A few weeks ago a couple from church suggested the “usual group” get together for dinner at their house. We all agreed and then the hostess asked if I would smoke something as the entrée. I suggested smoked brisket, to which her husband gave a huge smile and an under the breath “yes!”. Now here’s the rub of the story (sorry for the pun), it was only a week earlier that I smoked a brisket that in all honesty was under par in results. I’d like to talk a bit about that before I tell you about the Best Smoked Brisket Yet! .
I am not sure if I mentioned this before but whenever I want to smoke something for dinner I usually check the Publix app on my iPhone to see what’s on sale. I was pleasantly surprised to see brisket on sale. So I went to look for it and all I saw were small cuts that reminded me of what my childhood friend Eric’s mom would cook either in a crockpot or just in the oven. Well, I went to the meat counter and asked for one that was in a vacpac about 7-10 pounds. I quickly learned why it was on sale. It was “choice” grade but not black angus. It was choice grade but not very marbled. All of that caused some yellow flags. I knew that it could all go wrong if I didn’t watch what I was doing. Because of this concern I looked for a recipe that would give a lot of attention to moisture. I found this recipe here. HOWEVER I can NOT recommend this recipe because I followed it to the last detail and what happened was the brisket was dried out within minutes of being on the table. It was heartbreaking to watch people use barbecue sauce on brisket. Just be aware, when all those yellow flags are present either lower your expectations or be ready to be disappointed.
Okay, all that out of the way, let’s talk about the Best Smoked Brisket Yet! I’ve been smoking brisket for years and for the most part, except for the previously mentioned, they’ve all been well received and very tasty. However, the one I smoked this last Saturday was by all accounts the most delicious and moist brisket any of us had ever eaten. The strangest part was the simplicity with which it was prepared and smoked.
First let me tell you about the final results. This particular smoked brisket was so tender we were able to cut it with a fork. When we put it in our mouths the flavor was so complete it overflowed from our taste buds and actually engaged our sense of smell. The texture of the meat was “soft” neither stringy nor chewy. The aftertaste was a delicate lingering of the hickory. Everyone said it was the most satisfying meal enjoyed thus far.
The questions then become evident; How did this happen? What was done that was so different from all the other times I smoked a brisket? The answer may be in the simple way it was prepared before smoking and how the smoke was finished.
I found this particular brisket at a meat market about 40 miles from my house. I happened to be in that neighborhood the day before the smoke and saw an AMAZING price on whole, untrimmed brisket at only $3.99 a pound. (Shout out to Petty’s Meats and Deli). Though it was NOT black angus, it was well marbled and a fair amount of fat on both sides. That night I prepped the brisket by simply mixing black pepper and sea salt in a bowl and rubbing it all over the brisket. I then placed it in a 2 gal. zip lock bag and put it back in the refrigerator. The next day I took time to get the SMS “settled” at 225 degrees which took about an hour. I then placed about 4 chunks of hickory on the coals and set the brisket on the top shelf. 7 1/2 hours later I took the brisket off the smoker and wrapped it in foil and poured 32 ounces of Swanson Beef Broth into the foil wrapped brisket. At the 200 degree mark I removed it and wrapped it in bath towels and placed it in Styrofoam box where it stayed until we arrived at our friends house. I then put a meat thermometer in the brisket and when it reached 140 degrees we cut it and put in on the platter. (see photo above) Simple, right?
By the way, there were leftovers because one of the couples were not able to make the dinner. The leftovers even days later were still amazing in flavor, though the texture did start to fade.