Smoked Beef Brisket, Redux

What is this “redux?”  I blogged about preparing and smoking beef brisket once before, but am doing things differently this time around.  Ditalini and I hate fat, so I cut away a lot of the fat you’d normally leave on the top side of a brisket. Mindful that the fat is necessary in keeping the meat moist and tender during smoking, I’m using a mop to compensate.  Cutting off the fat may well turn out to be a mistake; I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I prepared the brisket three days ago, covering it in dry rub, wrapping it in foil, and putting it in the fridge.  Our dry rub is made of the following ingredients, mixed together:

  • 3 parts brown sugar
  • slightly less than 1 part kosher salt
  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part pepper
  • 1/3 part garlic powder
Brisket with dry rub

Brisket coated with dry rub

Brisket rubbed & wrapped in foil, ready for the fridge

Wrapped in foil, ready for the fridge

This morning I set up the smoker, making sure everything needful was close at hand.  When you smoke something for several hours, you need to add charcoal and moistened wood chips from time to time.  My technique is to check the hot charcoal bed once an hour, adding charcoal and wood chips.  I check the smoker’s water pan and add water as necessary every two hours.  I start checking the internal temperature of the brisket after four hours, looking for 180 degrees F at around the six-hour mark.

Man bliss: smoker, mop, wood chips, extra charcoal

Man bliss: smoker, mop, wood chips, extra charcoal

Hourly, when adding charcoal and wood chips, I take the lid off momentarily to brush on more mop.

On the smoker, brushing on the mop

On the smoker, brushing on the mop

Our mop is made with the following ingredients, mixed together:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Ready to serve

Ready to serve

The brisket turned out fine, and wound up taking 6 1/2 hours on the smoker.  As far as moisture goes, I couldn’t tell the difference between leaving the layer of fat on or using a mop, but I did notice the mop, along with the dry rub, made for a spicy crust.

Our wives and girlfriends spent the day getting massages and pedicures; dinner was on the guys.  I smoked the brisket and boiled sweet corn on the cob; my friends Ed and Darrell brought over salad, chicken & salmon (which we grilled), and dessert.  Everyone raved about dinner, and I had Fathers’ Day one day early: total man bliss.  What could be better?

Digging in

Digging in

© 2009, Crouton deMenthe. All rights reserved.


About Crouton deMenthe  Amateur cook and barbecue fanatic.


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