Smoked Wagyu Brisket

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  • Get ready for the most sensational BBQ experience with this Smoked Wagyu Brisket! Slowly cooked in a Traeger over oak pellets, the meat is perfectly juicy, tender, and literally melts in your mouth. Finish it off with Franklin’s BBQ sauce. 

    Smoked A5 Japanese wagyu brisket on a wood cutting board next to bbq sauce and potato salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    After testing many recipes and getting to know our Traeger Jr. smoker well, I’ve finally gathered enough confidence to take on the beef brisket. Not just any brisket, but a Japanese A5 wagyu brisket.

    Ever since we got the Traeger smoker, we have tried cooking all types of meats with it. Chicken (Shio Koji Chicken is amazing when smoked), pork shoulder, turkey, and of course, baby back ribs. All the smoking frenzy over the past year is the result of me eating at Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, and being inspired by their brisket. And perfecting this Smoked Wagyu Brisket makes me feel like a grill extraordinaire. You sure can do it too!

    customer waiting outside the door at Franklin Barbecue in Austin TX

    The Brisket at Franklin BBQ

    I talked about Franklin’s BBQ at-length in the baby back ribs post so I’ll just briefly mention it here. Having waited for over two hours on a Thursday afternoon for a brisket sandwich, I was completely taken by each and every bite.

    It wasn’t an exaggeration when I said it was one of the best-smoked meats I’ve ever eaten. Franklin’s Barbecue truly lives up to the hype!

    Beef brisket sandwich with sausage and potato salad at Franklin Barbecue in Austin TX
    Beef brisket sandwich… or is it heaven?

    I’ve had briskets from other Austin BBQ restaurants and they just don’t compare. What’s incredible is Aaron Franklin openly shares his brisket recipe and smoking methods on YouTube, MasterClass, and his cookbooks. Disclosure: we will receive a small commission if you sign up for Masterclass through our link.

    Buy the cookbook from Amazon

    And you know what, there isn’t much of a secret. It’s just good quality meat, salt, pepper, and a lot of patience. I’ve shared his recipe videos at the bottom of this post (so you don’t have to search for them).

    What is a Brisket

    Before we get to the recipe, it might be helpful to know exactly what’s beef brisket. Simply put, it’s the breast muscle of the cattle. It’s a tough cut of meat because of all the connective tissues and the workout the muscle gets.

    If the brisket is cooked hot and fast, it’ll be dry and tough. It requires cooking at a slow and low heat to break down the tissues into a tender and juicy slab of heavenly meat.

    parts of a cow

    When you purchase a whole brisket it’s called a packer cut. The smallest whole brisket is usually at least 12 pounds but goes all way up to 20 plus pounds.

    Raw beef brisket with flat to the right and point on the left side
    Full packer brisket with flat muscle on the right and point on the left (image courtesy of our friend B. Bird)

    The brisket is made up of several muscles and fat and the two main parts called the flat and the point. The flat actually runs across the entire brisket while the point muscle is only the thicker side. It is separated from the flat muscle by a fat layer.

    When you smoke the brisket over a long time, all the fat and connective tissues melt together and become super tender. At Franklin’s BBQ, they make the customers’ sandwich from both the flat and point muscle of the brisket. The point is the fatty juicy part of the brisket while the flat is leaner.

    Why Wagyu Brisket

    First, let’s clarify what wagyu (和牛) means. It simply translates to Japanese cow (wa 和 is Japanese and gyu 牛 is a cow).

    A5 Japanese Wagyu Brisket | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    A5 Japanese Wagyu Brisket (5 lbs)

    You might have seen the terms Australian Wagyu or American Wagyu but they actually don’t make much sense and generally used for marketing purposes. Because there are no rules on what’s called a wagyu outside of Japan, the American Wagyu is rarely 100% Japanese cattle gene, but usually a hybrid of Japanese cattle and domestic cattle.

    The truth is most of the time you don’t know what you’re getting when you buy Australian Wagyu or American Wagyu. The brisket we used for this recipe is from Kagoshima in Japan and certified A5 grade.

    Challenges with a Packer Cut Brisket

    So why did we splurge on a wagyu brisket instead of purchasing one from our local grocery store? There are several challenges with making a whole packer cut brisket:

    1. Way too much meat for a family to enjoy. The smallest packer cut is 12 pounds and that’s enough to feed 20-24 adults.
    2. Long cooking time. Our friend Brian who loves smoking briskets starts at 3 am.
    3. Briskets require trimming (We purchased no-trim Wagyu from Crowdcow.com, save $25 on your order using the link). A standard brisket requires trimming of the fat cap to a ¼ inch thickness. You might start with a 16 lb brisket, and after removing the excess fat it could be down to 12-13 lbs so plan accordingly.
    Raw beef brisket with fat cap
    Beef brisket with fat cap (image courtesy of our friend B. Bird)

    Yes, the wagyu brisket was quite pricey but luckily we purchased it on sale for 40% off from Crowd Cow.

    You might wonder if you can cut up brisket to cook it faster, the answer is no. Prior to making this smoked wagyu brisket, I tried experimenting with brisket strips to see if I can speed things up but it failed miserably. The meat dried up too quickly being individual pieces and the results were not desirable.

    Lastly, keep in mind wagyu brisket contains more fats and it’s heavier than regular brisket. Our family of four (2 adults and 2 kids) consumed this 5 pounds brisket over 4 meals.

    Smoked A5 Japanese wagyu brisket on a wood cutting board next to bbq sauce and potato salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    What is a Traeger Smoker

    The traditional way of making the brisket is with a regular smoker but we used our reliable Traeger. Traeger smoker is what it called a pellet smoker. It automatically feeds the wood pellets into the smoker to maintain a somewhat consistent temperature. You don’t have to monitor the temperature as closely compared to a traditional smoker.

    Smoked Wagyu Brisket inside Traeger | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    As I’ve gotten used to the smoker (we got our Traeger Jr. from Costco), I noticed the temperature is not as consistent as I would like so I make sure to check from time to time while smoking.

    Recommended Wood Pellets

    Traeger Baby Back Ribs | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    I like the Lumberjack brand of pellets as they are more flavorful than Traeger branded ones. I buy them from Dick’s Sporting Goods as the price is lower than Amazon and they have a more consistent selection. Lumberjack offers many varieties of wood so you can experiment and figure out your favorite.

    Tips for Smoking Wagyu Brisket

    Most Texas-style brisket recipes are very similar. Season the brisket, smoke it until 165-170 ºF, and then take it out from the smoker. Wrap in butcher paper and put it back in the smoker until 203 ºF. As the golden rule says, ‘low and slow’ as you smoke.

    The wagyu brisket needs a few different treatments from standard briskets because it’s so marbled it’ll melt at a lower temperature.

    1. Season the brisket the night before (8-12 hours) – Wagyu has a higher fat content than standard brisket so it needs more time to be seasoned or else it might taste a bit bland.
    2. Wrap and smoke until 185 ºF – Do not smoke until 203 ºF as too much good fat will melt away. I took it out at 185 ºF to rest.

    Smoked A5 Japanese wagyu brisket on a wood cutting board next to bbq sauce and potato salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    How Did the Smoked Wagyu Brisket Turn Out

    I served the smoked brisket with Franklin BBQ’s Sauce from his very own Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto cookbook. Honestly, it’s truly the best BBQ sauce recipe out there.

    The family has become big fans of Smoked Wagyu Brisket! The meat was so tender, well balanced, and juicy. The lightly charred crust and smoked flavors made everything irresistible.

    To get the brisket shots done in time, we didn’t get to rest it long enough which would have improved the results even more. There’s always next time, just need to wait patiently for another sale.

    Enjoy and cheers to the gloriest days of backyard cooking!

    Smoked A5 Japanese wagyu brisket on a wood cutting board next to bbq sauce and potato salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Aaron Franklin Videos

    Can’t get wagyu beef? How about a standard smoked brisket recipe? I only have one recommendation and that is to watch Franklin’s videos. It’s available for free on YouTube!

    He did a shorter version with PBS and in the following video, he tests and explains the differences for briskets wrapping in foil, no-wrap, and butcher paper.

    Side Dishes to Go with the Smoked Brisket

    Smoked A5 Japanese wagyu brisket on a wood cutting board next to bbq sauce and potato salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

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    Smoked A5 Japanese wagyu brisket on a wood cutting board next to bbq sauce and potato salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Smoked Wagyu Brisket
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    5 hrs
    Marinate + Rest Time
    13 hrs
    Total Time
    18 hrs 15 mins
     

    Get ready for the most sensational BBQ experience with this Smoked Wagyu Brisket! Slowly cooked in a Traeger over oak pellets, the meat is perfectly juicy, tender, and literally melts in your mouth. Finish it off with Franklin’s BBQ sauce. 

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: bbq, beef, brisket
    Servings: 10
    Author: Mr. JOC
    Ingredients
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients. If brisket is frozen, slowly defrost in the fridge over 1 - 2 days. Do not defrost wagyu at room temperature as the fat will melt.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 1
    2. Pat dry with a paper towel. The brisket we purchased did not require trimming so there was no waste. If your brisket requires trimming, the fat should be trimmed to ¼ inch on the bottom side. Watch Franklin’s video in the blog post for detailed brisket trimming instructions.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 2
    3. If your brisket is not a full packer cut, pay attention to the grain so you can slice it properly after it’s done cooking. We took a picture just in case we forget. You want to cut across the grain to serve.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 3
    4. Combine salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix well. We use this Maraca Sifter (https://amzn.to/2ToPK72)
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 4
    5. Sprinkle seasoning evenly on both top and bottom of the brisket as well as the sides.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 5
    6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 6
    7. Make a container out of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Preheat Traeger to 225 ºF (107 ºC).

      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 7
    8. Place brisket in Traeger smoker along with the aluminum cup filled with water. Check the cup every 1.5-2 hours to make sure it’s got water inside. There is a saying for smoking meat; “if you’re looking you’re not cooking.” To avoid opening the smoker while it’s cooking, use a temperature probe. With the probe inserted, the temperature of the brisket from the fridge is 40 ºF (4 ºC). You don’t need to warm the brisket up to the room temperature prior to smoking.

      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 8
    9. When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 170 ºF (77 ºC), about 5 hours later, take it out of the smoker.

      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 9
    10. Tightly wrap the brisket in butcher paper.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 10
    11. Optionally you can also wrap it in aluminum foil or don’t wrap, but the results will be slightly different. If you don’t wrap, the brisket will be drier and smokier.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 11
    12. Place the brisket back in the smoker and cook until the internal temperature is 185 ºF (85 ºC). This is for wagyu brisket only. For regular brisket smoke until 203 ºF (95 ºC).

      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 12
    13. After removing the brisket from the smoker it should rest for at least 1 hour. Place the brisket inside an ice chest and cover.

      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 13
    14. If you don’t have an ice chest handy just place it inside your oven at a low temperature (160 ºF, 71 ºC).

      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 14
    15. After 1 hour, take brisket out of ice chest and remove it from the paper.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 15
    16. Slice brisket against the grain. Serve with your favorite BBQ Sauce.
      Smoked Wagyu Brisket 16
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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