A simple, yet tried and true texas smoked brisket that you'll find across most parts of texas. Brisket is normally a tough awnry piece of beef that needs only a slow smoke to bring out a tender, juicy and flavorful meat.
I still smile every time I talk about brisket. My wife and I were at Famous Dave's a few summers ago when she asked the waitress how the brisket was. Her reply was almost comical - she replied "it kinda has a smokey flavor". We both kind of laughed and skipped past the irony that I had surely smoked enough brisket that year to have fed the entire restaurant.
This recipe is a good starter bbq brisket recipe that is easy to follow and will net predictable results...and yes, it has a smoky flavor!
Yield: 12 servings: 1 lb/person before trimming and cooking
Prep time: 15 minutes
1 whole packer brisket or brisket flat
2/3 - 1 cup soy sauce
salt and pepper
1 can beef broth (optional)
In Texas oak, pecan and apple are typically the favorites used to cook a brisket. I normally like to do a 50/50 mix of oak and hickory pellets. I especially like mixing oak and pecan. Start your fire and allow the temp to stabilize around 250 degrees. If you're using a grill with a digital thermostat I normally warm it up to 325 until I put the meat on and then drop it to 225. While the fire is stabilizing I prepare brisket by wetting it with soy sauce then shake garlic salt and ground pepper onto wet meat - about 1 tsp each.
Once temp has stabilized put meat on cooker (fatty side up - this will continue to moisten the meat when it hits the hotter temperatures). I normally will put an oven thermometer in near the point or thicker part of the brisket now. The only thing you do for the next 4 hours is keep the temp around 225 °F. Do not open the lid to the meat. Trust me - its still in there.
Right about now if the meat is starting to dry out you can mop w/ beef broth or olive oil to keep it from drying out. About now the crust has formed and the meat wont absorb any more smoke after this time and the edges will harden and turn charcoal black if you don't wrap the meat. Check the temperature, at 175-180 degrees pull the brisket off and now is a good time to use what they call the 'Texas Crutch'. Wrap the meat in heavy-duty aluminum foil (the regular stuff will just tear as you move it on the grill) with 2 layers on the bottom and poor the rest of the warmed beef broth over the brisket. Then put it back on the smoker. Keep it wrapped for about an hour or so until it hits 190. Then remove it from the tin foil so the bark can firm back up.
Total cooking time depends on the size and your smoker, but a good rule of thumb is 1 1/2 hr per pound at 225 °F. As you cook a few briskets you will get the feel for when it is done. It can be a tough piece of meat and some need a little more time than others. I normally shoot for between 195-200 °F. If the brisket isn't done, you can turn off your smoker and let it sit on the still-warm grill for 1-2 hours or stick it in the cooler like I mention below.
When you pull it off you will need to let the meat rest. Think of it like a steak - normally you will let an already tender piece of steak rest for about 5 minutes. Briskets need a little more time. If you are ready to eat you can leave it wrapped and cover it with a few towels for about 20 minutes. You can also put it in a cooler for up to 2-3 hours if needed - just line the cooler with towels and a pan so the heat doesn't warp the cooler. Leave the thermometer in and you can occasionally check the temp - with beef you shouldn't let it drop below 145 °F.