Smoked Meats can be difficult to master; beef brisket being one of the hardest cuts of meat to master. Trying to get that perfect smoky flavor without being too overpowering while rendering the meat so soft and tender that it melts in your mouth seems like an art form. Like any art form, it takes time to master; Freddy has been working on his recipes for almost 30 years. We encourage you to keep working on your smoked meats but if you ever need a little inspiration or side by side taste test comparison samples, think of Fat Freddy’s.
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Tips for choosing your wood
No matter what combination of wood you decide on, you’ll want to follow these tips to get a great tasting brisket:
Avoid green wood: wood that has been recently cut and has not had an opportunity to season, or dry out
Don’t use wood that has been painted, stained or treated or old wood with mold or fungus
Experiment with different types and combinations for different flavor profiles
Keep a steady temperature – You want a nice clean, blueish smoke
Don’t over smoke as this can result in bitter tasting meat
The type of wood you use is an important variable for mastering smoked brisket. With all the options out there, how do you choose the right type of wood? Different types of woods can give different smoky flavors. Let’s take a look at the most popular types of woods to use in smoking briskets and the flavors they tend to produce. Oak and hickory are good choices to start with, and you can then add in milder-flavor producing woods to adjust it to your liking.
Medium to Strong Flavors
Oak – A medium smoky flavor that is not too overpowering. It can burn for a long time, making it a great choice for beginners.
Hickory – Strong and smoky, it can be described as producing a nutty or bacon-like flavor. Be careful though, as too much hickory smoke can cause the meat to taste bitter.
Mesquite – Another wood that produces a strong flavor, mesquite burns quickly and can produce a strong earthy flavor. If you want to make an authentic Texas smoked brisket, this is the wood to choose. However, like hickory, it can get too powerful.
Maple – Very mild smokiness and sweet flavor.
Pecan – Very sweet, nutty flavor. It should be combined with a stronger flavor wood so the brisket is not overly sweet.
Apple – Very mild smokiness that produces a sweet and fruity flavor.
Cherry – Mild smokiness with a fruity flavor. Pairs nicely with hickory.
Olive – Mild smokiness with a similar flavor to mesquite but not as strong.
While it is important to give some thought to the type of wood you plan on using to smoke brisket, you should also consider the size. The size of wood you need will depend on the type of smoker and the size of the brisket that you plan to cook. The three most common sizes of wood for smoking brisket are:
Chips – Shavings and wood scraps. Generally used for gas and electric smokers but could be used for small charcoal ones. However, they burn out quite fast so they are not recommended for large-sized briskets.
Chunks – Small chunks of wood about the size of a fist. Generally used along with charcoal in smaller offset smokers and others (see below). Once ignited, it will last for hours. This makes it a good choice for larger sized briskets.
Logs – Large split logs. A great choice for large offset smokers, where the wood can also be used for the main heat source as well as smoke. Also, a good choice for large-sized briskets.
What are we Smoking ⁉️
We use a Southern Pride commercial-grade Rotissiere Smoker. It is large enough to smoke 300 pounds at once so we use large chunks and logs; Freddy prefers Pecan wood.