Monday, August 5, 2013

Korean Beef Brisket Smoked on a Weber Kettle Grill - Grilling Time

Pin It Now!

This is post #3 in my series on making restaurant quality... dare I imply competition level BBQ on a smple Weber kettle grill.  You know them, the common ball shaped grills that just about everyone either has, had or at least seen in your neighbor's back yard. I do happen to own a dedicated smoker as well as a couple of other types of grills.  But, if you can't cook good BBQ on a Weber, you shouldn't be buying those expensive labor saving devices.

I have already made some Smoked Ribs on my kettle

I also made a couple of HUGE Boston Butts (Pork Shoulder) for several pounds of Smoked Pulled Pork.  Like this brisket, pork shoulders will take several hours to cook... at least 15 and usually longer.  In order to maintain proper temperature it is important to add coal briquettes to the grill every hour.  So either you need a team to maintain the 24 hour schedule or you lose a nights sleep...

Or you learn a trick and you learn how and why meat cooks and absorbs a smoke flavor we all love...  But first... The basics...

Like how to smoke a Large Beef Brisket!

And you can not get more basic than the ubiquitous Weber Kettle.  They are cheap (under $100), easy to use and I would guess that more people have started and learned on a Weber than any other brand or style of grill.  Much as I love my expensive smoker, if you can't make a brisket on a Weber, you really should not spend the money on a dedicated smoker.

So, for Ribs 101, I went old school and broke out the Weber...

But before we even get outside to the grill, it's time to prepare the meat.

First step is the Korean marinade.

Korean Style
Brisket Prep

  • For Marinade:
  • About a 15 Pound Beef Brisket
  • 5 Medium Kiwi, peeled and pureed into a paste
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1=1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Head of Garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh grated Ginger
  • 1/4 Cup Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Honey
  • 2 TBS Red Pepper Flakes
  • Large Pinch Black pepper
  • 4 (16 Ounce) Bottles 7-Up (Lemon Lime Soda).. NOTE: NOT DIET
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • For Rub:
  • 1/4 Cup White Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Black Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Garlic Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup Coarse Grind Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Powdered Thai Chili pepper
  1. Puree the kiwi into a paste.  Rub this paste over the entire brisket.
  2. Rub the brown sugar into the kiwi coated brisket.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients for the marinade completely.
  4. In a LARGE pan or very large specialty marinading zip lock bag, completely immerse the brisket in the marinade.  Marinade in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally to insure even distribution of the marinade.
  5. After 12-24 hours, remove the meat and allow to air dry in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  6. OK, mix all the rub ingredients together.
  7. Coat and RUB the mixture onto the brisket.  It's called a rub, not a sprinkle so rub this in well.
  8. Allow to rest with the rub on for an hour at room temperature while you prepare the grill...
OK... During the one hour "rest", it is now time to prepare your grill...

There are a couple of must have accessories that you will need to guarantee success...

The type of coal is very important.  DO NOT EVER EVER EVER USE MATCHLIGHT TYPE COAL.  Instead look for a brand that advertises itself as 100% natural or all wood.  Anything else will have chemicals used to hold the briquettes together.  These chemicals will add an unpleasant taste to your meat.  Use 100% natural.

You will want a "Chimney" to light the coals... You'll see what I mean in a minute...

Next you need a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the grill.  This is not a meat thermometer, instead it is one to be used to measure the air temperature.  One of those dial types works fine, as long as you have a long enough tip to reach the actual temperature of the cooking level.  The top of the kettle will be much hotter than the cooking level just a few inches lower.  Stick this through a vent, making sure the tip does not touch any meat or metal and it works fine.

And that's all the "must haves".  It does help to have a meat thermometer as well.  Certainly if you make smoking a way of life you will want to invest in a good thermometer.

OK... Time to prep the grill for INDIRECT HEAT... Here's the most important part in order to get your ribs restaurant quality.  It is important that the heat and smoke travel around the kettle, like a convection oven.  It is equally important that you do not "grill" the ribs, meaning the heat (coals) is not directly below the meat.  That is too hot, too direct of heat.  Direct heat will burn, indirect will allow low and slow smoking, making moist tender and delicious!

So... Here's the steps for indirect heat on a Weber Kettle Grill...

 OK, remember All natural Wood Briquettes...

The bag also reads 100% Hardwood Charcoal.

OK... there is a math factor here... 20 Briquettes.  That's all you need now, count out 20 briquettes and put them in a chimney...
 And light the chimney... You use a few pages of newspaper wadded up and stuffed into the bottom, there is a wire rack keeping the newspaper separate from the coal.  Light the paper and let the coals sit on top of the fire for about 10 minutes...
 After 10 minutes the coals should show signs of being lit... Ash around the edges and deep inside glowing red.  Also little wisps of smoke....

If not, relight another few pages of newspaper and repeat the 10 minute wait.

If so, wait for another 5 minutes and then pour...

Only pour around one edge... Indirect remember.  You do not want the coals spread to reach under the meat.

Pop on the grate and you are now ready to cook...

Notice that I have the handles of the grate, one side directly over the stack of lit coals.  This is IMPORTANT so that you can add briquettes without removing the grate.

And the photo above shows the MOST IMPORTANT TIP for insuring Restaurant Quality Low and Slow smoked ribs...

TEMPERATURE.  225 is your goal.  Never higher than 250, never lower than 220.  The air vents at the op and at the bottom of the kettle are adjustable, open wide and more oxygen flows into the kettle and the fire burns hotter.  Close them and no oxygen gets in and the fire dies.  You need that happy medium.  Check your temperature early and often.  It will take you another 10 minutes or more to get the vents right.  Do this before you add the meat.

OK... FINALLY, time to start cooking...

Arrange the meat fat side up on the grill NOT over the coals... NOT over the coals.

In tomorrows post I am going to talk about smoked beans.  I always try to smoke beans while smoking meat.  This way as the beans simmer, the steam will help add moisture to the meat, aiding in the meat absorbing more of the smoke flavor.

But for today, should you decide to smoke beans as well (do it), position your beans directly over the lit coals.  This lets the beans simmer.

Now, with all this, the initial 20 briquettes have started to burn out.  Before you close up, time to add more fuel to the fire.

Again... MATH... count out 10 and only 10 briquettes.  Just add these through that opening in the grate that you positioned over the lit coals.  No need to light them, they will land on the lit pile and gradually light themselves.

I add a few wood chips of Apple or Pecan wood as well.  Not too much, you want a gentle smoke, not a billowing chimney.  But also know that the natural wood briquettes also give off enough smoke to flavor the meat.

OK... NOW close the lid.  Position the temperature probe through a vent and start measuring the temperature.  You have added a lot of mass so it will take some fidgeting of the vents to get the kettle to the right temperature...225... no more than 250, no less than 220.

DO NOT LOOK... the temperature probe will tell you the internal temp.  If you open the lid you will lose your heat and have to start all over again... DO NOT OPEN THE LID.

And, you are now ready to relax.  This is 90% of the job.  the rest is simply to maintain the temperature.  In a kettle cooker, the coals will begin to die after about 1 hour.  So, simply keep an eye on the clock and the temperature.  After 1 hour if you notice the temperature begin to dip towards that 220 mark, time to add more coal.


VERY IMPORTANT, have a plan before you lift the lid.  Longer you have the lid open, the more heat you use up and have to start all over getting back to temp.

I want to stir the beans.

and I want to add 10 and only 10 more briquettes.  Again, no need to pre light, you will simply put them through the grate as before, letting them fall onto the still smoldering older coals... they will light.

Less than 1 minute total time open

So, open... Stir... add coal... add more wood chips... Close.

While doing all this, you are multi tasking, checking to see how the meat looks.  It should not be charred at all, just starting to look a little darker is all.  If they are charred, you have them too close to the fire or the fire is too hot.  Use those vents to get the temperature lower. or move the meat further from the coals and flip the back to the front facing the coals

Once the lid is closed, wait for about 10 minutes and make sure the temperature returns to where you want it.  If it does not climb you may need to use a stick to move the coals around a bit.

OK... It takes at least 6-8 hours for your brisket to get to an internal temperature of 140 degrees.  After six hours I add checking the internal temperature of the meat to my hourly check list.  Your actual final finished temperature goal is 185-190 degrees.  At 140 degrees the meat has reached a point when the smoke flavoring has already been as infused as it is going to get.  So no need for smoke... and SHHHH... here's the trick...

NO NEED TO COOK ON THE GRILL ANY MORE.  The rest of the cooking session can be done low and slow inside on a conventional oven.  In fact, maintaining a low temperature (now only 200) in the oven, consistent temperature is going to get better results than you would achieve on a smoker.

So, once you reach 140 degrees... Here's the next step...

Aluminum Foil... HEAVY DUTY Aluminum Foil, double wrapped around the meat.  Put this into a BIG Roasting pan (Like a turkey roasting big pan).  This is important as the meat, even though wrapped) was LOTS and LOTS of moisture in and this will leak out of the foil wrapping.

Set the oven to 200 degrees, insert a remote temperature probe so you can monitor the internal temperature of the meat without opening the oven... Set it all up and walk away... for hours and hours.  I cooked this particular piece of beef in the oven for an additional 17 hours.  The long slow cooking process allows the fat to simply render into butter soft flavoring for the meat.

The marinade has soaked into the meat, flavoring every bite, the fat has softly tenderized every bite... All is right with the world!

When you reach 185-190 degrees, remove from the oven, unwrap and set the meat on a cutting board... IMPORTANT... VERY IMPORTANT... Allow the meat to "rest" uncut for 30 minutes.  This allows the juices to redistribute, reabsorb into the meat.  If you do not do this, the meat when cut the meat will bleed out most of the juices,making for a very dry brisket.  You've invested about a full day and night into this, don't ruin it now.

Also, reserve a cup of the juice from the pan when you pull the foil wrapped meat from the oven.  Just prior to serving, brush this onto the meat to add a little extra luster.

And this indeed was WONDERFUL!  Deliciously exotic Asian flavors throughout.  The meat was perfectly cooked; tender pull apart juicy, wonderful presentation, all that sugar caramelizes on the outside for a deep dark bark.

I have made several briskets in my smoky life and this by far was my best

Serve with Beans, potato salad and fresh grilled corn on the cob and you ARE Master of your Domain!



So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Grilling Time Secret Extras" or "52 Ways to Cook BBQ and Grilling Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons.  Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!


Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest


  1. Looks good but I disagree on never letting the temp above 250. I smoke mine at 275-300 for about 6-7 hours and I can't tell the difference between that and low and slow. It shouldn't work, but it does and saves about 10 hours.

  2. Nice job on the tutorial Dave and the brisket and platter of food both look delicious. Feel free to practice on us.

  3. Great job of explaining Dave. Guess who will be made to read this as required info. Just saying . . . it may be part of our family Labor Day extravaganza.