How to Be The Hero of Your Backyard

The perfect backyard barbecue isn’t something you master overnight. It’s going to take some real practice and man-hours dedicated to honing the perfect activities. And the perfect seasoned beef brisket recipe.

Luckily, we’ve spent quite a bit of time contemplating this very topic. So we present to you our very best advice when it comes to your pursuit of backyard herodom.

Starting with the perfect beef brisket.

Seasoned Beef Brisket 101

The best part about a Morton’s of Omaha brisket? There’s no fuss involved.

That’s because our briskets come pre-seasoned with spice recipes that bring out the very best flavor in the meat. But it’s important for you to know where we’re coming from. Let’s start with the basics:

  1. Start with the perfect cut: Many briskets require you to trim the excess fat yourself. Luckily, ours comes pre-trimmed to take away a lot of the prep time.
  2. Salt and Pepper: It’s a spice combination as old as time. But don’t underestimate it. The granules from the salt and pepper are crucial when it comes to forming that crunchy bark on the outside of your brisket.
  3. Don’t overdo it: Our Salt & Pepper Brisket comes loaded with the perfect amount of seasoning. So don’t feel like you have to add more from your own spice cabinet. You don’t want your guests complaining about an over-salted brisket.
  4. What about sauce though? Sure, why not! We suggest laying out a range of sauces for your guests to sample, from mild to extra spicy and sweet and tangy, just to give them another excuse to go back for seconds.

The Perfect Smoke Ring

Surely you’ve heard of the smoke ring. And if you didn’t exactly know what it was called, you’ve definitely seen it and tasted it. The smoke ring is that red rim around the outside edge of each brisket slice.

There’s a whole lot of chemistry that goes into the formulation of a smoke ring. But here’s the short version: The smoke ring is a marker for how long the meat was cooked. Too big of a smoke ring and the meat might be overdone.

This process will require a bit of trial and error until you get it perfect. But here’s how to get off on the right foot:

  1. Good airflow is a high priority. You’ll need to place your brisket in the offset chamber of your smoker, which will help to concentrate the smoke you’ve created. If smoke escapes from the chamber, block it with tape or a cloth.
  2. Next comes the fuel. We recommend either lump charcoal or hardwoods. Charcoal can be easier because the compounds in the charcoal help release the smoke. Wood chips work too, but they’ll give you a more modest smoke ring.
  3. Finally, the heat. The smoker should be set to 220°F with the damper wide open. You’ll start to see smoke coming out of the damper. That means you’re ready to go. “Low and slow” is a good technique to remember during this process. That means low heat, longer cook time.

How to Know When Your Salt & Pepper Brisket Is Ready

Brisket has a pretty wide range of acceptable internal temperature — from 195°F to 220°F. But you should remove your brisket from the smoker on the low end of that range. Overcooked brisket can start to crumble and fall apart.

We suggest picking up an instant-read thermometer so you can be as accurate as possible. Stick your thermometer into the thickest part of the beef brisket for the most accurate reading.

As a final step, we recommend a tenderness check of the brisket. You can check for tenderness by inserting a skewer into the brisket. It should feel similar to pushing the skewer into peanut butter.

But just because it’s “done” doesn’t mean it’s done. Brisket needs to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. During that time, the brisket will be hot enough to continue cooking itself, and this will allow for a more even cook throughout.

We suggest wrapping the brisket in foil during this time to keep the heat from escaping.


America’s Favorite Yard Games

Chances are your cookout will have some kids running around. Or at least kid-like adults. Fuel that competitive spirit by setting up the classic yard games, plus a few wildcards:

  1. Cornhole: Some call it cornhole, some call it bags. It has so many names because it’s the favorite in all regions. You can play with teams of two or just go one-on-one, so cornhole is great for any part size.
  2. Giant Block Tower: A lot of fun, for the low price of a few 2×4’s. It’s just like the smaller block-stacking game you’re used to, but when the giant is set up in the yard, people flock to it like moths to a flame. And if you forget it’s there, don’t worry, you’ll be reminded when you hear the tower of wood come crashing to the ground.
  3. Water balloon dodgeball: Don’t fear the hot weather, embrace it. There’s something about a barrel of full water balloons. It’s physically impossible to resist. But you can give the fight a little structure by setting up a tournament. Or just have an all-out battle royale.
  4. Croquet: Don’t be afraid to class this place up a bit. Does everyone know the exact rules to this game? Not necessarily. Is it fun to use a giant mallet to hit a ball through a wicket? Absolutely. Keep an eye out for used croquet sets. You’d be surprised how cheap they can be.
  5. Giant beer pong: It’s a great way to say, “I still have the energy of a college student even though I’m a homeowner now.” The setup is the same as real beer pong, but with trash cans instead of cups and a basketball instead of a table tennis ball. Pro tip: Don’t chug beer out of the trash can. There could’ve been a raccoon in there.

Set Up a Beer Pairing

A cookout is only as good as its sides. And by sides, of course we mean beverages. There’s nothing better than loitering around your smoker with your buddies and an ice cold beer. So we say, make an activity out of it.

Check out our tips for nailing the beer pairing.

  1. Start out light: There’s no need to rush into things. A backyard BBQ is a marathon, not a sprint. So don’t dig into the heavy ones too early in the afternoon. Your favorite domestic light beer can be super refreshing, especially while you’re hanging around the 225-degree smoker.
  2. The entrée: Briskets are loaded with flavor. You need a beer that can keep up. Here are some thought starters.
    • The hoppiness of an IPA is the perfect complement to that charred brisket bark.
    • Like sweet BBQ sauce? Try a sweet beer too. Look for a brown ale with notes of honey.
    • A Dunkel is hearty but not too filling. So you can enjoy a beer while saving room for more meat.
  3. Don’t forget dessert: There’s still a place for stouts and ports in all this. But consider saving them for after the main dish. You’ll be able to relax and sip slow on a full stomach.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry.

Throwing a big backyard bash can feel like a big undertaking if you’ve never done it before, but it’s really pretty simple. When the meat’s cooked just right, the beverages are flowin’ and there’s plenty of activities to keep the fun moving, you’ll send your guests home with some stories to tell.

We may not be able to help you set up that giant block tower, but we’re happy to give you the best shot at delivering a perfect brisket. The best part about a Morton’s of Omaha brisket? There’s no fuss involved. That’s because our Salt & Pepper brisket comes pre-seasoned, pre-trimmed and ready to add the heat.

So pick one up today, and we’ll see you on the water balloon dodgeball field.