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Pulled Beef Brisket!!

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Beef brisket is a pretty tough cut of meat that if done properly can be pretty stellar.  Usually it requires an acidic marinade for about 48 hours (or more) and slow and low cooking to the tune of 225 degrees for 1.5 hours per pound plus an hour for resting.  This brisket was marinaded less than 24 hours and despite being 6 pounds the cooking time was only about 7 hours with 1 hour of resting.  In the end the brisket was more like pulled pork than sliced brisket.  We could’ve forked it apart instead of slicing it.  Many pure BBQ folks will say that the brisket is overdone, just like they might say that fall off the bone ribs are over done, but there’s a large portion of the population that prefer their ribs to fall off the bone. Our guests absolutely devoured this brisket. Now I’ll hand it over to dad to explain the process in full detail…

The menu for the Memorial Day was Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork Butt (shoulder), and Barbequed Chicken.  We’ll begin with the Brisket which was a 6 lb. plus “flat cut” and normally a rather tough piece of beef so special preparation was in order.  One day prior to grilling the Brisket was coated entirely on both sides with horseradish mustard or any mustard you prefer:

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The primary purpose of the mustard marinate is to allow the vinegar in the mustard to penetrate the meat and tenderize and a few spices left behind will add to flavor.  Prior to grilling most of the mustard was removed and the rub was applied.

Rub Ingredients:

3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp coarse salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp garlic salt
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on taste

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A mop sauce for use later was also prepared.

Mop Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup beer
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper

Many thanks to Master Raichlen for the rub and mop sauce which really paired nicely with the effects of the mustard marinate.  Cooking time for this large hunk of beef was planned for 7 hours so the Russ was set up for indirect grilling at 8:30 AM and the brisket placed into a shallow pan and at 9 AM the grilling began at a temp around 250-275.

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It smelled so good the ducks came around to see what was cooking:

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Smoking wood chosen was pecan and approximately ½ of the typical small bag was soaked in water for an hour prior to grilling.

Here’s a photo 2 hours in and the brisket is browning nicely:

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Additional pecan chips were added about every 45 minutes, charcoal every hour, and the mop sauce applied once per hour.  Adding the charcoal and the mop sauce at the same time minimized opening the lid to help keep the heat and smoke contained.  Here’s a few more views along the way.  At 4 PM the Brisket was removed from the fire and wrapped in foil to rest for one hour prior to slicing and serving.

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Fellow GrillinFool, Tom, did the carving:

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As you will see, and as guests proclaimed, the result was rather tasty.  A great effort from that 40-year-old grill!

*** Editor’s note ~ the meat was so tender and juicy that it was more like pulled pork than brisket.  It was the best brisket I have ever had and that pretty much was the sentiment from the 30+ people who were over on Memorial Day for .  Here is what was left of the brisket.  Even the tiniest bit was being picked off the board:

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Usually pulled pork is the star of the show, and the pulled pork was fantastic, but the brisket blew it away:

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Seriously this was absolutely incredible***

So now that you saw what we ate, let’s see how the rest of the day was with the Grillin Fools.  How about a little fishing:

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That’s a nice bass Tom has there:

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We may be the Grillin Fools, but the lake is strictly catch and release:

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Bass are not the only wildlife that reside in or around the lake.  Here comes the momma duck with her ducklings:

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My son really liked the ducks:

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Some very happy people.  They are about to eat some amazing beef brisket and pulled pork:

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And of course a holdem tourney.  Wouldn’t be a family function without a grill or a poker tourney.  Tom’s not just a good fisherman and grill man, he’s a pretty good poker player too as he takes down a pot from Matt:

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If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or email me.

Click here to see other beef dishes done on the grill.

Here is a link to a discussion of this recipe on the air on the Houston airwaves.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on Facebook and post your own grillin pictures, or keep up with us on Twitter@GrillinFool (no S).

  1. Awesome dude!!

  2. You should have grilled those ducks too!

  3. Darlene Purdy says:

    Great looking Pics. Thanks for sharing.

  4. If I want to try this on a gas grill can I just put some wood in alum foil and poke holes in it to create smoke?

    • Wes,

      Exactly. Don’t soak the chips. Just put a pile on a sheet of aluminum foil, ball it up, poke holes in it with a sharp knife, put it directly on the heat, meat on the other side with no heat, and you have an instant smoker on a gas grill. Make up a couple of foil balls. As one stops smoking pitch it and add another. I am hoping to demonstrate this sometime soon. I just need to borrow someone’s gas grill….

  5. I am giving this a shot tomorrow morning, I went and picked up a 6.75lb slab of brisket(flat cut and trimmed) and I am going to put it on at 8AM. I plan on pulling it off at 6pm(10hrs total) and letting it sit for an hour like you suggested. Should the meet be “browned” all the way through? Any other suggestions as far as cooking. I followed your mopping sauce and rub directions to a tee.

  6. StL Hooligan says:

    Just to be clear, the brisket was in the pan on the grill the entire cooking time? I’ve only tried grilling a brisket once, I didnt use a pan, but did wrap it in foil for the last hour, but it still came out way too dry. So I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

  7. I did this two weeks ago and left it in the pan the entire time. It turned out amazing!

  8. Did you put the brisket on fat side up or down? I always do up but have been thinking down in the pan would be good too.

    • We’ve had a few debates on the subject and so far I can’t see much difference either way. I prefer fat cap down for one simple reason. When I do a mop sauce throughout the process if the fat cap is up then that flavored sauce is not getting into the meat because it is not penetrating the fat cap…

      …….Scott

  9. ET in STL says:

    I’ve been scouring the recipe websites looking for a good recipe for “pulled” beef brisket. After a couple disappointing attempts, I’m hopeful this is “the one”. I see from the replies that this has been successfully accomplished on a gas grill. Would you recommend leaving the grill temp at about 250 degrees until the brisket reaches an internal temp of about 225 degrees? Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    • ET,

      We recommend a higher temp – 275-300 and go until it reaches 195-205. Make sure you smoke for a couple of hours, and then foil with in a aluminum pan with a lot of juice for the rest of the time to accelerate the breaking down of the connective tissues to get that pulled effect…

      …….Scott

  10. ET in STL says:

    Scott, Thanks for the feedback. Just to clarify…I should smoke for the first couple hours or attempt to smoke the whole time? If smoking only during the beginning, then I focus more on the mopping? And with the “foil with in a aluminum pan” do you mean to line the pan in order to create kind of a pool of juices?
    BTW…love the site. Great advice and pictures to support it. And St. Louis based to boot.

  11. ET in STL says:

    Well, I made the brisket. Turned out really well, but a bit more work than I anticipated. Took longer than I planned for so had to bump up the grill to 300 – 325 the last few hours. Had a miss-hap where my foil balls full of chips lit on fire. All and all it turned out really tasty for a gas grill and a novice. I wonder if there would be a way to smoke it the day before and still keep the juices/flavor in it by putting it in a crockpot the next day with some juices to keep moist? Only thinking this due to the timing being way off (planned on eating at 4:00pm, but ended up eating at 7:30pm) if I were cooking for a group.

    • ET,

      Yes, there is a way of doing that. We plan on doing it for the site soon. It’s called double smoking. You smoke the brisket for a couple hours, fill the pan with stock and onions, take it till done but keep the brisket in the pan with the stick, and then the next day slice it and put it back in the stock and smoke it to bring it up to temp. The stock keeps it moist and adds another level of smokey flavor. I hope to do it soon…

      …….Scott

  12. What kind if cook time should I expect with a 3 lb brisket

    • George, Don’t go by time. Go by temp. You want to pull it off the grill between 195-205. For a three pounder, that greatly depends on temps. At 325, that will be 4-5.5 hours depending on how often you open the lid in the winter. At 225, that could be more than 8 hours…

      ……..Scott

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