How to buy beef brisket: When you’re buying brisket, you have a few different options. You can get a whole brisket (or “packer cut”), which is boneless and cut from the breast section of a side of beef. Since each cow produces two whole briskets, this is a huge piece of meat. It consists of a “flat” section, and a “point” section, and you can also purchase those separately. The flat section is basically just a lean, flat cut of beef. This is what you usually see sliced when you order beef brisket. The point section is a much fattier, so it has a lot of flavor and moisture, but it also falls apart easily, so it’s usually chopped or used for burnt ends.
If you go with the whole brisket, be prepared to smoke it for a good 15 hours. That’s an awesome way to spend the day, but you probably won’t be able to find a whole brisket at your local grocery store. They probably won’t have the point section either, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a flat cut, which is what this recipe calls for. Look to buy a flat cut that has a layer of between a quarter-inch and a half-inch. If it’s more than a half-inch, trim it a little bit. If it’s less than a quarter inch, keep looking for a better cut!
One beef brisket, flat cut, 5-6 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
Dry rub ingredients:
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup salt
¼ black pepper
2 tablespoons onion salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1. Combine all dry rub ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside two tablespoons of the dry rub mix.
2. Brush brisket with the olive oil, then coat generously with the dry rub. Refrigerate at least two hours; overnight is preferable.
3. One hour before you’re ready to cook, take the brisket out of the fridge. Start soaking your wood chunks in water so they’ll be ready to go.
4. Fill a chimney starter about halfway with charcoal and heat. Once the coals are gray, pour them onto one side of the grill, so you’re set up for indirect heat. Place a drip pan on the other side of the grill.
5. Use a thermometer to monitor the grill temperature carefully. You want to keep the temperature between 225 degrees and 250 degrees.
6. When the grill has reached the target temperature, place the wood chunks on top of the coals. Place the brisket, fat-side up, above the drip pan.
7. Grill, covered, For the first two hours, add more wood chunks approximately every 30 minutes to keep the smoke going.
8. Mix the cider vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, and reserved two tablespoons of the dry rub mix together.
9. After two hours, pour the cider vinegar mixture into a grill-safe pan. Remove the brisket carefully from the grill, and place it in the pan, like so:
10. Cover immediately with foil, and continue cooking over indirect heat.
11. Cook for about 3-4 more hours, continuing to monitor the temperature of the grill carefully. Add more charcoal as needed. Be sure to only add hot coals in order to maintain a steady temperature. TIP: I found it works best to add about 8 hot coals (heated in the chimney starter) approximately every hour.
12. When the meat reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees, it’s ready to go. Remove the pan from the grill, then remove the brisket from the pan and the vinegar mixture. Place on a cutting board and cover with foil.
13. Let the brisket rest for 15-20 minutes. Then slice across the grain – this is important for breaking apart the fibers that run through the brisket. You don’t want to spend all day slowly smoking this brisket only to render it tough and hard to eat because you sliced it the wrong way.
(See that pink ring around the edge of the brisket? That's how you know the smoke has penetrated just enough to give it great smoke flavor, without adding so much smoke that the meat gets bitter.)
14. Serve it with your favorite barbecue sauce – on a bun or straight up – and enjoy!
(Served here with gooey, cheesy grilled macaroni and cheese)
Try it with You Can Grill That’s Dr. Pepper Sauce, Ketchup and Molasses Sauce, or even let your worlds collide with Texas-style beef brisket and Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce!
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