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Smoke: Brisket Part II

Aaron Franklin

Lesson time 17:02 min

In the second phase of our 12-hour brisket smoke, Aaron shares his techniques for spritzing, getting a derailed cook back on track, and pushing through the stall while maintaining a clean and steady fire.

Aaron Franklin
Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
Aaron Franklin teaches you how to fire up flavor-packed Central Texas barbecue, including his famous brisket and more mouth-watering smoked meat.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - So we're just about three hours into this brisket cook. We're going to lift up the lid. We're going to spritz it a little bit. I usually use apple cider vinegar. I use that for pork at the restaurant. And I'm just too lazy to have two sprayers. I don't think it makes that much of a difference. It could be water. It could be beer. Some people use apple juice, which I think has a little too much sugar for this. I'm mostly just sprinting things not for flavor but just to cool off some of the edges that have a tendency to get a little bit too hot. I'm just trying to even out the cook. A lot of times, most people think it's like a fine mist. I do not like that. I like it to go out and just feather out a little bit, so you could direct it right where you want it. Like, if something is getting a little dry in there, it's like -- just kind of go to town. You don't get everything wet. It's just really, really specific. So I'm going to take a look. Have a looked at this. I suspect it's looking pretty good. Oh, my, it's not terrible. So what we're looking at here-- we were talking about it earlier. I don't want this ridge to dry out too much right here. I want to look at this edge. It's got a nice, mahogany color. You can see the fat kind of poking out down here. It hasn't started to render yet. Because we're only three hours in. The edges are right here looking really, really pretty. The bark-- the color of this is super consistent across the top. So this is really going to be about the first check on this brisket where you start to see some color formation. You can start to see the bark. But this is also a really great time where, if it's cooking a little bit too hard or something's going wrong, you can still catch it, and you can still kind of fix it. So this thing is looking really nice. It doesn't really look like it needs sprinting too much, but I'm going to kind of hit that edge. And instead of just spraying it, I'm just going to go back and forth-- much along the same lines is how I put on the seasoning. I want to start over here, and I'm going to finish over there. So I'm just going to kind of get a feel for it like that. And then I'm going to kind of spot that ridge right there. I want to hit that, want to hit that. And I'm done. I'm out. It's looking real nice. The fact that a brisket takes so long to cook-- it can be a little bit forgiving. If you get a little bit off track-- let's say, an hour so-- you can kind of bring it back. You can still have a pretty darn good brisket out of it. The more you do it, the better you get at it. But it really is a fairly forgiving piece of meat. In three hours, if you open up the lid, the brisket looks super messed up-- it might have some really crispy edges. Maybe the bark is really splotchy. Maybe it's too dark. If it already looks kind of black at this point, you've probably got some really dirty smoke going on it. This...

The art of smoke and fire

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Excellent! Aaron is craftsmen with meat and smoke

Hi this is JK Song from Seoul Korea. I loved Aaron Franklin class because I hope to do business Texas BBQ in Korea. Thank you for your passion.

BBQ was intimidating out of all my experience with cooking. This helped me understand more at how to be better and what flavor really should taste.

Well... I made ribs after watching this and they were better than they would have ever been had I not watched this. BUT... still a long way to go


A fellow student

Let's be honest, this guy could be completely bullshitting and have no idea what he is doing and less than half of us would ever know.

Jesus H.

I must have been in my second year as a cook when I cooked my first brisket. I cooked it for about four hours or so when I temped it, when I saw the thermometer reading 165 I remember thinking "165, it's safe to eat now, it's done, just like they taught me in cook school. " I was so cocky. The toughest shoe I have ever try to chew.

Venetia V.

I live in Brisbane so I cannot get that fantastic smoker you have 😢 I could probably get one custom made though 👍 anyhow just wanted to say a HUGE thank you that you have given me so much inspiration to start grilling with coals and wood. I am doing it every weekend and I am slowly learning with different meats and fish ect...And you know I absolutely LOVE 💕it. Its a pleasure to take the time to cook a good meat/protein.

Parker C.

I have a Traeger (I know, I know) and I'm wondering if you use the same temperatures as the offset setup or if I should ramp them down a bit?

Oscar M.

i own a brazos smoker old country bbq pits i am cooking pecon wood and using logs it has so far work really good for me. do you recomand me cutting each log in half?

Le Vif B.

"That's a good tip. Just give the needle a knock!" There's got to be a great story behind that.

Stuart J.

Can you have too much airflow? I’m smoking brisket in a WSM and it’s a breezy day. I started at 250 and within 20 minutes it’s below 200. Could too much airflow be the problem? I’m trying closing the vent that’s facing the breeze. Thoughts?

Geoff W.

How much does elevation affect cook times and stalls? I’m getting brisket stalls at 130-135f and 18 hour cook times when running at 285f the entire time.

A fellow student

Too hot or too long??? Thanks for all the great advice Aaron! I cooked my first brisket the other day and it had pros and cons. Pro- the flavor was great, bark was awesome (with a small caveat), and point was juicy and tender. Cons- my flat was not tender, and also not very juicy, really it was dry and tough. Also the bottom of my brisket (I did fat side up like in the video) was very very hard. I couldn’t even cut it with a similar slicing knife that Aaron used. I tried to do exactly what was done in the lessons, but I admit I did have trouble with heat stability at the beginning of the cook and towards the end. The first three hours I had a hard time keeping within 5 degrees of 250, ranging from 225-275. Also after wrapping I also had fluctuations of about 15-20 degrees. I also tried to correct temperature variations quickly which in turn created more lability. I did not use internal temperature probes and to be realistic, I probably was to inexperienced to try to do this without them and just by feel, although I could understand what Aaron was referring to when I picked up my brisket and felt for tenderness. When I checked as it was resting I did have an internal temp of 212. My questions is did the temperature variations cause the bottom to be rock hard and the flat to be dry or do you think I over cooked my brisket? Should I maybe try 225 instead of 250 for my initial temp? Any advice would be super great since I’m trying to cook a “perfect” brisket for my birthday in two weeks! Thanks in advance from Victor in New Jersey.

A fellow student

So after 3 hrs my brisket did not have the color that Aaron had. I was right at 255-260. So I spritzed and bumped my temps a up bit to 275-280. Will keep checking and spritzing. Sound like a good plan?