We moved to Texas about 10 years ago, and fell in love with some of its iconic foods: queso, kolaches, migas, sweet tea, and smoked brisket. Oh baby, that’s good brisket! I read all the books. No, that’s not an exaggeration. I like to tackle things nerd-on. And I practiced, just making one little modification each time til I got my perfect brisket.
Give it a try! If you love it, come find me again! 😀
Jen’s Barbecue Smoked Brisket
The day before your barbecue….
12 lb whole packer brisket – Costco carries some beautiful ones! This one is 13 1/2 lbs
So what you’re looking at here is *mostly* the flat. This will face down on the grill. I trim away the messy fat off this side. That stripe of fat that’s running diagonally, is what separates the flat (most of the pic) from the point (you can see a little bit of it about the dividing fat line). I trim the excess fat from the diagonal down. There was a hard chunk of fat without any meat in the bottom right corner, so I took that off, too.
Then I flip if over to the fat cap side, and trim the fat to about ¼ inch. (Some people prefer 1/2 inch. If you like fattier meat, you might want to trim a little less than I do.) The oddly shaped bit that sticks up at the rounded end, mostly on the fat cap side, is called the point.
Just note which is the flat and point, so that you’re able to position the thermometer probe correctly later.
3 Tablespoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
3 Tablespoons black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon mustard
Mix the rub ingredients together and shake all over the brisket. Set it on a baking sheet in the fridge, so it’ll be all ready the next morning.
The day of your barbecue….timed about 11 ½ hours before dinner….
Set up your smoker to cook at around 250°F. I’ve got a kamado-style grill. I build a nice natural charcoal fire. (If you’ve got an electric smoker, turn it on and set it to 250°F. Don’t add any chips til it hits 250°F! They wont start smoking until its good and hot.)
When it hits about 240°, I toss on 5 big mesquite or hickory wood chunks. Then I set the diffuser plate in. This allows smoking with indirect heat. Set a small pan on the diffuser plate with a little liquid. Water, apple cider, or a half can of cheap yellow beer all work perfectly. And finally add the grill grate with a thermometer attached to monitor the grill temperature at the level where your meat will be cooking. Adjust your top and bottom vents to keep the cooker at 250°F.
When it’s holding at 250°F, set your brisket in, fat side up. Smoke for about 7 hours, making sure that the temp stays right (I don’t worry as long as it’s staying between 225-275). In the kamado, that’s enough to smoke it. (If you’re using electric, add a small handful of chips each hour.)
Probe 1 is in the center of the flat. It starts at about 45 degrees. When it hits 170, I wrap the brisket, put the thermometer back in, and return it to the smoker. When it hits 205-208, it’s done. Probe 2 is clipped onto the grill grate to give me the temperature of the smoker right at meat level. I’m looking for 250, but am just checking to see that it stays between about 225-275. I love this thermometer. He’s a nice value play at $60, and comes with 2 probes and a grill grate clip. It has meat settings and doneness levels pre-programmed, so you’re set even if you don’t have your temps memorized. I *wish* it was Wi-Fi, but it’s not. ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer with Dual Probe for Smoker Grill BBQ Thermometer
Wrap the brisket in Pink Butcher Paper. (Amazon sells it. I’ve seen it at restaurant supply stores and grill stores, too.) Stick a probe thermometer right in the center of the flat of the brisket. Put it back in the smoker, and let it cook til that internal temperature probe reads 205-208°, about 3 more hours. I used to pull it anywhere between 200-205, but after reading the Franklin BBQ book, I pulled one at 200 and the next at 205, and laughed when we noticed the difference.
Remove it from the cooker and leave it in its butcher paper. Pop it in a big cooler and rest it for an hour or two. If it goes a little longer than that, it’s not a problem.
Slice that smoky deliciousness (a serrated bread knife will do the trick if you don’t have a brisket slicer) and hand it to people that are about to be a whole lot happier. You did it, you barbecuing magician, you! I love this brisket knife, and it’s cheap! Yay! Mercer Culinary Millennia 14-Inch Granton-Edge Slicer Knife. I recently picked up an electric slicer for roast beef po’ boys, and that’s flipping fantastic for brisket, too. Not so cheap… Chef’sChoice Electric Food Slicer.
This must be served with pickles and raw onions. Barbecue sauce and cheap white bread are optional. I can’t give you my barbecue sauce recipe, because it’s not mine. We love the espresso BBQ sauce from Franklin’s BBQ. Found the recipe online for you! Franklin’s Espresso Barbecue Sauce. My youngest can’t quick poking her finger in the sauce and licking it. If you’re on your way to our house, sorry. Yeah, she does that. And she doesn’t apologize. She laughs when you catch her. If you’re a book nerd, you might already have the recipe. I found it in three of my books, Aaron Franklin’s Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto, Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades–Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too, and Terry Thompson-Anderson’s Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State.
Great side dishes: coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, mashed potatoes, baked beans, corn on the cob, jell-o salad, fruit salad. About that corn….
Jen’s Chile Lime Corn
I love lime flavor on corn. The powdered lime has a concentrated lime flavor and since it’s moisture free, it doesn’t object to being mixed with butter. Magic, I tell you.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons True Lime powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
8 cobs of corn
Grill for 10-12 minutes. Brush with the tasty butter towards the end.
If this were summer, I’d buy corn in the husk, remove the silk, soak it for an hour, then brush it with the tasty butter, and pop it in the smoker when I pull the brisket off, and smoke it in the husks until it’s tender, about an hour to an hour and a half.
The first pic is sliced with an electric slicer, and the second is hand sliced….
There are so many barbecue books that I love, but here are some of my absolute favorites……
Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto. Although he does have recipes at the end, that’s not really what this book is about. It feels like you’re being mentored. Aaron walks you through all the components of barbecue from wood, to smoke, to meat selection, and you can see what he’s looking for, and how he’s interpreting it. If you’re a barbecue lover and at the nerdy end of the spectrum, I think you’ll love it. I read it cover to cover, unable to set it down, like the meat-smoking page-turner of a manifesto that it is.
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling. This one is a killer smoking and grilling book. His Last Meal Ribs are a thing of beauty. <sniff> If you’re an electronic recipe person, you can find him online at AmazingRibs.com.