One of barbecue’s most celebrated meats is beef brisket. It’s such a popular barbecue dish it even has its own special day on May 28th, National Brisket Day. Read on to learn more about barbecue beef brisket and the barbecue tradition that has its roots in Texas and Kansas City, both regions where beef has been plentiful for some time.

What is Brisket?

Brisket is a cut of beef from the breast of a cow. Due to the location of the cut, the brisket muscle supports a significant amount of body weight making it tough. Because of this, the meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissues that are present.

How is it cooked?

The “low and slow method” (low temperature for a longer period of time) of barbecue where meat is cooked over indirect heat helps the meat tenderize. The meat is generally seasoned with a spice rub, and then placed on the grill or barbecue pit with the fatty-side facing the heat. After 8-11 hours of watching the fire to ensure the temperature stays at a constant slow burn, the meat will take on a crusty black bark. This is a good thing and part of proper smoking technique.

How is the meat served?

When it’s time to serve, let the meat rest before slicing it to let the juices redistribute into the brisket. Then, slice the meat against the grain as this will also improve the tenderness of the meat. You should see a nice smoke ring inside the meat, a pink line just beneath the top outside layer of the meat.

What types of dishes is brisket used in?

Brisket can be used to make sliced brisket sandwiches and on a barbecue plate with your favorite side dishes. It can also be used to make tacos, dress-up baked potatoes and as a breakfast side with eggs, too. There’s pretty much no limit to its smoky goodness in a variety of dishes. In Central Texas, it’s traditionally served on butcher paper with a side of sauce, white bread, pickles and onions. In Kansas City, they are known for a brisket dish called “burnt ends,” which are brisket chunks cut from the ends of briskets.

Meet the Pitmaster

SmokeHouse 54 Executive Chef and barbecue aficionado Steven Muhlbaier discovered his passion for barbecue in Kansas City, a well-known hub for barbecue of many flavors. He is a graduate of Baltimore International Culinary College and was previously the executive chef of Kloby’s Smokehouse in Laurel, MD. Chef Steven has had his barbecue recipes featured in multiple cookbooks, including the ManBQue Cookbook series. Come taste his beef brisket barbecue at SmokeHouse 54 for dine-in or carry out. If you’re expecting a crowd, SmokeHouse 54 also is known for its excellent and delicious catering services, too.