Picture this: the smoke is rolling, the smell of rich, marbled beef fills the air, and the anticipation of that first, perfect slice of brisket is almost too much to bear. That's the magic of brisket, especially when it's a luxurious Wagyu cut, and even more so when you're using barbecue maestro Aaron Franklin's method. This isn't just any recipe – it's the roadmap to achieving a slice of heaven on your plate!
1 - Who is Aaron Franklin?
Aaron Franklin is a celebrated pitmaster who has rightfully earned the esteemed James Beard Foundation Award. His unforgettable smoke brisket recipe has catapulted him to worldwide fame and he now operates his own, iconic restaurant – Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. Aaron is widely recognized as an ambassador for Texas barbecue and was even featured on the popular late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Netflix’s renowned series “Chef’s Table”.
2 - What makes his Texas-style smoked brisket the best-smoked brisket recipe?
Mastering the Aaron Franklin method for smoking a brisket is an artistry cherished around the globe.
Here's what makes this smoked brisket recipe so remarkable:
- Aaron's blend unlocks the robust flavor of the brisket, truly bringing it to life.
Aaron Franklin's secret to making world-class BBQ is simplicity. Don't get overwhelmed with complicated rubs or sauces. Instead, rely on a 1:1 ratio of salt/pepper spice mix for an edge that will draw out your meat’s natural flavors while giving it some smokey goodness thanks to pepper alone! Adding garlic powder will help to enhance the sweetness of the brisket.
- Aaron has cracked the code to break through the "stall" every single time!
The key to creating a succulent brisket lies in understanding the "stall". This happens when your beef reaches an internal temperature of 150F, and will no longer increase in temperature. The only way to reach 203F-205F internally is through patience and some gentle smoke.
Aaron Franklin has figured out the best way to get through the stall and still come out with a succulent, juicy brisket. He starts by smoking at a lower temperature of 230F-250F for 8 hours, then wraps the brisket in butcher paper and raises the smoker temp to 300F-325F for a few more hours.
This combination of low and slow smoking plus the wrapping technique helps to break through the dreaded stall.
- Aaron has refined a technique that results in incredibly flavorful and clean-tasting smoke on his brisket.
Aaron Franklin is known for his champion smoker technique that ensures incredibly flavorful and clean-tasting smoke. He uses an offset smoker, which means the heat source is in a separate chamber from where the meat sits. This helps to produce consistent steady heat over long periods, allowing the beef to cook at a lower temperature than what you would get with a direct heat smoker. This way, you'll get that nice smokey flavor without any bitter or harsh notes. The offset smoker also allows for more evenly distributed heat, which helps the brisket cook faster and more evenly while retaining its juiciness. Smoking beef brisket using Aaron's method is sure to be an enjoyable process as you learn the tricks of the trade, and you're guaranteed a delicious result. So fire up that smoker and get your brisket Smoking!
3 - Selecting the Prime Cut: Decoding Beef Options for Your Brisket
- The Wagyu Difference: Unveiling the Best Brisket
When it comes to creating an unforgettable brisket, the type of beef you choose is paramount. Wagyu beef brisket, particularly American Wagyu, is often hailed as the pinnacle of quality. Known for its extraordinary marbling, Wagyu beef comes from cattle with superior genetics that produce a distinctive layer of fat. This marbling contributes not only to a rich, luxurious flavor but also aids in keeping the brisket succulent throughout the slow cooking process.
- Snake River Farms: Your Go-To for American Wagyu
Among the purveyors of this exquisite beef, Snake River Farms stands out for their commitment to quality and consistency. Their American Wagyu beef brisket represents a fusion of the exceptional marbling characteristic of traditional Japanese Wagyu and the bold, robust flavors found in the best American beef cuts. This terrific flavor profile makes their brisket a go-to option for both home cooks looking to dazzle at the dinner table and competitors aiming for top honors in barbecue competitions.
- Exploring Alternatives: USDA Brisket and Grass-Fed Beef
While Wagyu is exceptional, let’s not overlook other high-quality options. A USDA Prime brisket, hailing from Black Angus cattle, offers a generous fat cap that yields a rich flavor, making it a worthy contender for those seeking a high-quality cut without venturing into Wagyu territory.
On the leaner side, there’s Grass-fed beef. Renowned for its health benefits and a more pronounced, earthy flavor, grass-fed brisket requires a vigilant eye during the smoking process to maintain its tenderness. With less fat, there's a fine line between perfectly smoked and dry, but when done right, it's a deliciously hearty alternative.
Whether you indulge in the superior marbling of Snake River Farms American Wagyu, stick with the reliable high quality of USDA Prime, or opt for the leaner profile of Grass-fed beef, your brisket can achieve greatness. Each type of beef offers unique qualities that, when respected and cooked with care, will result in a sumptuous and satisfying meal.
4 - Tools Needed
To embark on this brisket journey, you'll need a few trusty tools in your arsenal:
- A reliable smoker: The heart of the operation. A good smoker maintains consistent temperature and imparts that indispensable smoky flavor.
- A sharp boning knife: For trimming that brisket to perfection. You want a flexible, sharp knife to navigate through the fat and silver skin with surgeon-like precision.
- Pink Butcher Paper: When it’s time to wrap your brisket, this will allow the meat to breathe, enhancing that bark we all strive for while locking in moisture.
- Instant-read thermometer: This little gadget is your best friend. It ensures you’re hitting the right internal temps for that perfect 'bend' in your brisket.
- Spritz bottle: For keeping the brisket moist during the cook. A simple spritz of Worcestershire and water does wonders!
5 - Seasoning
Aaron’s brisket rub is proof that sometimes, simple is best. His 50/50 salt and pepper blend (known as Dalmatian rub) creates a bark that’s the stuff of legends. For Wagyu, this minimal approach is king; you want to taste that luxurious beef. However, if you want a subtle twist, a hint of garlic powder can enhance without overpowering.
6 - Mastering Brisket in the Slow Cooker, Sous Vide, and Oven
- Slow Cooking: The Set-and-Forget Method for High-Quality Brisket
Slow cooking transforms a high-quality cut of meat like wagyu beef brisket into a tender, flavorful delight. This method is perfect for those busy days or for a less hands-on approach to achieving the best brisket with minimal effort.
- Selecting Your Brisket: Choose a whole wagyu full packer brisket for its abundant marbling and generous fat cap which promise a rich flavor after slow cooking.
- Preparation: If you've received your wagyu beef brisket with dry ice, ensure it's thawed to room temperature. Trim the brisket, leaving a layer of fat to keep the meat moist during the long cooking process.
- Seasoning: Rub the cut of meat with a mix of kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and your choice of spices for a terrific flavor profile.
- Setting Up Your Slow Cooker: Place the brisket fat side up in the slow cooker to allow the natural juices to baste the meat continuously.
- Cooking: Pour in a blend of Worcestershire sauce and beef broth to introduce more flavor and to mimic the humidity that a water pan would provide in a smoker.
- Slow Cooking Time: Set your slow cooker to low and cook the brisket for 8-10 hours, monitoring the internal temperature to reach the perfect point of tenderness.
- Resting the Meat: Once the meat reaches the desired internal temperature, wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest, allowing the flavors to distribute throughout the brisket.
- Sous Vide: Precision Cooking for Exceptional Marbling and Bold Flavor
American Wagyu brisket, known for its exceptional marbling due to the Wagyu genetics, is an ideal candidate for sous vide cooking, allowing the flavors to concentrate and the meat to become incredibly tender.
- Brisket Selection: Opt for a Mishima Reserve brisket, which comes from Wagyu cattle and is celebrated for its superior flavor and marbling.
- Pre-Sous Vide Prep: Season your brisket thoroughly and vacuum-seal it, ensuring no air pockets remain to guarantee even cooking.
- Sous Vide Bath: Set your sous vide machine to 155°F, a temperature that helps break down the collagen in the generous fat cap without losing the natural juices.
- Cooking Duration: Cook the vacuum-sealed brisket for 24-36 hours, the long duration ensures that even the densest cuts of beef become fork-tender.
- Finishing Touches: After sous vide cooking, sear the brisket fat side down in a hot pan or on a grill to develop a caramelized crust, elevating the already superior products of Wagyu cattle to new heights.
- Oven Roasting: Consistency and Ease for the Best Steak Experience
The oven method for cooking a brisket, especially cuts from Wagyu or Black Angus, offers a hassle-free approach while ensuring the internal temperature is consistent for the best outcome.
- Choosing the Brisket: Select a Wagyu full packer brisket or American Wagyu brisket for their superior genetics and bold flavors due to the abundant marbling.
- Room Temperature Start: Begin with your brisket at room temperature to ensure even cooking. Trim the brisket, leaving a layer of fat to render into the meat, keeping it moist.
- Oven Prep: Preheat your oven to 225°F, similar to an offset smoker's low and steady temperature, which is crucial for cooking brisket.
- Brisket in the Oven: Place the brisket on a rack in a roasting pan, fat cap up, and pour in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and beef stock to the pan to add moisture and a subtle hint of flavor.
- Cooking and Monitoring: Cover the brisket with aluminum foil and roast, periodically checking the internal temperature to ensure it doesn't surpass the ideal point for a tender brisket.
- Rest Before Serving: After reaching the perfect internal temperature, let the brisket rest in its natural juices under aluminum foil to redistribute the moisture and maintain its high quality and terrific flavor.
Each of these methods offers a unique approach to cooking brisket, with advantages that can rival the beloved Franklin Barbecue method. Especially when time, equipment, or desire for a smokeless option comes into play. Whether using the slow cooker, sous vide, or oven, etc. The key to a perfect brisket lies in respecting the internal temperature, quality of meat, and resting time. There are paramount in all cooking techniques.
7 - Tips for the perfect smoked beef brisket
- Perfect your brisket with the acclaimed technique of Franklin Barbecue!
Aaron Franklin starts by trimming the brisket to remove any excess fat, leaving a thin fat cap on top. He then seasons his brisket with a simple 1:1 ratio of kosher salt and pepper. This salt/pepper blend will draw out the natural beef flavors while adding a nice smoky flavor as well.
- Prepare your brisket the Franklin-approved way to ensure it is cooked to perfection!
Aaron Franklin cooks his brisket low and slow, at temperatures no higher than 250° degrees Fahrenheit, for about 8-10 hours. He suggests using a combination of hardwoods like oak, pecan, and hickory for smoking the brisket to add depth of flavor. The beef should reach an internal temperature of 195° F before it is finished cooking.
- Become an expert in brisket wrapping! With the right technique, you can create a flavorful and juicy masterpiece.
Place the brisket in butcher paper or foil with a few tablespoons of beef broth. This helps to lock in the moisture and flavor of the meat while it's smoking. It also helps create a protective barrier against the smoke that can dry out the brisket. The wrapping also serves to protect any spices used on the outside of the brisket from burning. Finally, the foil or butcher paper traps in the heat to help cook the brisket evenly. When it comes time to serve your smoked brisket, simply slice against the grain and enjoy!
See how aaron franklin wraps his brisket.
- Ensure your brisket is cooked thoroughly to perfection.
After the brisket is done cooking, let it rest for at least an hour before slicing it against the grain. This will help keep the juices in and make sure your meat doesn't dry out.
- Allow the brisket to rest before slicing it
If you try to slice into the brisket immediately after smoking it, you'll end up with dry, tough meat. So be sure to let the brisket rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing into it. This will allow the juices to re-distribute evenly throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful final product.
Following these five tips will ensure that your whole packer brisket using the Aaron Franklin method is cooked to perfection. Using wagyu beef, trimming the brisket, smoking low and slow, wrapping it in butcher paper or foil with beef broth, and resting before slicing are all essential steps in creating a delicious and juicy smoked brisket. With these five tips, you can be sure to impress your friends and family with the perfect brisket every time.
8 - Storage instructions for smoked brisket
Any leftovers from this brisket recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to six months.
To reheat, slice the brisket and place it in a single layer on a baking tray. Heat at 275°F until warmed through.
Alternatively, wrap in foil and heat for approximately 45 minutes. Or reheat slices of beef brisket in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave.
9 - Side dishes
Try serving this brisket with some of these side dishes for a complete meal:
Baked beans are a classic side dish that goes great with any type of barbecue. They're hearty and filling, and their sweetness pairs well with the smoky flavor of the brisket.
A lighter side dish, potato salad is a refreshing option that helps balance out the heaviness of the
This rich and creamy dish is the perfect comfort food to enjoy with your smoked brisket. The cheesy flavor pairs well with the smokiness of the meat. And it's sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.
Green beans are a healthy option that goes well with any type of barbecue. They're lightly flavored, so they won't overpower the taste of the brisket. And they'll add a pop of color to your plate.
Corn on the cob is a summertime favorite that's perfect for enjoying with smoked beef brisket. The sweetness of the corn pairs well with the smokey flavor of the meat.
Smoking a beef brisket is easy to do with the right method. By trimming the fat, brining the meat, smoking at a higher temperature during the stall, and wrapping in butcher paper... You'll create a delicious, juicy brisket that's perfect for any barbecue occasion.
- Oak or hickory for the smoke
- 9-12 lbs. American Wagyu whole packer brisket with abundant marbling wagyu brisket
- ½ cup ground black peppercorn
- ½ cup kosher salt Diamond Crystal recommended
- ¼ cup worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup water
- Begin with unwrapping your high-quality American Wagyu brisket and give it a rinse. Pat it dry using paper towels to ensure proper adhesion of the spices.
- Place the brisket on a cutting board. While it’s at a cool room temperature, trim the generous fat cap to about ¼", preserving that layer of fat for moisture and flavor. Shape the brisket by squaring it off at the thinner end and removing any excess or silver skin.
- Create Aaron Franklin’s signature rub by combining equal parts of kosher salt and coarse black pepper. For an added depth of flavor reminiscent of the Franklin Barbecue experience, consider mixing in garlic powder.
- Apply the pepper rub generously over the entire brisket, ensuring a terrific flavor that respects the superior genetics of Wagyu cattle.
- Preheat your offset smoker to a steady temperature of 225 degrees F, using oak or hickory wood chunks to infuse the brisket with a bold smoke flavor.
- Position a water pan within the smoker if desired to help maintain the natural juices and tender brisket texture during the slow cooking process.
- Transfer the brisket to the smoker, placing it fat side up, and smoke for approximately 6 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Baste with a mist of equal parts Worcestershire sauce and water to keep the brisket moist and to lock in the smoke flavor.
- Once the brisket reaches the stall, wrap it in pink butcher paper or aluminum foil, which is a technique known as the Texas Crutch, to help push through this phase without drying out the cut of meat.
- Continue to cook at a slightly higher temperature, around 285°F, monitoring the internal temperature closely with an instant-read thermometer.
- Once the internal temperature reaches about 185°F, and the brisket demonstrates a rich flavor and tender texture, remove it from the smoker.
- Let the wrapped brisket rest in an empty cooler or on the counter, allowing the heat to redistribute and the fibers to relax, ensuring the meat retains its superior flavor and moisture.
- Unwrap the brisket, slice against the grain on the flat cut, and serve immediately to enjoy the exceptional marbling and bold flavor of the American Wagyu brisket.
- Smoking a brisket with the fat side up is crucial for keeping the meat juicy and adding flavor.
- Different sizes of brisket will require adjustments in cooking time; use 1-1.5 hours per pound as a guideline.
- For those participating in barbecue competitions or just seeking the best brisket for family dinners, this recipe caters to all with its blend of simplicity and gourmet quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
The stall is when the internal temperature of the brisket stops rising and stalls at around 165°F. The key to getting through the stall is to raise the cooking temperature to between 280°F and 285°F. Right before the stall. Around 180°F, cogen in the meat will start to break down into gelatin. Cook for approximately 1 hour at this temperature. Lift the brisket and check for stiffness. If it bends at the edges, that’s a sign that you’re through the stall.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your beef brisket smoking process is an easy way to enhance the flavor. The acidity of the vinegar helps to break down proteins in the meat. This results in a juicier and more flavorful brisket.
Try adding ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. And add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder to the brine you use when smoking your brisket. This will help to tenderize the meat while adding a smoky sweetness to the final result.
You can also add some apple cider vinegar directly to the smoker during cooking for an extra layer of flavor. Adding just a few tablespoons at a time will help to add an extra kick of flavor without overpowering the overall taste. Smoking a beef brisket with apple cider vinegar is sure to be a hit at your next barbecue!