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The Best Beef Brisket You’ll Ever Have

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I love, I mean LOVE, making brisket. It’s one of my favorite, and one of the most popular, meats I BBQ. The combination of the fork-tender beef, hickory smoke, mop sauce and rub, make it no supprise that my family and friends request this brisket more than anything else. It’s so good, you won’t want to put any kind of BBQ sauce anywhere near it.
Doing a brisket is easy, all you need is some time, ’cause this isn’t a 30 minute meal, and the right equipment and ingredients.Don’t be afraid of the number of ingredients. I’m going to give you a few options for fuel; all hickory wood or charcoal with some hickory added. Cooking with Hickory as the main source of fuel will have the best results.  Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
Prep-time:
  • 12 – 24 hours for marinating the brisket
  • 30 minutes for prepping the rub and mop and rubbing the brisket
  • 5 – 8 hours for cooking

Equipment:

  • Charcoal grill – it needs to be big enough to cook the brisket on indirect heat (I’ll get to this is a bit)
  • Charcoal Chimney starter – this is optional, but makes the job a lot easier
  • lasagna pan or cookie sheet – the disposable aluminum kind you get in the grocery store work great
  • plastic wrap
  • 1 new garbage bag
  • Meat thermometer
  • Small BBQ mop (you can use a spoon or a basting brush if you don’t have a mop)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • old newspaper
***If you have a traditional kettle style grill, you’ll need an aluminum pan the same size as the brisket to place in the bottom of the grill, under the brisket, to keep the charcoal from being directly under the brisket.

Kettle Grill

Offset grill

Off-set Grill

Fuel:

For all-wood BBQing
  • Hickory – split logs or chunks, small enough to fit in your grill (chunks are usually easy to find in your local home improvement store).
  • Charcoal – natural chunks or briquettes are the best (just a small amount to start the wood burning)
For Charcoal BBQing
  • 2 bags of Charcoal – natural chunks or briquettes are the best
  • Hickory chunks or chips (T=these too are generally available in your local home improvement store)

Ingredients:

Brisket and Rub
  • One 5 – 10 pound beef brisket with about a 1/4 inch fat pad   (The fats is important to keep the brisket moist, but you can use bacon draped over the brisket if you can’t find one with much fat on)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground white pepper (you can use 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper as a substitute)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne powder
  • 1/4 cup of course salt – sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of finely ground coffee (regular, not flavored)
Mop Sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup of beef stock or broth
  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of apple cider
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/8 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of hot sauce (Frank’s, Tabasco, or your favorite)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt – fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground white pepper (1 teaspoon of black ground pepper can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons of the reserved rub

Cooking and Preparation:

  1. Use your fingers to combing all of the ingredients for the rub in a non-reactive bowl, either glass or plastic.
  2. Place 3 sheets of plastic wrap, slightly overlapping, on your counter or table. You want enough to hold the brisket, catch all of the rub the falls off and to wrap all around the brisket while it’s marinating in the fridge.
  3. Rinse the brisket and pat it dry with paper towel.
  4. Place the brisket in the middle of the plastic wrap that you laid out in step 2.
  5. Rub every square inch of the brisket with the rub, reserving 2 tablespoons for your mop sauce. Rub each side twice and don’t forget the sides.
  6. Wrap the brisket in the plastic wrap, adding more wrap as needed.
  7. Place the brisket in the garbage bag to avoid a mess and place it in your refrigerator for 12 – 24 hours – the longer the better.
Before Cooking
  1. Mix together all of the ingredients for the mop sauce. I prefer to do this in a container with a lids so I can keep it outside without worrying about bugs getting into the sauce
  2. If using charcoal as your primary fuel source: Soak 4 cups of hickory wood chips in water (Skip this if your using Hickory as your primary fuel source)
  3. Set up your grill for indirect grilling: This is easiest if you have a grill with an off-set firebox. If you don’t have this style of grill, place a disposable aluminum pan, the same size as the brisket, in the middle of your charcoal grate.

    Indirect Grilling set-up

  4. Start the fire
    1. Place 2 balls of newspaper in the bottom side of the charcoal chimney
    2. If using charcoal as your main fuel source, fill the chimney with charcoal, otherwise place 3 briquettes of charcoal in the chimney first and fit as much hickory as you can in the chimney after that.
    3. Place the chimney somewhere safe. I usually put in in the grill on the charcoal grate. Now, light the newspaper.
    4. For charcoal, the charcoal should be ready in about 15 minutes. If your using wood, it’ll take longer. Wait for the wood to be charred on all sides, around 1/2 hour.
    5. If your using charcoal, place 1/2 cup of chips on two pieces of aluminum foil, 1/4 cup each, and wrap the foil around the chips. Poke several holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape (See the pictures below)
    6. Spread the wood or charcoal on both sides of the aluminum pan on the charcoal grate, if using a kettle grill. If you have an offset smoker, dump the charcoal of wood in the firebox.
    7. If your using charcoal, place the 2 hickory chip filled aluminium foil packets on the charcoal
    8. You want the grill to be at between 250 and 300 degrees. Don’t panic if it’s varying in temperature. Just play with the dampers on your grill. The more open the dampers, the hotter it’ll get, the more closed…..you get it.

Wood Chip Foil Pocket - Step 1

Wood Chip Foil Pocket - Step 2

Wood Chip Foil Packet - Step 3

You’re Ready to Cook
  1. Take out and unwrap your brisket and put in on the cookie sheet or in the aluminum lasagna pan, fat side up. I do this to help trap the mop and juice ant to make it easier to cover if the brisket is getting too black. (place the bacon on top of the brisket, if your using any)
  2. Place the brisket on the cooking surface; for a kettle grill, over the pan separating the charcoal, in a offset smoker in the main cooking area.
  3. Mop the brisket generously with the mop sauce.
  4. Mop the brisket every hour adding 12 new briquettes, 12 hickory chunks, or two new foil packets with hickory chips.
  5. If the brisket is getting too black, loosely cover it with aluminum foil for the rest of the cooking time.
  6. The brisket is done once it reaches 190 degrees. After the first 2 hours check the internal temp ever hour.
  7. Let the brisket rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
In 5 – 8 hours, you’ll have one of the best classic BBQed meats you’ll have ever had. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.


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Comments (6)

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  1. Byron says:

    Hi Jim,
    I’m going to try my hand with the brisket and the cabbage this week end. wish me luck,I hope they turn out as good as yours. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    • Grillin Guy says:

      Byron,

      Please do let me know how it goes. Brisket is my favorite, and you picked a good BBQ dish for the 4th of July weekend. Let me know if you have any issues. I’ve only royally messed up one brisket, and it was due to overcooking. Make sure you get it off when it’s a t190 deg internally and let it rest for about 10 minutes. I hope it comes out well.

  2. Byron says:

    Hi Jim,
    I got my first brisket under my belt, overall it came out pretty good for my first try. The issue I had is, I let the grill get a little too hot and I should have put the foil over it to keep it from getting too dark. The rub and mop sauce is really good. I am going to try another one soon, I want to get mine as good as the one you cook.
    thanks for the tips, and for helping my 4th to be a hit

    • Grillin Guy says:

      I’m glad it went well, Byron. I’m sorry the brisket got a little too “blackened” on you. The next time you give it a try, I would suggest too cover it as soon as it starts getting a little dark. Cover it loosely, as see if that gets it the way you want it.

  3. Byron says:

    Hi Jim,
    I cooked another brisket this weekend and it came out wonderful. I was very pleased with it. I think I got this on under controle now.
    Thanks again for all of your help. ( I’ve mastered the low and slow…LOL)

    • Grillin Guy says:

      Byron,

      That’s great. I’ll add some other brisket recipes I have at some point in the future. If you were to ask, I would recommend trying the Lechon Asado for your next venture. It’s a pork recipe that’s hard to beat.

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