This Guide for how to cook Brisket on the Big Green Egg or ANY kind of smoker is written by our Big Green “Eggspert” Captain Ron. In this post, he shares the “Foil Boat Brisket Technique” that is the preferred way for smoking brisket that offers the best bark. 

Foil Boat Brisket: More Bark Than A Pack Of Wild Dogs

Ask ten different people how to cook a brisket and you will probably get ten fairly similar, yet differing answers.  The basics tell us to season it, smoke it at around 250°, wrap in foil or butcher paper at 165-170°, pull it at 203° and rest it in a cooler for at least one hour, if not longer.  Sound about right?   There are many small variations that you could do but this is the basic outline on how to properly smoke a brisket.  

Well, the method that we are going to discuss here uses some of those rules but about halfway through, it changes, and it changes dramatically.  It doesn’t matter whether you are cooking on an offset, barrel smoker, pellet grill or my personal favorite, a Kamado grill such as a Big Green Egg, this method will turn out a superior result if you just follow the simple instructions.  It is called…drumroll please……The Foil Boat Method.

brisket on the big green egg

The basic rub for this brisket uses salt, pepper and Robyn’s Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub.

 

What is the Foil Boat Method?

For starters, the foil boat method follows the same process as was described earlier up to the halfway mark. We are going to trim our brisket the same way, season it the same way and smoke it to 165-170° the same way.  But this is where the process veers off of the commonly taken route and takes us for a drastic turn.  We are not going to wrap it.   Nope, at least not fully.  Confused yet?  Let me explain.

Once the brisket hits the stall, (generally 165-170°) tradition tells us to fully wrap the brisket in foil or more commonly these days, peach butchers paper.  This is called the Texas Crutch.  It allows the brisket to cook in its own steam and insulates the meat better to cut hours off of the cooking time.  It works like a champ except for one problem.  It can make that beautiful bark that we all long for into a mushy mess.  Let’s face it, nobody want mushy mess brisket.

With the foil boat method, we eliminate the problem of mushy bark.  As a matter of fact, as a result of this method, you will actually turn out and even darker and crispier bark.  The reason is that the brisket only gets “half wrapped”.  In other words, when it hots the stall, we lay it on some foil that’s been laid out in a  “X” shape and wrap the bottom and sides but leave the top side of the brisket completely exposed.  This allows the heat and smoke to continue to hit that top layer of bark and build it through the entire cooking time.

 

brisket on the big green egg

The foil boat technique accomplishes the same goal as the “Texas Crutch” of moving past the stall phase more quickly, while also leaving your brisket with beautiful bark.

 

Do I Cook my Brisket Fat Cap Up or Fat Cap Down?

One of the big questions we always get when it comes to brisket is, do I cook my brisket with the fat cap facing up or facing down.  My normal reply to this is to find out what kind of smoker it will be cooked on.  For an offset or pellet smoker, my standard answer is to cook it with the fat cap up.  For a Kamado grill such as the Big Green Egg or even a barrel cooker such as a Cotton Gin Smoker, I usually recommend cooking it with the fat cap down.  The reason being is that on these types of grills, the heat is coming from directly under the meat.  Well, after many, many hours of smoking, this tends to dry out the bottom layer of meat and that part becomes inedible.  Nobody wants that, am I right?

If you place your brisket with the fat cap down, that layer of fat will protect the bottom and prevent it from scorching.  The problem with that is that most would argue that a brisket comes out better with the fat cap up.  No, the fat does not render and work it’s way down through the meat.  Science has once and for all proven that to be an old smoker’s wives’ tale.  As a matter of fact, it can make that fat cap render and run down the sides and into the bottom of your smoker.  Can you guess what else will go with it when it renders?  The seasoning, that’s right!  If that top layer of fat is melting away like The Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz, then it is going to take any rub or seasoning that you applied along with it.  We don’t want that.  That being said, most BBQ restaurants and competitors using big offset smokers like to cook theirs with the fat cap up.  It really does seem to give a better final product.  Maybe it’s because the fat bastes itself while cooking.  That leaves a dilemma for BGE, Barrel and bullet style cookers such as a Weber Smokey Mountain.  Don’t worry, I have good news.

The good news is that whatever kind of smoker you are using, you can cook it with the fat cap up using the Foil Boat Method.  Why? you might ask.  It is because once that you “wrap” it in its boat, it will be sitting in its own rendered down fat which will protect the bottom layer much more so than simply wrapping it in one layer of foil or paper.  So, this can help to turn out a superior brisket on one of these other types of grills.

 

How Does the Foil Boat Method Affect Cooking Time?

This is a question that I was very curious about when I first heard about this method.  In theory, because the top of the meat is exposed and not sealed like a packet, it should be the same as not wrapping at all, right?  Not so fast.  In my experience, it sort of falls in between the time that it takes to do a fully wrapped brisket and a brisket that is not wrapped at all.  Now, I have spoken with many of my peers about this and there does tend to be some differing opinions.  Some feel it takes the same as a no wrap. Some felt that it cut the time dramatically from a no wrap brisket and yet others feel that it is about the same time as wrapping.  Does that answer the question?  I didn’t think so.  Here is my two cents worth.  I have done more than a few briskets this way and what I have found is that it is much shorter time than not wrapping.  Maybe not as short as a fully wrapped brisket, but it is a definite help.

 

Brisket on the Big Green Egg

 

The Benefits of the Foil Boat Method

There are actually a few things that I have found out about the foil boat method that has turned it into my “go-to” method.  First, I secretly do like a fat cap up brisket better.  (remember, it’s a secret, don’t tell anyone)  I just feel that this method turns out a more tender final product with much better flavor. 

With the foil boat method, because the top of the meat is exposed for the entire cook, it produces an incredible bark.  It comes out dark, crispy, and full of flavor.  As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that it produces the best bark of any brisket that I have made on my Big Green Egg.  

The next thing that I like about this method is the way that the rendered fat collects in the foil and the bottom of the brisket basically cooks in what is the equivalent of beef tallow.  It really helps to infuse even more beefy flavor into an already tasty cut.  The other great part about it is that it really keeps the bottom moist and juicy.  If you can’t produce a juicy brisket using this method, I would highly recommend you switch to stamp collecting of some other hobby.  This obviously isn’t for you.  I’m kidding of course but, in my experience, it really does help with juiciness. 

brisket on the big green egg

The true test of moist brisket is the “brisket fold” when a thin slice will fold over your finger.

 

The Best Brisket Rub

The only thing that we haven’t covered here is seasoning.  You could make some fancy rub out of everything that you have in your spice drawer.  You could go buy some prepackaged BBQ rub and use that or you could just keep it straightforward and simple.  That is what I prefer when it comes to brisket.  A 50/50 mix of coarse Kosher Salt and rough ground black pepper (16 mesh grind is ideal) is all that you need as a base.  I personally like to sprinkle the top with Sunshine State of Mind rub in addition to the S&P.  I just find that the citrusy flavor really adds a mouthwatering flavor to the brisket.  You don’t even need a binder.  Simply coat the brisket with the mixture and you are ready to go.  But that’s me.  If you want to add some garlic powder to it, maybe some Paprika for color or anything else that you may enjoy, live it up.  Go ahead and add it.  When cooking at home, the most important thing is that you and the family enjoy it.

Ingredients for Brisket on the Big Green Egg

 

ingredients for brisket on the big green egg

Salt, pepper and Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub are all you need to achieve smoked brisket perfection.

 

Tools Needed for Brisket on the Big Green Egg

 

How to Make Brisket on the Big Green Egg

  1. Light your smoker and prepare it for indirect smoking at 250°.
  2. Trim the brisket as you normally would, removing the silver skin and loose, excess fat from the meat side.  Trim the fat cap down so there is about ¼” of fat across the bottom.  Round the edges and remove and super thin edges from the flat section so they don’t dry up and so the smoke will roll over the meat.
  3. Make a 50/50 mix of coarse kosher salt and rough ground black pepper.  Combine until fully mixed.  Coat the entire brisket with the rub.  I like to really cover every square inch with the rub.  More rub = more flava!  Now sprinkle some Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub and Rimmer all over the brisket.  Now you are ready to cook.
  4. Place the brisket, fat cap UP in the smoker.  Let it cook until you reach the stall.  This usually occurs around 165°.  
  5. Lay out 2 sheets of foil that are about 1 ½ times the length of your brisket in an X or t shape on your countertop workspace.   Place the brisket, fat side up in the center of the X.  Crumple the foil around the brisket so that it covers the sides right up to the top of the meat, but do not cover the top.  The foil should be tight up against the brisket.
  6. Place your brisket back on the smoker and continue to cook until it is done.  You will know because a probe will slide in and out with absolutely no resistance.  This is generally around the 203° mark, but it can vary slightly from brisket to brisket.  Each piece will cook a bit differently.
  7. Once it is done cooking, remove the brisket from the smoker and place it in a cooler to rest for at least one hour but longer if you have the time.
  8. Remove the brisket from the cooler, being careful not to spill any of the juices that have collected in the bottom.  That stuff is like liquid gold!  Slice the brisket across the grain, pour some of the juices from the foil over the top and serve.  I promise you will have some happy eaters on your hands.

If you love brisket and need additional inspirational recipes, check out Robyn’s Better Than Sex Brisket Recipe or if you are looking for a quicker cook with the same brisket experience, try my Tri Tip Brisket Recipe! 

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brisket on the big green egg

The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Brisket on the Big Green Egg


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  • Author: Captain Ron
  • Total Time: 10 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-12 servings 1x

Description

Make the best brisket of your life using the foil boat technique that accomplishes moving past “the stall” while leaving the brisket with great bark on the top.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 tbsp course kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub

Instructions

  1. Light your smoker and prepare it for indirect smoking at 250°.
  2. Trim the brisket as you normally would, removing the silver skin and loose, excess fat from the meat side.  Trim the fat cap down so there is about ¼” of fat across the bottom.  Round the edges and remove and super thin edges from the flat section so they don’t dry up and so the smoke will roll over the meat.
  3. Make a 50/50 mix of coarse kosher salt and rough ground black pepper.  Combine until fully mixed.  Coat the entire brisket with the rub.  I like to really cover every square inch with the rub.  More rub = more flava!  Now sprinkle some Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub and Rimmer all over the brisket.  Now you are ready to cook.
  4. Place the brisket, fat cap UP in the smoker.  Let it cook until you reach the stall.  This usually occurs around 165°.  
  5. Lay out 2 sheets of foil that are about 1 ½ times the length of your brisket in an X or t shape on your countertop workspace.   Place the brisket, fat side up in the center of the X.  Crumple the foil around the brisket so that it covers the sides right up to the top of the meat, but do not cover the top.  The foil should be tight up against the brisket.
  6. Place your brisket back on the smoker and continue to cook until it is done.  You will know because a probe will slide in and out with absolutely no resistance.  This is generally around the 203° mark, but it can vary slightly from brisket to brisket.  Each piece will cook a bit differently.
  7. Once it is done cooking, remove the brisket from the smoker and place it in a cooler to rest for at least one hour but longer if you have the time.
  8. Remove the brisket from the cooler, being careful not to spill any of the juices that have collected in the bottom.  That stuff is like liquid gold!  Slice the brisket across the grain, pour some of the juices from the foil over the top and serve.  I promise you will have some happy eaters on your hands.

 

Notes

Affiliate links have been used.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-15 hours, depending on size of brisket
  • Category: Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Smoke
  • Cuisine: American BBQ

Looking for more Grilled Beef Recipes? We’ve got you covered with all kinds of Grilled Beef Recipes at this link- here is additional flavorful recipes for you to try on your grill! 

 

  

The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Brisket on the Big Green Egg