If you’re thinking of BBQ in Carolina, you’re probably thinking pork. But, when you think about BBQ in Texas, you’re probably thinking of beef. And what kind of beef are you thinking about? Brisket.
Nearly inedible unless cooked correctly, it become a nearly unanimous favorite that can melt in your mouth. So, here, I’m going to share the brisket that is current the favorite of myself, my family, and all of my guests.
I prefer to start with a “packer’s cut”. A good guide to brisket selection can be found at the Virtual Weber Bullet.
These days, I don’t do much trimming on my brisket before cooking. Why? Because that fat melts over the meat, and it’s delicious! Besides, you can certainly trim after it’s cooked. However, one thing that do pretty reliably during prep is that I score the brisket before I apply the rub. This is because carving the brisket incorrectly can make it much tougher than it would have otherwise been. Carving a brisket across the grain is important, and it can be pretty tough to recognize the grain once it’s all dark and beautiful. So, before you rub the brisket, turn it fat side down, and score the meat across the grain. As close to 90 degrees as you get it is good. As you can see, I wasn’t that close this time. 😉
Now, it’s time for the inappropriate meat rubbing innuendo. It is sometimes necessary to do it yourself, but it’s always better when you can find someone else to do it for you! My current favorite beef brisket rub is the #1 beef brisket rub from Food Network. I do doctor it a bit, in that I use close to equal parts sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, I also add cayenne. The recipe calls for a teaspoon. I usually do a bit more than double that, so probably 2-2.5 teaspoons of cayenne. Before applying the rub, I always rub the scored brisket with olive oil, and then apply the rub. Cover the rubbed brisket with cling wrap, and allow it to sit in the refrigerator. I usually hope for twelve hours or better.
As far as the smoke of the brisket itself? There are only two things that I personally strive for.
Keep smoker temperature as close to 225°F as possible.
Get the brisket to 190°F if at all possible. It makes a difference.
Beyond that, there is room for experimentation. My personal preference, is to use hickory as my smoke wood. I’m looking forward to trying some stuff that I haven’t tried, such as oak, pecan, and walnut, which are all said to be similar to hickory as a smoke wood, but a bit more gentle in flavor. This isn’t a problem in this house, though, as we all like hickory. Beyond that, I personally prefer chunk wood as opposed to chips.
Do you have any tips or tricks that you like to use when smoking brisket? I’d love to hear about them.
- 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper (use fresh cracked pepper)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano leaves (dried)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Combine ingredients.