I had the opportunity this past weekend to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon with my oldest son, Luke, while we smoked a beef brisket in the back yard. This was a “low & slow” activity, so lots of time to talk and bond as father & son, while our brisket slowly cooked. Luke is a talented cook in his own right and he took the lead getting things ready. The recipe below is a good guide and the pictures help tell the story of a fun activity meant to be shared.
Texas-Style Spice Rubbed Smoked Brisket
For the spice rub –
- 3 Tbsps ancho chili powder
- 2 Tbsps kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp ground allspice
- 1 Tbsp celery seeds
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp ground mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- One 8-10 pound beef brisket, untrimmed – you want the fat on the brisket
- 3 cups wood chips, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours
- Digital read-out meat thermometer
- 2 cups apple juice (in a spray bottle)
- Any bottled BBQ sauce, heated
- Make the spice rub, by mixing all the spices together in a bowl.
- Rub the entire brisket with the spice mixture, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Remove the brisket from the refrigerator 1 hour before smoking and let come to room temperature. Remove the plastic wrap.
- Get the smoker up to 225 degrees with charcoal and some of the soaked wood chips. This temperature should be maintained throughout the entire process. (If you are using a charcoal grill, follow these instructions: Set up the grill for indirect heat, putting the charcoal on one side of the grill and place the wood chips on top. Add soaked wood chips as necessary, to maintain the 225 temp.)
- Place the brisket fat-side up and close it up for the long smoke.
- Open your barbecue smoker every hour and spray the brisket with apple juice to help keep your brisket from drying out. Smoke the brisket at a constant 225 degrees. Figure about 45 minutes per pound to get to 165-170 degrees. (Times could vary, so use your digital thermometer to reach the correct temp.)
- When the internal temperature reaches 165 to 170 degrees, wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. Note how long it took to get the brisket to 165 degrees.
- Continue to cook the brisket in the aluminum foil for approximately the same amount of time it took to get to 165. Finishing the smoking in aluminum foil is a big help in getting the meat tender.
- The brisket is done when the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees. Remove from smoker and let rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.
- Remove the foil from the brisket over a large pan or disposable pan and reserve the liquid.
- While the brisket is resting, in a saucepan, heat the bottle of BBQ sauce. Pour in the reserved pan juices into the saucepan, stir and let the sauce reduce somewhat. (You can make your own BBQ Sauce, but this trick is a time saver, with the pan juices enhancing the bottled sauce significantly.
- After the meat has rested, look to see which way the grain runs and slice thinly across the grain. Serve the BBQ sauce on the side, for those who would like an extra flavor kick on your smoked masterpiece.