Are you thinking about trying the Bludawg Brisket technique? Or maybe you came across the term when you were researching methods, and you’re curious to know more about it. Either way, our guide to the BluDawg technique has you covered.
The BluDawg technique is a variation on the “hot and fast” method of smoking brisket. The meat is seasoned with salt and pepper, smoked at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 hours, then wrapped in butcher paper and returned to the heat for another hour.
What Is BluDawg Brisket?
When I first heard this unusual term, I assumed that it referred to a brand name. The truth is, “BluDawg” is the username of a frequent contributor to message boards such as BBQ Brethren.
This individual uses a “hot and fast” method for smoking brisket, which has yielded satisfactory results. When they shared their tips with the barbecue community, the technique became increasingly popular.
How It Differs
As longtime readers will know, we advocate smoking brisket at a low temperature. 225 degrees Fahrenheit is our go-to recommendation, but we’ve experimented with slight variations from time to time.
Brisket is a tough muscle that gets a lot of exercise during the steer’s life. As a result, the meat is characterized by a lot of connective tissue and fat. When it’s not cooked correctly, brisket can be tough, stringy, or dry.
At 225 degrees, a brisket should cook at the rate of 1.5 to 2 hours per pound, give or take. Since whole packer briskets often weigh 12-14 pounds, that translates to a huge time commitment.
By ramping up the temperature, you can cut way down on the cooking time. That’s the basic principle behind the BluDawg method.
You might also see the BluDawg technique referred to as “K.I.S.S.-style” brisket. K.I.S.S. stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Since the recipe calls for so few ingredients and requires little effort, it’s easy to see how this acronym comes into play.
But won’t it harm the finished product to rush things along this way? Not necessarily—as long as you adhere to a couple of simple guidelines. By following the instructions we’ve outlined below, your results should be as impressive as Bludawg’s.
How To Make BluDawg Brisket
To make BluDawg’s brisket, all you need are a few basic ingredients. For best results, use oak for the smoking wood with a hearty dose of mesquite mixed in.
Try to find a whole brisket that weighs around 12 to 15 pounds. You can use the technique if you’re smoking the flat or the point alone, but it works best with a whole packer.
Once you’ve procured the brisket, trim the fat cap down to 1/4 inch. If there’s any hard fat left on either side of the flat, go ahead and remove it now. It won’t add anything to the brisket, and it will be rubbery and difficult to chew once it’s cooked.
Your next step is to mix the seasoning rub. BluDawg uses the simple Texas blend of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (see About Dalmatian Rub, below). Use a medium grind for the pepper, and follow a formula of 1 part salt to 4 parts pepper. By weight, this blend should be roughly 50/50.
Pat the trimmed brisket dry with paper towels and apply a thin coating of the seasoning rub. You want to season the brisket thoroughly, but you should still be able to see the meat through the layer of salt and pepper.
Preheat the smoker to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When the unit has reached the designated temperature, set the brisket on the cooking grate. Make sure the fat cap is facing the heat source so it will provide a protective barrier between the heat and the lean meat of the flat.
Smoke the brisket for about 4 hours. Keep an eye on the smoker temperature to ensure that it holds steady between 275 and 325 degrees.
After 4 hours, remove the meat from the smoker. Wrap it in a single layer of butcher paper before returning it to the heat. Let it cook for 1 hour longer.
Insert a thermometer probe into the thickest portion of the brisket flat. It should slide in and out easily. If it meets with too much resistance, let the meat cook until it’s “probe tender.” (see below). This should happen within another hour.
When the brisket is probe tender, take it out of the smoker. Keep it wrapped in the butcher paper and allow it to rest on the counter until the internal temperature drops to about 150 degrees, about 2 hours.
About Dalmatian Rub
“Dalmatian rub” is just kosher salt and black pepper mixed together. Because the blend is black and white, it’s said to resemble a Dalmatian’s coat.
In our usual recipe, we use equal measurements of kosher salt and black pepper for our Dalmatian rub. Since the BluDawg recipe advocates a higher quantity of black pepper, we’ve included that in these instructions.
If that sounds like too much black pepper to you, feel free to adjust the quantity to taste. Since the technique calls for just a light coating of seasoning rub, though, it shouldn’t be too overpowering.
What Does “Probe Tender” Mean?
A brisket is considered “probe tender” when the thermometer probe slides in and out as easily as if you’d inserted it into a stick of butter. If you meet with any drag, then the brisket isn’t ready to come off the heat.
We consider brisket to be done when the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the most reliable way to test for doneness. You can remove it from the heat when it’s probe tender if you prefer, but the temperature might not be exact.
The best place to test the brisket temperature is in the thickest part of the flat. Inserting it into a thinner portion might lead to a false reading, since the meat will cook through more quickly in these areas.
Similarly, you don’t want to insert the probe into the point end of the brisket. There’s more intramuscular fat in this segment, and fat has different thermal properties. If the thermometer hits a pocket of fat, you won’t get an accurate readout.
When the brisket has cooled to 150 degrees, it’s time to start slicing. Don’t be tempted to cut into the meat too soon, or you’ll lose a lot of moisture.
The resting period is a critical step in the proceedings. When meat is exposed to heat, its juices are forced toward the surface. As the brisket rests, those juices will be reabsorbed back into the center, so the meat will be nice and juicy.
While we’re on the subject, try not to carve any more than you’re planning to eat right away. The flat end of the brisket will retain its moisture better if you leave it intact.
A Word About The Point
On the other hand, the point meat is difficult to carve because the grain runs in several different directions. Instead of slicing the point, you should shred the meat as if you were making pulled pork. The shredded beef will make an excellent sandwich or taco filling.
It’s harder to shred meat once it cools, so be sure to perform this task before you refrigerate the leftover brisket. Save any leftover juices and refrigerate them separately so you can use them to re-hydrate the sliced or shredded meat as needed.
The Bottom Line
The BluDawg method is more of a technique than a formal recipe, but it’s easy enough to follow. If you’re tempted to try smoking a whole packer brisket but are daunted by the amount of time involved, you might want to give it a try.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!