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A beef brisket is known as one of the toughest parts of a cow you can put on your smoker, though when prepared and cooked correctly it can be the best tasting and most tender meat you will ever eat. In this section, I will teach you how to choose, prepare, and barbeque a beef brisket, Texas style, so you can impress your friends the next time you BBQ! Enjoy this BBQ Brisket Recipe
CHOOSING A BRISKET
Make sure the brisket has not been frozen. A frozen brisket may not display a deep red color, the fat may be darker instead of white, and the brisket will not turn out as tender and juicy as a fresh one after smoking it. You may have trouble finding a brisket that hasn't been frozen - just make sure it is fresh.
When I choose a brisket, I lift the brisket in the middle to see how limber it is. I have seen briskets that are stiff as a board, and some that bend over each side of my hand. The stiff ones have probably been frozen or they can be tough. I have noticed that a stiff brisket may not be as tender as a limber brisket. Some people disagree with this test, but I am a firm believer because of the results I get.
The weight of the brisket should be between 8 to 12 pounds. A larger brisket takes longer to cook, and the flat may become tougher because of the longer cooking time. The flat is thin and tends to cook faster.
PREPARING THE BRISKET
For this BBQ brisket recipe, I start my preparation process the night before I want to smoke the brisket. First, make sure you have plenty of work space and a clean area to prepare the brisket on. The brisket should have fat on it no more than 1/4 inch thick. Thicker fat will not allow the smoke to penetrate into the meat located under the fat. If the fat is too thick, trim it down until you reach the 1/4-inch thickness. Use a sharp knife and be careful.
After trimming the brisket, I rub the brisket down with mustard. The mustard creates a sticky surface on the meat for the rub to stick to, and it also adds a great flavor when combined with the rub. Massage the mustard into every portion of the meat, including the fat, so that it covers the brisket nicely. You do not want the mustard layer to be too thick; it should be just enough to create a paste for the rub to stick to.
I chose to use a rub on my briskets instead of a marinade because I have found that marinades penetrate only about 1/2 of an inch deep into the meat. You should use whichever method you like best, but I am going to describe the rub method. Marinade and rub recipes can be found by clicking on either of the links.
After fully covering the brisket in mustard, apply the rub on the brisket. When done correctly, the rub should form an evenly distributed layer of seasoning on the brisket. Use a little mustard at a time and rub it all over the brisket until it is fully covered - like you are painting the brisket.
Wrap the prepared brisket in Cling wrap, or a similar material, to seal it, and then refrigerate it overnight.
Smoking a Beef Brisket
I use a wood smoker with a firebox to provide indirect heat for outdoor cooking. I have found this method to be the best, but there are many more smokers available to choose from such as water smokers, propane smokers, and charcoal smokers that also do a great job.
I use mesquite for smoking briskets because it provides a delicious smoke flavor, burns hotter so less wood is used, and that is how we do it in Texas. Many people do not use mesquite, which is fine, and I have included a section for wood selection to provide you with information about the different types of wood that are good to use for smoking purposes.
To achieve the best results, I cook the beef brisket at 225 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound. Many variables also affect cooking time and temperature such as how many times the smoker is opened, how close the brisket is to the fire box, the thickness of the brisket, etc, but sticking to 225 degrees/1 hr. 15 mn. will work well for you. Many people believe that when the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 180 degrees, it is done. This is both true and false. When the internal temperature of the brisket is around 180, the fat in the brisket really begins to melt. The brisket will maintain this temperature for a while because the melting fat helps cool it. Cooking through this point adds to the tenderness you will achieve when it is done.
I always use a mop sauce to baste the brisket while it is smoking. This will keep the outside of the brisket moist and tender. It is important to keep the lid closed while smoking the brisket to reduce heat loss and maintain a constant temperature, so I baste the brisket with the mop sauce about every 45 minutes to 1 hour.
A great way to keep briskets moist while smoking them is to use 3/4 apple juice mixed with 1/4 cooking oil. It gives the brisket a great flavor, which is not overpowering, while keeping the brisket moist from the oil. An easy way to apply this mop is to put it in a spray bottle and simply spray it on the brisket.
After 5 hours a brisket usually will not absorb much more smoke. An option for finishing a brisket is to wrap it in aluminum foil, and place it in an oven at 225 degrees for the remaining cook time. I rarely use this method because I enjoy smoking the brisket for the full time, but I have used it, and it works. Some people do not have all day to baby a smoker. Don't be afraid to finish it in the oven, it will work just fine.
SLICING THE BRISKET
ALWAYS slice the brisket against the grain. Doing this will make the cuts of meet very tender. To do this, remove some fat from the top of the brisket to see the direction of the grain in the meat, and slice against it.
I separate the point from the flat before I slice the brisket because the grain generally runs the same direction in the flat, and it is easier to see when it is separated. The point is a little harder to correctly slice because the grain in it runs in different directions. After some practice at carving the brisket, you will know which direction the grain runs, and you will find it much easier.
Add your favorite barbeque sauce.
Perfect your smoking techniques, and you will win a barbeque competition in no time! If you have questions about this BBQ brisket recipe, let me know at email@example.com