then finishing it out on the Egg (or even in the oven) is a step some friends take to keep the moisture in and still get a tender brisket.

      Let me know how it goes!

  2. Johng,
    Thank you for the post. I am attempting my first Brisket on my Big Green egg. Brisket has always been my Elenor (as in gone in 60 second) they always come out tough ad chewy. I will try it your way.


  3. Meat looks great but I love your carving knife.
    Where did you get it and what is it called?

    • Thanks for visiting Mike!

      That knife is made by Gerber and is called a Parang. It’s more of a machete than a knife. I was using it for effect, though it is quite sharp!

  4. The brisket is one (of several) pieces of meat I have yet to smoke. Seeing this post might just be enough motivation to get me off my butt and do it. What kind of coals/wood did you use for smoking the brisket? How often did you have to add fuel to the egg?

    Love your website. I’ve been coming here for quite some time now and have learned a wealth of information. Thank you!

    P.S. I’m quite envious of the BGE. Green with jealousy you might say…

    • Thanks for stopping by!

      I used natural lump charcoal with peach and orange wood (kalimunsi) for the smoke. It helps when you have a peach tree in your backyard. The orange wood came from a potted tree that froze out last winter after three days below freezing (unusual here in Austin, TX). Any fruit wood will do and apple is readily available.

      The beauty of the Egg is that I didn’t have to add any fuel to the egg at all. I fired it up, got it to temp, added the meat and that was that except for some airflow tweaking here and there. Even after 10 hours, there was still ample coals and wood left to probably go another 10 hours.

      • Thanks for the warm welcome!

        That’s pretty incredible that the coals will cook for that long. Could be the large size of my offset smoker that requires a lot of maintenance and coal/wood to keep at a temperature of the cooking area above 200-degrees.

        The combination of wood you used sounds delectable, I imagine that wood mixture would taste great on pork ribs.

        • I have an offset smoker, too. They have a place certainly. The reason they use so much more fuel and tending is because they are notoriously “leaky”: air can get in all over the place.

          The Egg on the other hand has a gasket that seals the lid to the base which gives you absolute control of the airflow.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing!! This all makes sense and I can assure you that I will be “stealing” another one of your hard learned techniques! Though I will probably “cheat” and smoke for 4 hours and roast for 6 because my smoker is hard to handle (i.e. can’t hold the temp up long enough due to clogging in the smoke box).

    You are also quite persuasive – BGE company should be paying you.

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