Smoking Brisket


Though I spend a lot of time grilling and smoking meats, beef brisket is not a cut that I've had much experience with. In fact, this weekend is only the third time I've tried to smoke a brisket. I hadn't had much luck with the first two, but I had recently done some research and was hoping my newly aquired knowledge would allow me to be up for the challenge.

I started with a fresh whole (15 lb) brisket that had been vaccum sealed. With the rapidly rising prices of beef, the brisket was actually less per pound than ground chuck (80/20).
I have limited space in my smoker so I divided the brisket into three parts. I cut the flat (6-7) pounds and set it aside for smoking. I froze the other to pieces to be oven roasted at a later date. After trimming up a little excess fat, I drizzled the brisket flat with olive oil and coated it with Denny Mike's Cow Bell Hell (spicy beef rub). I also injected the beef with a mixture of red wine vinegar, olive oil and worcestershire sauce.
I let the brisket rest overnight so that the rub and spices could work their magic. Brisket is a thick, tough cut that requires a lot of time for the spices to penetrate the meat. The next day, I set up the smoker for low and slow cooking. I added a mixture of cherry and alder wood from Maine Grilling Woods to the coals. Normally I would use mequite or hickory for brisket, but I was out of those paritcular varities.
I smoked the brisket for about 7 hours at 225-250 degrees, basting the meat with the vinegar/worcestshire mixture every hour. After seven hours, I wrapped the meat tightly in foil, added a 1/4 cup of liquid and cooked it for an additional 6 hours. It's important to give meat a chance to rest after removing it from the heat. For brisket, I would recommend letting it rest at least an hour before cutting into it.

The next challenge was slicing the brisket. I don't have very good knives and the task normally requires an ultra sharp slicing knife. All I could do was choose the knife that seemed the sharpest and slice it as evenly as possible. Despite the dull knife shredding bits of the beef, most of it actually sliced pretty well. The end result was a large mound of delicious, uniformly sliced beef.
This brisket was definitely the best I've done so far. The smoke ring wasn't quite as prominent as I was hoping, but the overall appearance, flavor and texture was very good. I served the brisket with Jake's original bbq sauce which paired nicely with the beef.

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