TEXAS LABOR DAY WEEKEND TRADITION

TEXAS SMOKED BRISKET—A LABOR DAY WEEKEND TRADITION

In Texas, make no mistake; barbecue is all about the meat. Beef brisket to be exact. This Texas delicacy of sorts is for most Lone Star State residents a Labor Day weekend tradition. And while it’s just day away, there’s no better time than now to master the art of smoking a brisket. Learning the ropes to smoking a succulent brisket to share with family and friends isn’t difficult. With some background knowledge and a few basic smoking principles you can follow in the footsteps of any famous Texas pitmaster. Let’s get smoking.

Beef brisket is a piece of meat from the lower chest of a cow. This large muscle bears much of the animal’s weight that is laden with connective tissue collagen. As a result, while the meat is flavorful, it is also lean and very tough. A brisket is also very large. It can weigh anywhere from four to more than 14 pounds. A 10-12 pound brisket is a good size. Braising, slow cooking, smoking and stewing are the preferred cooking methods. Smoking a moist brisket full of deliciousness requires some time and patience. Consider a brisket watch party with a few good friends and craft brews. We guarantee it can be a whole lot of fun and make the time go by quicker.

Brisket Prep

After trimming and cutting the next step is to make a dry rub. The foundation of any great rub is salt and pepper. Known as the Dalmatian rub it is equal parts of this popular ingredient duo. For the BBQ purist there’s nothing else. If you like your brisket with a few more layers of flavor there’s no shortage of great recipes to be found. More complex versions can include but are not limited to onion powder, garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin in varying quantities. Next, coat the entire piece of meat with the rub to create a dark, crusty outer layer known as the bark. Make sure you’re generous with the seasonings. Let the meat sit overnight in the fridge for 24 hours.

Low and Slow

The secret to a delicious, tasty brisket is in the smoking method. The meat’s tough interior requires a long cooking time with a low temperature. The low and slow method is by far the golden rule of smoking brisket. Before you fire up the smoker it’s important to choose the type of wood you want to use. There are plenty of options. Each one has its own distinct smokiness and flavor. This comprehensive guide will help you choose and prepare the right one.

Maintaining and controlling an even temperature throughout the process is the most difficult part of smoking. Whether you are using an electric smoker or kettle-style grill the temperature range should be between 200°F and 225°F while some BBQ experts recommend between 250°F and 275°F. Monitoring the grill temperature and keeping it constant is critical. Controlling the fires that can spark up along with dips in the temperature of your grill can cause problems. A digital thermometer is your best bet here. The brisket is done when the meat thermometer registers 195°F to 215°F. That translates into 12 to 16 hours depending on the size of the brisket. Wrapping the meat in butcher paper and letting it rest is the final step.

Badge of Honor

The coveted smoke ring is your reward for a job well done. Light pink in color it appears under the bark when you have smoked the brisket properly. For novices to intermediates and veteran pitmasters, a smoke ring is the ultimate prize. However, it just doesn’t happen. It’s actually a chemical reaction between the meat’s pigment and the gases from the wood or charcoal. Check out these tips to create a smoke ring you can be proud of.

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