In Texas, beef brisket is popular. The southern state of America has perfected a style of smoking that yields so much extraordinary beefy flavour, but it also accessible enough to be done in the home. However, smoking beef brisket is an undertaking. As this cut of cow is tough and thick, this slab can overwhelm those who do not understand it. If smoked properly brisket is luscious, moist and disintegrates in your mouth. Patience is a virtue and only the virtuous will prevail. A whole brisket out on the pit will require a session of eight to fourteen hours at your smoker.
The beef brisket is rich with connective tissue, hence the low and slow approach. It has two distinct muscles separated by a layer of fat: the flat and the point. Together, they’re known as a packer cut. The point is densely marbled and sits on top of the leaner flat. Both will take many hours to soften and render.
In order to tame this town-feeding mass of beef, slice away at it first. Trim the fat away until there is only a centimetre of fat around the exterior. The thick fatty sections of brisket are not desirable. Next, season the meat generously. Texan tradition only calls for kosher salt and coarse black pepper. For the more adventurous, Obie-Cues Big Bull Brisket Rub adds garlic and spice for more robust flavor. The husky muscle group should be truly coated. Let the cut come to room temperature and then heave it into your smoker set to 135 degrees Celsius. If possible, place it so the fat cap is closer to the wood chips and facing up, so the lean flat does not take the brunt of the heat.
For the smoke, hickory or oak is the pairing. Hickory is pungent, hearty and sweet, which Texans crave. This hardwood also burns easy and clean, which provides peace of mind for such a drawn out smoke. Its smoke will envelop the brisket, seeping into its core as the smoker steadily cooks.
Check on the brisket every hour or so. The flat drying out is a possibility so if it appears too crispy early on, baste it with water. After a long day, the brisket should be tender enough to pull apart with a fork. Lift it from the grill, slice the meat against the flat’s grain, and serve to people who appreciate your painstaking dedication.