Ah, summer. While we don't really need an excuse to enjoy some Smoking Meat, it does seem to fit right in with the Fourth of July and barbecue season.
Brisket can be a difficult cut for a cook to master, with a lot of time involved in the smoking process. When done well, however, smoking brisket is worth all the trial and error.
1 (14-lb.; 6.4kg) brisket
• Brisket is one of the nine primal cuts from a cow—from the breast below the top five ribs and behind the foreleg.
• Brisket should appear well marbled (fat lines and cap), be tender to the touch, have a rich red color, and never be frozen.
• Buy the highest-quality brisket you can afford. Higher-quality grades will have more marbling and deeper flavor than less-expensive grades.
Light your pit fire 1 hour prior to smoking.
Add wood 30 minutes prior to smoking.
• Target temp: 250°F (120°C)
• Wood needs: High
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup cracked black pepper
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup paprika
1⁄4 cup cumin
1 TB. onion powder
1 TB. garlic powder
1 TB. cayenne pepper
1. In a medium bowl, combine kosher salt, cracked black pepper, sugar, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
2. Apply a liberal amount of rub to all sides of brisket.
3. Place brisket in a deep pan and refrigerateuncovered overnight to allow rub to deeply penetrate meat.
4. Remove brisket from the refrigerator and allow to rest uncovered at room temperature for at least 1 hour before going into the pit.
TIP: DON’T TRIM THE FAT CAP! Untrimmed brisket has a fat cap that provides insulation during the cooking process and forms a delicious outer bark when smoked. Leaving the fat cap intact aids the brisket during the cooking process, protecting the beef and creating a rich flavor and texture. Also, fat rendered during cooking is easier to remove than cold, unrendered fat.
1. With your pit temperature stabalized at 250°F (120°C) use tongs to place brisket on the middle rack of the pit. Ensure fat cap is facing up and larger of two ends is oriented toward your heat source.
2. Add fuel as required to maintain an even 250°F (120°C) temperature. The amount of fuel necessary will depend on weather conditions and air temperature. Don't allow the temperature to rise and fall more than 5 to 7 degrees throughout the cooking process.
TIP: THE STALL - During the cook time, brisket levels off. The internal temperature stops rising--sometimes for several hours. This process is referred to as the stall. Some scientists think it occurs because of the amount of moisture in the meat and the collagen being converted to gelatin. This stall allows you to practice the art of barbecue patience. As long as you maintain a 250°F (120°C) temperature, your brisket will eventually move beyond this stall, and the meat temperature will rise again.
3. After 8 hours, insert an instant-read thermometer in middle section of brisket to check progress. The eventual target temperature for removing brisket is 170°F (77°C).
4. When brisket has reached the target temperature, about 4 to 6 more hours, remove from the pit. Allow brisket to rest uncovered for at least 1 hour, carryover cooking will allow brisket to reach the preferred serving temperature of 180°F (82°C).
5. Using a chef's knife, slice brisket by separating the flat from the point and cutting across the grain of each part.