Smoked Brisket - my best so far
I claim no expertise in smoking brisket (or anything else) but have been fooling around with various methods for several years. I just finished my best yet. Here it is.
A friend of mine owns a restaurant and got me a full packers cut brisket from his meat supplier. It was a beautiful piece of meat - 10 pounds for 30 dollars.
I used my favorite dry rub on it after thinly coating it with yellow mustard and scoring the fat cap in a 1 inch diagonal grid. I let the meat sit in the fridge for 36 hours.
At 8:30 in the morning it was taken out to warm up a bit and at 10AM on Friday morning the meat was placed in my New Braunfels (from before the Company was sold) offset charcoal smoker with temperature at 220 degrees. The brisket spent 8 hours in the smoker with temperatures averaging 220, but rising as high as 300 when I added fuel (I am not too good at this yet). I used mostly hickory but was short of wood and added some beech and oak, with a smidge of mesquite. After the first 4 hours, whenever the temp in the smoking chamber was low. just when fuel was needed, I sprayed the meat with a mixtue of 1 part cider vinegar to 4 parts apple juice.
All my reading led me to the conslusion that after 6 - 8 hours there is not much more smoke flavor being absorbed by the meat, and I have had a couple of briskets dry out on me in the past. Therefore I took the meat out of the smoker and tightly wrapped it in foil at the eight hour mark, after liberally spraying the brisket with my cider vinegar/apple juice mixture, on both sides In addition, I placed the wrapped brisket in one of those baking bags designed for Turkeys, and put it in the oven for 12 hours at 215 degrees.
I know this is not the orthodox way to do it, and I am usually a purist, but at 58 I am too old to stay up all night (no matter how much beer is in the cooler) and I reasoned that once the meat is wrapped, what difference does it make what the heat source is? Moreover, the oven temp can be precisely controlled.
At 1AM I checked the temp and the meat was still hard and at 140 degrees. BUT, by 6AM, the end of my planned cook time at 2 hours per pound, the meat was soft, tender and not at all dry. In fact I had a surplus of wonderful juices, mixed with rendered fat.
The brisket is cooling now and soon I will pour off the juices into my wife's fat separator and add a bit of the good juices to the sauce I made yesterday. The sauce is ketchup, pureed onion and garlic, cider vinegar, lemon juice. apple juice and spices - mostly smoked paprika, oregano, dry mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne.
I smoked this for a "Pot Luck Barbeque" for my son's High School. Hopefully I will not be the only one who likes it.