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How to Grill and Braise Brisket

How to grill brisket

  • Before cooking, trim fat to 1/4-inch thickness. Then marinate the brisket overnight (12 to 24 hours).
  • Sear brisket directly over medium coals or near a hot fire: 20 minutes per side. After searing, allow approximately 1 hour of cooking time per pound.
  • Slow cook at a low temperature of 250 degrees F. Measure cooking temperatures in a closed pit or grill with an oven thermometer set near the brisket.
  • When cooking over direct heat, check the temperature of charcoal or wood coals by holding the palm of your hand at cooking height. Count the number of seconds until the heat causes you to pull away: 6 seconds is the target time for low-heat coals.
  • Cook with the fat side up, so the juices will base and drip through the meat.
  • When smoking, turn the brisket every 1 to 2 hours to prevent drying the underside. Never turn briskets with a fork; the juices will run out. Instead wear insulated rubber gloves and use your hands to turn a whole brisket. If brisket is cut into large pieces, use tongs to turn.
  • Refrain from checking the brisket constantly. Give it time to cook.

Indirect grilling (250 to 300 degrees F)

Coals on opposite side of grill from meat or around perimeter
4 to 5 lb = 3 to 4 hours
7 to 8 lb = 5 to 5 1/2 hours
10 to 12 lb = 7 to 9 hours
13 to 15 lb = 8 to 10 hours

Smoked (200 to 250 degrees F)

Trimmed to 1/4-inch fat thickness
7 to 8 lb = 5 to 6 hours
10 to 12 lb = 7 to 9 hours
13 to 15 lb = 8 to 12 hours

How to braise brisket

  • Trim the brisket of excess fat.
  • Brown brisket in a small amount of oil over medium-high heat. Or sear fat side up in a heated 500 degree F oven for 20 minutes to develop flavor.
  • Add a small amount of liquid (water, broth, or wine) to a Dutch oven, cover tightly, and simmer gently over low heat or in a 275 degree F oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until tender.
  • Always simmer gently; never boil. High heat or boiling will not speed the cooking. It will only toughen the meat.

Stovetop braising (Low heat)

Covered tightly and simmered in a small amount of liquid
4 to 5 lb = 2 1/2 to 3 hours
7 to 8 lb = 3 to 4 hours
10 to 12 lb = 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Oven braising (250 degrees F)

Covered tightly and simmered in a small amount of liquid
4 to 5 lb = 5 to 6 hours
7 to 8 lb = 6 to 7 hours
10 to 12 lb = 7 to 8 hours

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