Let me preface this blog post by letting you know that good BBQ is all about failure! Brisket is one of the toughest meats to smoke so you should be sure to take excellent notes so you know what you did and can improve upon it next time. Your cooker is your cooker and the only way to know is to use a guide like this as a starting point, there are always improvements that can be made, you just need to figure them out on your own!
Trim fat cap down to ¼ inch thickness on top and around the edges of the brisket. If you buy from a butcher, make sure that you let them know to go easy on the trimming!
Look at the end of the flat of the brisket and cut a notch on end of brisket sliced against the grain (lines in the meat).
Grab your favorite rub and apply to brisket generously, coating the outside of the meat all around.
Either put back into fridge and let the brisket sit until meat begins to sweat and the rub moistens and adheres to the brisket. Try not to do rub it down to long before you cook it.
Prepare your ceramic smoker:
Load the coals box with charcoal, and mix in 6-8 chunks of Oak or Pecan Wood for smoke, this is going to be a long cook!
Light the center of the pile of coals, let it burn for 5 to 10 minutes and then put your plate setter or heat deflectors in.
On top of the heat deflector plate, fill an aluminum pan with 1/3 water and place directly on top of the plate setter. (If you have a Primo XL or a larger egg, you may need two.
Adjust your BBQ Guru or set your smoker to run at around 225-235 F
After smoke starts to flow from the smoker, put brisket on smoker, fat side up, you can lay a Frogmat underneath to keep it from sticking to the grates during the cook.
Close the lid and make sure it is secured and sealed around the edges.
Make sure that the vent at the top is cracked in a “crescent moon” so that the fire can breathe but not suck in too much air.
Cook 10-15 hours, try not to open the smoker too often, I usually check it about 10 hours in and insert a remote thermometer in the flat and another in the point to get reading without opening the cooker.
After 10 hours, check the meat or check the thermometers until you get a 180 to 190F internal temp in the flat then check the brisket and see if it is tender to the poke, thermometer should slide in like it is butter.
Remove the point (deckle or fatty end) by slicing through the fat layer between the point and the flat, cube it, put it back on the smoker for a couple of more hours to render out more of the fat and make some delicious burnt ends.
Double wrap flat in heavy duty foil. Cover with blankets and insert it into a cooler to rest for 1-3 hours or until ready to serve.
Remove point from smoker once a bulk of the fat is rendered. Cube point and slice the flat against the grain and serve immediately.
Sliced brisket, with deckle still on.
Let the brisket rest in open air after removing from the foil do it can settle.
Slice against the grain (Use the notch you cut and slice at that angle) use an electric knife or a serrated blade and slice it in 1/4 inch thick slices.
Just In Case:
If the brisket is really dry, then slice it thin, or feel free to chop it up with some of the deckle or the fatty point and served chopped brisket.
Being a retailer and an owner of Primo Smokers and Grills, we are often asked the question, “I just got a Primo Smoker and I want to use it to smoke something, what do I do?” Well you are certainly in for some fun! Having been an owner who faced the same daunting thought of “How do I get started?” I wanted to share some tips with you on how I started learning to use my Primo as a Smoker and not just as the best charcoal grill I have ever used!
I want to preface this by saying that in terms of the Big Green Egg fans out there, my competition partner in Pork Phat Posse is a BGE owner, and so the same advice applies for you too. Obviously the names and sites are different, but I have some suggestions for you:
Join the Primo Grill Forum (PGF): Sign Up. Read up and try a few of the processes that they give you. The thing about the Primo that I have learned is that it is easy to configure and can be configured in all sorts of ways. Many of the members of the PGF have thousands of hours and hundreds of successful cooks. So if you are looking for experience and processes to call your own, this a great way to get started. Do some research on what you want to cook first, learn how to configure your grill, start your fire and use your smoker. They helped me out a ton and ultimately I had to dry out a few briskets, undercook some pork butts and burn some babybacks to find my groove. Expect to do the same.
Heat Control: If you are going to be slow smoking meats, save yourself a lot of time and get yourself a BBQ Guru, call them to help you configure it and no need to go with all the bells and whistles on your first go. Buy a BBQ Guru that makes sense for you. If you are a purest, this may not be for you , but I found my BBQ Guru to be the difference between sleepless BBQ Cooks and sleeping like a baby! It changed my success rate with smoking as I found it difficult to control and maintain the heat with out one.
Make Sure You Have Proper Primo Accessories: Make sure that you have Ceramic D Plates and a set of Roaster Drip Pan Racks, I use a water pan on top of my D-Plates and have a lot of success with this method in conjunction with the BBQ Guru. Learned how to do this on the Primo Grill Forum, and there are many ways to do this, but having this system in place turns your Primo into a smoker or at least an indirect cooker, which makes all the difference.
Anything but Brisket:As a beginner, all I wanted to do was cook a brisket, so I dried out a few before I did the research and was told that this was the toughest one too cook! So I started with Pork Butts and Babyback ribs, learned to rub them the right way, start a fire, and hold a temperature for long periods of time. Then after I got all those things working, I cooked a brisket and got better and better at it. So my advice is start with the basics and work your way up to the more challenging cuts.
Have fun!: Manage your expectations. You are not going to be smoking Myron Mixon style on your first cook, so be willing to experiment and learn from your mistakes. I was told to always take good notes, from the start of the cook, to the end of the cook. This has helped me repeat my success and tweak for improvements when I cook. So if you remember to have fun, and that this is a learning process, your end results will only get better and better.
Stay in touch and enjoy! If we can help you, email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do what we can!