A Smokin’ Hot Summer

With graduations, Memorial Day and Father’s Day celebrations in the rearview, it’s now full steam or (smoke) ahead into summer. Next stop is July 4th and a star-spangled smoking backyard spectacular with family, friends and fireworks. And what is more all-American than BBQ?

As Texans, when we talk BBQ - we mean brisket. The versatility of this cut works well for many recipe. Let’s face it, for every serious amateur or professional pit boss; there is a secret recipe that goes from the pit to the grave. For me, that recipe is a simple as salt, pepper, smoke and time, but for those searching for an outlet for their creativity, what follows is some inspiration for creating your own.

Texas-Style Brisket
More Texas Brisket

Here are some tips for creating the best brisket for your holiday:

When selecting a brisket, don’t let price dictate your choice. Inspect the packaging, in most cases the brisket will be cryovac sealed. Look for a brisket that is light pink in color, that the plastic sealing the brisket is tight to the muscle of the meat inside and that there is not a great deal of liquid. Selecting a prime brisket (one with inter-muscular marbling) can assist in a moister end product, but is only secondary to selecting a product that has been handled right from feeding to time and temperature controls at the distribution level.

The brisket will have a fat cap. Whether you choose to trim or not is your call, but from my experience, trimming all but ¼” of the fat is sufficient for most grades.

Wet rub, dry rub, salt & pepper only. It’s really your call. Just make sure that whatever your choice, that the seasoning is equally distributed on the brisket.

Allow the brisket to come to room temperature before introduction to the smoker and always with the fat-side up and the thick end closest to the smoke box. Size will dictate cooking time. Temperature can range from 200°F - 250°F, but what you want to see or not see is too much smoke. A light hint of smoke is really enough to do the job.

We are looking for a nice, dark crust on the brisket, and an internal temperature of about 200°F. Wrap that bad boy in red butcher paper or aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for about an hour before you slice into it. You are looking for the meat to cool a bit and allow the juices to redistribute within the muscle which lends to a moister product. You’ve gone the distance with your brisket; don’t forget to put time into the sides. Think house-made pickles and sauce to start and to finish don’t forget the Blue Bell.

Chef Lawrence