This is a tutorial on smoking a brisket with a regular barbecue grill. I will be as detailed as possible. It may seem intimidating, but with a little time, dedication and practice... you'll be giving those "pro Pit Masters" a run for their money in no time.
You don't need to be a Texan or even own a smoker do cook up your own killer brisket at home. My first taste if brisket was in Texas (wife's a Texan) but now this Florida boy can make brisket with the best of them. Stick with me and I'll show you how simple it can be. There's more than one way to do it, but this is what works best for me.
Play with making your own rub, mop, or wood combination. Your family and friends will rave, your taste buds will sing, and you'll be hooked. One thing is for certain, you cook one of these bad boys and there will most certainly be another... and another... and another. You get my drift.
Step 1: Rub
1/8 cup Kosher salt
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup cumin
1/8 cup chili powder
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/8 cup onion powder
1/8 cup fresh cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
Take all the dry rub ingredients and combine into a bowl. Whisk them together for use later on making sure that you break up any clumps. The brown sugar always causes clumps. I put my rub in a big spice container. I always double up on the measurements to make an extra batch of the next brisket.
Step 2: Marinade and Mop
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 minced garlic cloves
1/8 cup brown sugar
Combine ingredients to be used for flavor injecting during prep. This mixture will also be used for moping during the smoking process.
I love using this beer as it is one of my favorite. It is an ale that has been aged in bourbon barrels and has tons of flavor. I'm a big barrel aged beer fan. It has become one of my favorite styles and this one is a winner.
Step 3: Trim Brisket
There's gonna be a layer of fat separating most of the flat from the point. The point is where "burnt ends" comes from. The flat is where you get your long slices from. I like to separate the point from the flat before smoking for a few reasons.
1st - I do this out of necessity. I have a barbecue grill, not a smoker. The length of the brisket is to wide to fit on my grill without separating it. Later on I will show you the set up for converting a regular grill into a smoker.
2nd - I don't like a layer of fat running through my flat.
3rd - The grain on the flat runs in a different direction than the point. Once cooked, you would separate the flat from the point anyways.
4th - Doing this beforehand cuts your cook time down significantly.
I separate flat from point by allowing that layer
of fat dictate where I'm running my knife. Yes I'll get some flat on my point but it's my brisket and I do what I want with my brisket. If you cut to get more flat then you get that fat layer running right down the middle. I really hate that fat layer in the flat.
The brisket I purchased weighed in at 14.5 pounds. I trimmed 4.5 pounds of fat off the brisket. This brings my total weight to 10 pounds.
Step 4: Wet Base
1/8 cup worcestershire
Combine ingredients to be used as wet base before applying dry rub. This will help dry rub stick to brisket and add another layer of flavor.
Step 5: Flavor Injecting
Step 6: Apply Wet Base and Rub
Step 7: Rest
Step 8: Setting Up BBQ Grill - 7am
I start off with coals stacked in a pyramid and paper underneath. I use 100% natural coal and yes I use lighter fluid to get the fire going. Make sure all of the lighter fluid has been burned off and the fire is glowing white hot before putting your brisket on the grill. Add your wood and water to your water pan. I start off with chunks of mesquite and will later incorporate some apple wood.
Step 9: Get to Smokin - 8am
I have cut my brisket into two sections. My total weight is 10 pounds making my weight per piece approximately 5 lbs each. What I'm looking for is a cook time of around one hour and 15 minutes per pound at the temp of 250 to 275. With this smoking setup, it's damn near impossible to keep the temp at around 225 for "low and slow".
I'll be looking at a total cook time of about 7 hours. 6 hours of smoking and then I foil. Back on the grill for 1 hour foiled and then it rests for 1 hour.
Step 10: Hour 1 - 9am
Step 11: Hour 2 - 10am
Step 12: Hour 3 - 11am
Step 13: Hour 4 - 12pm
This is when I begin it add the apple wood to the mix. I like the combination but you experiment with it and find your favorite. I have not had to add any water to my pan yet as the brisket continues to render and contract.
P.S. The beer used for hydration purposes is one of my favorite easy drinking all day lagers. Best of all is that I find it tastier than some of the leading lagers in the market and it's only 4 bucks for a 6 pack.
Step 14: Hour 5 - 1pm
Step 15: Hour 6 - 2pm
Set it back on the grill and cook for an additional hour. At this point, it makes no sense to continue burning wood. I switch back to lump coal because the smoking is done once you wrap in foil. The foil method is known by some as "the Texas Crutch". This is done to prevent surface evaporation from the meat. Before and after wrapping, evaporation cools the meat, and that is what is responsible for the infamous "stall" a period of several hours where the meat's internal temp plateaus. With the crutch, the meat finishes cooking faster.
Crutch for too long, and you will extract flavor from the meat, remove all the rub, and cause the proteins to get their undies in a bunch, forming tight knots that will make the meat tough and wring out moisture, and then eventually make the meat too soft and mushy.
Step 16: Rest
Step 17: Carve Flat
Step 18: Carve Point
Step 19: Share With Family and Friends
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