How to Cook the Aaron Franklin Brisket Recipe at Home

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If you’ve read this far, I wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted to try and make a brisket yourself, and use as many of Aarons techniques as possible.

While it will likely take a lot of practice, you can make a pretty dang good brisket in your own backyard, by using most of the tools and techniques found in Aaron Franklins brisket recipe

Tools

For starters, you’re going to need the right tools to do the job. While you have many choices of cookers to use, if you want to come as close as possible to following Aarons methods, you’re going to want an offset smoker. You don’t need a $10,000 rig or anything; a simple Oklahoma Joe can be had for a couple hundred bucks.

If for some reason you’re unable to use an offset smoker, you can easily use any charcoal grill that allows you to set up for two-zone indirect cooking. Which means almost any grill will work, from the iconic Weber Kettle, to bullet style smokers, to kamados like Big Green Egg/Kamado Joe.

Lastly, you’re going to either need Post Oak or Oak logs or chunks. If you’re using an offset smoker, logs will be your preferred wood, if using a charcoal grill, chunks will be what you need.

Ingredients

As mentioned, Franklin uses Prime briskets, which are very expensive and are certainly not affordable for everyone . If you can’t find Prime, at the very least you should use ‘Choice’.

For seasoning, it’s easy to copy the traditional half and half kosher salt/16 mesh ground pepper rub. Simply combine a couple of tablespoons of each into a shaker and put on the brisket. You don’t want to go too heavy here, else you might over season. Just focus on giving the brisket an even coat.

In Aaron’s brisket recipe, there is – in addition to adding a water pan to the cooker -mention of spritzing your brisket with a liquid to help keep the meat moist. Any liquid can be used to make a spritz, but he recommends using apple juice and water.

Trim the Brisket

If you watch a lot of YouTube video’s on barbecue, you’ll see an awful lot of professionals simply over trimming cuts like brisket. That’s why it’ss refreshing to see Aaron put out a video with a simpler approach to trimming.

In short, you’re going to trim the fat cap down to ¼” thickness and remove any larger pieces of fat, since they will simply not cook down.

In particular, you’re going to want to pay special attention to large pieces of hard fat that connect the point to the flat, because they will never cook down. For a bit more detail on how to trim like Franklin, watch the above YouTube video.

The Cook

Once you’ve lit your fire and added your meat, it’s time to sit back, grab a book, and make the most of your day. The brisket is going to take the better part of the day to cook so you can’t make plans to head out and run errands.

Every hour or so, you’re going to want to check your fire, make sure you don’t need to add another log or charcoal, and also take the opportunity to spritz your meat.

In the video’s Aaron does not make mention of internal temps of the meat very often. Since he cooks the same type of briskets day in, day out, he can tell when they are progressing and when it is time to wrap the briskets, just by feel. It won’t be as easy for you.

A general rule of thumb is to insert a food thermometer, and when the internal temp reaches 165°, it’s time to wrap it.

As discussed, Aaron uses butcher paper to wrap his brisket, and you can too, or you could wrap it in tinfoil if that’s all you have. The purpose of the paper is to help the brisket brais in its own liquid and speed up the final steps of the cooking process, pushing the brisket through the stall and beyond, until the final desired internal temp.

Once your brisket has reached an internal temperature of approximately 200° – 205°, you’re going to want to check for tenderness. If a digital thermometer probe can slide in and out like butter, you’re golden.

Faux Cambro

A Cambro is a brand name of food warmer, frequently used by caterers to transport food and keep it hot. Unfortunately, a Cambro can be very expensive, but there is a cheap alternative (a faux Cambro so to speak)– a dry cooler.

Once you’ve removed your (still wrapped) brisket from your cooker, you’re going to want to place your meat into a cooler for a rest. This time resting will allow for the liquid inside the brisket to come down in temp and not come running out of your brisket when you cook it.

Carving

Aaron does an excellent job describing how to properly slice a brisket in the last video. He starts by reminding you of the two cuts in a brisket – the flat and the point. From there he explains that you’re going to want to slice both cuts against the grain.

Starting from the flat, Aaron slices brisket roughly as thick as a pencil.

When sliced the brisket is able to hold itself under its own weight, but when lightly tugged can easily be pulled apart. Aaron also explains that he keeps the brisket together as he is slicing to keep the slices from losing moisture, oxidizing, and drying out.

Once he gets to the point of the brisket, Aaron turns the meat 90° so as to continue slicing against the grain. He also slices it a little thicker than the flat, about 3/8”.

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