BBQ SauceYour choice – ours is kind of secret… made of butter, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sugar, salt pepper, and chipotle peppers
#1 Prep The Beef Brisket For Smoking
Start with a brisket in the 5-pound range, which is just the right size to fit on the grill. Trim the brisket so as to leave a ¼-inch cap of fat. (Any less and the brisket will dry out; any more, and the fat will prevent the rub from seasoning the meat.)
Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and stir to mix. Rub onto the brisket on all sides. If you have time, wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and let it cure in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the brisket right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat.
#2 Prep The Charcoal Grill For Smoking
Preheat the grill to about 250 degrees F. David preheats the grill about 25 degrees more than where he will smoke the brisket, because there is heat loss when the lid is removed to place the brisket to the grill.
To maintain this low temperature, begin by lighting only about 10 to 16 pieces of charcoal and set up the grill for an indirect Three-Zone Split-Fire. To do this separate the coals into two equal piles on opposite sides of the grill grate.
Meanwhile, heat some water for the water pan. When the water is hot, place a stainless steel bowl or aluminum pan between the two piles of coals on each side of the bottom charcoal grate. Pour in the warm water, the put the cooking grate in place. Close the grill with the lid and allow it to come up to temperature.
#3 Smoking The Beef Brisket
When the grill is ready to cook, remove the lid and place the brisket on the hot grate over the drip pan, fat side up, toss a chunk or two of mesquite wood on each pile of coals.
Bring the temperature up to 225 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature.
You will need to add fresh coals and more wood chunks to each side of the grill every hour for at least the first 4 hours.
#4 Low And Slow
Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid unless you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.
#5 Never Mind The Stall
When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches about 165 degrees F, the surface evaporation of the brisket causes the meat’s internal temperature to plateau. Pit Masters call this “the stall.” Don’t panic. Just wait out the stall.
#6 Test For Doneness
Smoke the brisket until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 190 degrees F, about 5 hours; monitor the probe thermometer and use an instant-read thermometer, such as a Thermapen to help check for doneness.
The ideal temperature of a properly smoked brisket is 190 degrees F.
It is important to keep in mind that the internal temperature of the brisket can increase by 10 degrees even after it has been removed from the grill. If the internal temperature is 190 degrees F when you take it off the grill, it may rise to an optimal 200 degrees F, perfect! Any hotter than that and could overcook your brisket, which results in dry, chewy meat, no thank you!
Take the brisket off the grill and wrap it tightly inside some heavy-duty aluminum foil for at least 1 hour.
Holding helps tenderize by allowing some carryover cooking which helps melt tough connective tissue. The foil captures the natural au jus for use in a sauce, and holding allows the surface parts that have dried out during cooking to absorb some of the juices.
#8 Slicing The Beef Brisket
Slicing a brisket is a bit of a challenge because there are two muscles and the grain flows in different directions. Brisket is easier to chew if you cut it across to the grain. Cut with the grain and it can be stringy and chewy.
Don’t slice the brisket until the last possible minute. Once the brisket is cut, it dries out pretty quickly. When you are ready, Turn the meat fat side up so the juices will run onto the meat as you slice.
Start slicing the flat, cutting across the grain so the meat will fall apart in your mouth about ¼-inch thick, about the thickness of a pencil. Cut off the flat where the point meats it and then they rotate it so the cut is on the side and they slice through the point and flat from the side.
This is smoked beef brisket. To some people, it’s not barbecue unless it has a sweet red sauce on it. Sorry folks, we celebrate great brisket by not messing with it while it is on the grill. If your brisket is cooked correctly, then slice it and serve it naked, leaving the sauce completely optional.
Perfectly cooked meat should be moist and juicy. You can serve it simply sliced on a plate or as a sandwich. If you wish, drizzle some sauce and serve slices of flat fanned out like a deck of cards surrounded by chunks of burnt ends from the point.
If you use wood chips instead of chunks, consider soaking a few handfuls in water for about 30 minutes before placing them atop the coals. This will keep them from burning up too fast and will provide more smoke.Charcoal baskets are great for holding the clusters of charcoal together. The baskets also help them burn longer. It's important to smoke the meat according to temperature and not worry about the amount of time. There are many variables that influence how long it will take to smoke the meat. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer such as Smoke™ from Thermoworks.
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