Hello and welcome to the April edition of the Smoking-Meat.com monthly newsletter. I am your host, Jeff Phillips, and I will endeavor to keep the newsletter short and to the point with as much good info as possible without boring you to death with small details.
Now let's get straight to it!
Oh the Smell of Barbecue is in the Air
I don't know about your neighborhood but in mine the smells on weekends are enough to drive you wild! Hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill… steaks being seared.. and from my house its pecan, hickory, or mesquite smoked meat which can range from ribs to pork shoulder to a fat juicy brisket!
I love summer and more importantly I love the weekends with all those great smells that make your mouth water like you ain't ate in days and most of us could afford to miss a few meals but with all the food and barbecue who cares about that?
I have been planning for some time to rewrite my brisket smoking process and spend a little more time with the details and include all of the ins and outs of selection to gettin' it ready for the smoker to mopping it plum juicy, and finally serving it up majestically to your awaiting guests who will most likely adorn you with praise for many years to come.
For this newsletter, I will show you how to smoke the perfect brisket every time… are you ready? Well then, let's get started!
Juicy Smoked Brisket
Selecting a good brisket
When selecting a brisket for smoking do not look for the biggest one.. in fact one in the range of 7 to 9 pounds is best. You will also want to find one that has not been trimmed of its fat since the fat will render as it smokes and serve to keep the meat basted and moist throughout the entire smoking period. Once you have located a brisket in the required range balance the edge of the brisket on the side of you hand and watch for the brisket to arch over on both sides. Your prize brisket should be the one the arches or bends the most.
You will also want to make sure the fat cap is nice and firm and preferably white to creamy colored as opposed to yellow.
Preparing the brisket for smoking
After removing the plastic wrapping.. wash the brisket with cool water and pat dry with a clean paper towel. You will then want to lay the brisket on a clean surface such as some butcher paper or perhaps on a large cutting board. The following marinade can be made in a matter of minutes and is very important to the flavor and tenderness of the brisket:
1 large yellow onion 7 garlic cloves 4 TBS course ground pepper juice from 1 lemon 1 dash of cayenne or about 1/8 teaspoon (more if you want to jazz things up a bit)
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree to a fine paste.
I like to make a series of cross cuts in the fat cap about 1 inch apart at this point.. just cut down through the fat to where the meat begins which is usually about 1/4 inch or so. Make horizontal, vertical, and diagonal cuts in the fat cap so that the marinade can seep down to the meat.
Place the meat in a shallow non-metallic dish and coat the meat with the onion paste.. top, bottom, and sides. Cover the container tightly and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 12 hours.
12 hours later get the smoker going, remove the brisket from the fridge and place as is on the smoker without rinsing off the marinade.
Preparing the smoker
I have a large wood smoker with 30 inch firebox and 30 inch by 60 inch smoker barrel so my fire building technique may differ from yours especially if you have an electric, charcoal, or propane smoker or even a grill (yes, you can smoke with a grill).
Start a fire by using kindling or paper and 3 or 4 dry, seasoned pieces of hard wood such as oak, hickory or pecan(make sure the inlet is open to about 2/3 and the exhaust is open all the way).
Once you have a nice bed of coals (about 45 minutes later) that is sustaining around 230 degrees, place the brisket in the smoker fat side up and walk away.
Smoke that brisket juicy
Let the brisket smoke for about 2 hours undisturbed adding wood as necessary to maintain steady temperature.
After 2 hours go in the kitchen and mix the following ingredients for your mop:
1 Cup water 1 stick butter 2 TBS cajun seasoning (I recommend Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning)
Place in microwave until butter is melted and mix well.
Take the mop to the smoker and using a mopping brush or some other useful object, mop the brisket real good turn the brisket over (fat side down) and mop that side as well.. leave the brisket fat side down for 45 minutes and repeat the process only this time the meat will end up fat side up again.
Repeat this mopping every 45 minutes until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees for slicing or 200 degrees for pulling or chopping. (you can count on about 1.5 hours per pound)
I like to pull the meat out of the smoker at about 180 degrees, double wrap in foil, double wrap with clean thick towels, and place in a large cooler with a pillow to fill the rest of the void.
The brisket will continue to tenderize and will stay nice and warm (above 140 degrees) for 4 to 6 hours this way.
Serve the brisket
Slice brisket across the grain and it will usually cut with a fork and be extremely tender.
You can also pull the meat into chunks or chop it if you cooked it a little longer.
Make sure you have plenty of good barbecue sauce to go with it either way and enjoy to the max!