Author Topic: Texas Style Smoked Brisket  (Read 2044 times)

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Offline trapeze

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Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« on: August 04, 2012, 10:04:31 PM »
I have been thinking about trying to make my own smoked brisket for a long time and today I finally began the experiment.

I say experiment because it is, from my reading on the subject, more art than science.

Cooking time, for instance, depends on a variety of factors. Of course, I cheated. I read extensively from this site before I did anything.

I don't have a dedicated smoker so I had to adapt my gas grill to the job. First, I cleaned it out...got rid of all of the burned up stuff that had been collecting in the bottom. Then I dedicated one side to cooking and the other to smoke generation. The grill was removed from the smoke side so that the wood could be placed directly above the flames on the corrugated metal that is supposed to prevent flare ups during normal grilling. On the cooking side I placed a 1" high aluminum pan between the flare up preventer and the grill...then I added about 3/4" of hot water. The burners on the smoke side were turned on and the temperature was established, about 225F. In case I haven't made it clear this was an indirect cooking setup where there was no heat originating under the meat.

I used two digital thermometers, one to monitor the grill temperature (the sensor kept close to the meat) and the second one (a probe type) inserted into the thickest part of the brisket.

The meat was taken directly out of the refrigerator, a light coating of oil was applied and then a rub seasoning was sprinkled and rubbed into all sides. Then right onto the grill.

It took several hours for the meat to reach 150F. During that time I closely monitored it to ensure that the oven temp stayed within a reasonable range so that the meat temperature would rise slowly and steadily. I also kept a close watch on the wood and the smoke being generated, adding more wood or stirring it up as the smoke output showed any sign of tapering off.

When the interior meat temp did finally get up to 150F I took it off of the grill and wrapped it tightly in foil (I kept the thermometer probe in plus added a small amount of water, some brown sugar and butter) and then put it into the kitchen oven for the final cooking.

That's where it is now. I am waiting for the meat temperature to get up to around 205F. Should be done in another hour or so. Then it will go into a beer cooler to "rest" for another couple of hours.

Obviously, the one thing I didn't plan for was the time when it would be finished. Right now I think it will be ready sometime around midnight. I just got started way too late for it to be ready at dinner time. I made a lasagna instead. But, when it is done I am going to slice it up and, after sampling some of it, bag it up for tomorrow and later.

I sure hope it doesn't turn out tough. That is the one thing that is said to be the most difficult to master, tenderness.

I think that I am probably going to end up getting a dedicated smoker at some point...almost certainly a gas-based unit. If any of you have experience with a gas-fired smoker I would be interested in your opinions.

I will post again when the meat is finished to let you know how it turned out.
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Offline AmericanPatriot

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 11:24:07 PM »
I just bought a new grill that includes a smoker.
Until I saw this, I was looking to make one out of a 55 gal barrel. (Clean and new)

This grill is a combination gas grill, charcoal grill, side burner and smoker.
Haven't assembled it yet.

$250 at Tractor Supply. Saw one at Lowes, too.

Got mine to make baloney, primarily.
Let us know how the brisket turns out

Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 12:00:40 AM »
The brisket is out of the oven now and is "resting" in a drink cooler where the temp is slowly coming down. I will leave it in there for a couple of hours. Then it gets taken out of the foil and it will go onto a hot grill for about five to ten minutes per side to crisp up the bark. Then it's time to slice it and sample it. Hoping for the best but since this is my first attempt I am ready to be disappointed.

This is not a full brisket but rather a half...looks like the bigger half with the "point" which is good if it is. I will try doing a full brisket within the next week or two. I have one more half brisket to do first.
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Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 02:12:58 AM »
Okay, well, it's done. Sliced it up and bagged it for lunch tomorrow (or today, actually).

I will say it was mostly successful in that it was quite tender and that is supposed to be the most difficult obstacle to overcome in barbecuing a brisket.

I was disappointed with the flavor and that may be due to the meat itself but probably mostly it was a combination of not enough rub and not enough smoke. One of the things that I was looking for was the characteristic pink layer on the outer edges of the meat and it just wasn't there. I think that the meat may not have been cold enough when I put it on the grill. And I don't think that I had enough early smoke. And getting back to the rub, I think next time I will put it on much earlier and heavier...sort of like a marinade.

It was still good to eat and properly covered in barbecue sauce it will probably be pretty good. Find out at lunch Sunday.

So...next weekend I will try again. And start earlier so it is ready to eat by dinner time.
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Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 04:21:33 PM »
Had two big sandwiches for lunch and yep, it was tender but lacking in true barbecue flavor. Gotta try a few different things on the next attempt.
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Offline LadyVirginia

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 05:57:06 PM »
This is something I've never attempted.  What's in the rub for the meat?
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Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 09:48:03 PM »
I got a couple of cookbooks this Christmas from my mother. They are decent cookbooks for sure but they are also kind of an advertisement for the products put out by a company called MasterBuilt. They have three main products, all electric: A smoker, a fryer and a grill.

I had never thought of an electric smoker before but, upon reflection, it seems like a pretty goof proof way to get the job done. Consistent (digitally controlled) temperature...set it and forget it...a lot less work to get the job done. And having spent all day doing this late last summer, I am ready to do it with less work. Or rather, I am ready to smoke a brisket and do something else with my day at the same time. So...I think I'm going to get one. They are relatively inexpensive, less than $200 on Amazon.


It will be warm outside in another month or so.
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Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2013, 02:25:54 AM »
Okay, so time for an update.

I bought the above smoker and I have been extremely pleased with the thing. The "Amazing Ribs" website (link above) pretty thoroughly trashed electric smokers in general and this one in particular but so far I just don't see a problem with it.

So it's not an authentic smoker...so what? It works and it is easy and convenient as anything can possibly be. The control on the top of the unit is simplicity defined. You enter the amount of time you want it to heat and then you enter the temperature that you want it to cook at. Add wood chips as needed through a convenient port in the side of the unit so you don't even have to open the thing up and lose smoke and heat. It has five shelves and I haven't needed to use more than two of them so far...I mean, how much meat can I possibly eat at one time? Even cooking for guests I haven't gotten close to using half its capacity. The smoker is super well insulated so you can't feel the heat that's going on inside.

I ordered it from Amazon and it showed up in a couple of days. Assembly was minor...it took me maybe fifteen minutes to put it together. I loaded the wood chip cup and broke it in for a couple of hours to eliminate any manufacturing smells. The next day I loaded it with about twenty pounds of brisket and let it go at it. Of course I did have to prep the meat prior to smoking. But other than that all I had to do was load the wood chip tray every half hour for the first three or four hours. After that it just cooked away all by itself.

The quality of the finished product was pretty damned good. I served it up to guests who loved it. Tender, juicy and flavorful. Since then I have done a couple of racks of pork ribs and a pork loin roast. All turned out great with a minimum of effort on my part. In another week my son will be home on leave and I am going to do a fifteen pound pork butt for pulled pork. And then another brisket. I think that I will take a shot at making my own bacon before the year is out.

I suppose if I had nothing better to do I could spend all day monitoring a traditional smoker and dumping pounds of wood into it. But...I have other things to do so an electric smoker is a great fit for me. I am working on a way to vent the smoke through my garage wall to the outdoors so that I can barbecue all through the winter.

The electric turkey fryer is going on my list next. This will be the year that I fry a turkey for Thanksgiving.

This is something I've never attempted.  What's in the rub for the meat?

The rub is a mixture of various spices that give it the "barbecue" flavor. More is better than less. The oil (you can also use mustard) allows the spices to penetrate the meat. Allow at least 24 hours for the rub to penetrate the meat before cooking. The oil and rub go on and then it's wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. You can go longer than 24 hours but I haven't bothered. When the meat is smoked the rub helps to form the "bark" on the outside of the meat.

My local grocery store had at least a half a dozen rubs for sale. If you live in a large city you should be able to find quite a few more than that. You can also make your own with one of the recipes available at the amazingribs.com website. I used a store bought rub and it was just fine.

If you haven't tried barbecuing your own smoked brisket or ribs then you might want to give this cooker a try. Not very expensive and worth every penny for the convenience of "set it and forget it" cooking. Barbecue beef is expensive when bought from a barbecue restaurant. Using this cooker...not so much. I can tell that I am going to get spoiled using this thing. It's so easy to make great smoked meat it is hard to believe.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 02:46:27 AM by trapeze »
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Offline AmericanPatriot

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2013, 03:21:15 PM »
Last year I got onje of those combo grills: gas grill, charcoal grill and smoker.
Alas, there were no instructions on how to use the smoker.
I will see if I can figure it out

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2013, 07:33:10 PM »
Last year I got onje of those combo grills: gas grill, charcoal grill and smoker.
Alas, there were no instructions on how to use the smoker.
I will see if I can figure it out

Maybe there's an operation manual for that to be found on the internet?
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Offline AmericanPatriot

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2013, 08:28:07 PM »
I'll look around but there was little that came with it.
Actually, all there was was the assembly instructions

Thanks, Pan

Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 10:51:49 AM »
Everything you need to know about smoking meat can be found at the amazingribs.com site. The keys are temperature control and time. Buy a good digital internal meat thermometer and a good digital oven thermometer so that you can monitor and control the environment that the meat cooks in.

The electric smoker that I am using has a built in digital thermometer (thermostat, actually because it controls the box temp) and I monitor the meat's internal temp until it is where it needs to be and so far I am batting a thousand with the results.
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Offline AmericanPatriot

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2013, 12:03:56 PM »
There is a dearth of info on my specific grill/smoker.
I'll check the site out that you mention, Trap.

I found one last night
http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/f/

Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2013, 09:01:43 PM »
The Ultimate BBQ Road Trip For 2013

Quote
Our comprehensive road trip begins in Virginia and the Carolinas where whole-hog pulled pork reigns. As you count down the miles from start to finish, expect the meat (for the most part, except for several creative variations developed by some of the newcomers) to be dressed in either a vinegar-, tomato-, or mustard-based sauce. If not served on a simple white bun, then it's probably on a platter with baked beans, mayonnaise-based coleslaw, the occasional hushpuppy, and a tall cold glass of iced tea.

Part two stretches from the deep South up into the Midwest to take us through what is traditionally beef brisket, sausage, and rib territory. Whether they're serving out of a repurposed market, off a back porch, or even out of a trailer, the majority of these legendary joints forgo the frills to offer simply delicious smoked and/or grilled meat garnished in a range of rubs and sauces. Along with simple and common sides of crackers, beans, white bread, and pickles, meats vary along this route, with barbecued poultry and lamb sometimes finding a spot on the menu.

Our last leg covers the heart of the southeast. Across seven states, expect to find some of the country's best brisket, pulled pork, sausages, ribs, and even gator. Pits along this 2,253-mile route range from family-owned franchises to modest dining rooms with concrete floors and wooden tables. You're likely to find a variety of traditional rubs and sauces, including Alabama's white sauce, a mayonnaise-based condiment that's most often used to dress barbecue chicken.

I have eaten at about a half a dozen of these and they were all very, very good. I was disappointed to see that Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, TX was left off of the list because it is flat out amazingly good. There are probably another three or four whose names I can't remember that didn't make the list. My barbecue experience is mainly in the Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Missouri...that translates to brisket, sausage and ribs.

Someday I will take a trip through the southeast and sample some of the pulled pork outlets.
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Offline AlanS

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2013, 09:43:19 PM »
Crap. The wife and I are planning a week-end trip to FT. Worth soon. Black's looks to be a tad far for the experience.
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Offline trapeze

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2013, 11:06:18 PM »
Black's is great but, yeah, a bit out of the way from Ft. Worth. The Luling BBQs (one in Houston and it's namesake located in Luling) are also pretty damned good. But...since you are going to be in Ft. Worth...I would recommend Rudy's. It's in Arlington which is minutes away from Ft. Worth. Here's the address:
 
451 East I-20
Arlington, TX 76018
Phone: 817-465-7839


And, if you aren't near a Rudy's you can always have some BBQ shipped directly to wherever you are. At the very least, though, I highly recommend Rudy's BBQ sauce.

Coincidentally, the ONT at AoS has not one but two links to stories about BBQ. The first one is from the Smithsonian and it's a brief history of BBQ in America. Not a bad little story...

Quote
If any gastronomical treat could give the proverbially American apple pie a run for its money, it might just be barbecue. The culinary tradition of cooking meat low and slow over indirect flame (the true definition of barbecue – imposters who grill, take note) has become so prevalent over the years that BBQ itself represents a sort of pop culture, spawning TV shows, historically-focused road trips, and even fusion dishes like BBQ tacos. Barbecue’s ability to reflect whatever might be hot at the time (from reality TV to the taco craze) isn’t new; in fact, barbecue has a long history of permeation, perhaps best experienced by the ongoing barbecue feud that plagues the South. From the Atlantic to the Gulf, bordered by the western outposts of Texas and Kansas City, the area of the United States known as the “barbecue belt” houses four distinct barbecue traditions – Carolina, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City. From where did these traditions come, and how, in a relatively small region of the country, have they evolved along such different paths? The history of American barbecue is as diverse as the variations themselves, charting the path of a Caribbean cooking style brought north by Spanish conquistadors, moved westward by settlers, and seasoned with the flavors of European cultures.

The second one, think of it as an unintended humorous palate cleanser, is a liberal (what else?) critique of BBQ and the BBQ "culture."

Quote
All across Britain, the whiff of charred, low-quality sausage meat is hanging in the summer haze. And with it, floating almost indistinguishably in the grease-filled air across the garden fences, is blokey barbecue chat. If there is anything less compelling but more oppressively penetrating than the conversation of four suburban men discussing how to light and then operate a barbecue, I have yet to hear it.

Is there anyone who doesn't know how to employ a match, a matchbox, a firelighter and some charcoal? Sales of charcoal bags may have risen sixfold on last year's rain-sodden summer, but it's hardly as if you need years of experience. You stack the coals in a small, chimney-like arrangement, lace it equally with bits of firelighter, which you light, then you walk away and pour a drink. That's it.

How best to position the meat on the grill? Er, how about arranging it, equally spaced, above the embers? And how, then, to cook it? Well, simply prevent it from burning by moving it around. If it's burning, take it off. That's it.

No, what really drains the joy from the summer breeze is the assumption, and the practice, that this is Man's Work. All over the UK, probably the world, the barbecue is now one of the last places where even normal blokes become sexist. What we have here is some kind of psychic counterpart to the Paleo diet, a biologically deterministic blizzard of bullsh*t that sees women as salad-spinners and men as the keepers of the grill, the tenders of the flame, lords and masters of the meat. It's a sausage-fest out there, and it's getting ugly.

After you read that, read this...which is a funny response to that horrid piece of self-hating, feminized bullsh*t.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 11:10:07 PM by trapeze »
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Offline AlanS

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2013, 07:43:02 AM »
Trap, managed to catch Rudy's on a San Antonio trip a couple years ago. Very good.

And I'm glad I don't know any metrosexuals to ruin the wife's grilling.
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Online John Florida

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2013, 08:36:20 AM »
It's 9:35 A.M. and i'm starving now!! Thanks!
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Offline KittenClaws

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2013, 09:41:00 PM »
I have been thinking about trying to make my own smoked brisket for a long time and today I finally began the experiment.

I say experiment because it is, from my reading on the subject, more art than science.

Cooking time, for instance, depends on a variety of factors. Of course, I cheated. I read extensively from this site before I did anything.

I don't have a dedicated smoker so I had to adapt my gas grill to the job. First, I cleaned it out...got rid of all of the burned up stuff that had been collecting in the bottom. Then I dedicated one side to cooking and the other to smoke generation. The grill was removed from the smoke side so that the wood could be placed directly above the flames on the corrugated metal that is supposed to prevent flare ups during normal grilling. On the cooking side I placed a 1" high aluminum pan between the flare up preventer and the grill...then I added about 3/4" of hot water. The burners on the smoke side were turned on and the temperature was established, about 225F. In case I haven't made it clear this was an indirect cooking setup where there was no heat originating under the meat.

I used two digital thermometers, one to monitor the grill temperature (the sensor kept close to the meat) and the second one (a probe type) inserted into the thickest part of the brisket.

The meat was taken directly out of the refrigerator, a light coating of oil was applied and then a rub seasoning was sprinkled and rubbed into all sides. Then right onto the grill.

It took several hours for the meat to reach 150F. During that time I closely monitored it to ensure that the oven temp stayed within a reasonable range so that the meat temperature would rise slowly and steadily. I also kept a close watch on the wood and the smoke being generated, adding more wood or stirring it up as the smoke output showed any sign of tapering off.

When the interior meat temp did finally get up to 150F I took it off of the grill and wrapped it tightly in foil (I kept the thermometer probe in plus added a small amount of water, some brown sugar and butter) and then put it into the kitchen oven for the final cooking.

That's where it is now. I am waiting for the meat temperature to get up to around 205F. Should be done in another hour or so. Then it will go into a beer cooler to "rest" for another couple of hours.

Obviously, the one thing I didn't plan for was the time when it would be finished. Right now I think it will be ready sometime around midnight. I just got started way too late for it to be ready at dinner time. I made a lasagna instead. But, when it is done I am going to slice it up and, after sampling some of it, bag it up for tomorrow and later.

I sure hope it doesn't turn out tough. That is the one thing that is said to be the most difficult to master, tenderness.

I think that I am probably going to end up getting a dedicated smoker at some point...almost certainly a gas-based unit. If any of you have experience with a gas-fired smoker I would be interested in your opinions.

I will post again when the meat is finished to let you know how it turned out.

Get you an evenly shaped brisket, make sure there is a good layer of fat on top. Trim it up a bit if you like, keeping it is better.

Drop it in some Claude's sauce. A good dry rub is easy, but Claude's is easier still. Marinate a few hours, depending on how large your brisket is. I time it by "feel", so I can't be specific until I do another brisket.

Lose the smoker.  Just shut the lid on the BBQ grill, keep the coals low and hot. Or use the oven at 350 dg.

Pull it out of the marinade, blot with paper towel. Wrap tightly in heavy duty foil. Bring to Room Temperature.

In the oven or on the grill, keep the heat low and steady.  Place the brisket fat side up, turn in an hour then every half hour afterwards. No need to check the temp of the meat, it's cooking.

The best brisket is the one you don't fuss over.

Keep it turning, keep the fat rolling over that meat. 3 hours is Ok 5 is better, all depends on the size of the brisket.

It'll fall apart with a fork and melt in the mouth.

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Offline oldcoastie6468

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Re: Texas Style Smoked Brisket
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2013, 10:32:00 PM »
Here's my mom's recipe. It turns out delicious!

Quote
BARBECUE BEEF BRISKET

1 - 12-oz can beer
6 cups water to cover meat
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 – 6 lb beef brisket
1 cup barbeque sauce

Combine all ingredients except barbecue sauce in Dutch oven. Bring to boil, cover & simmer 4 hours. Allow to cool to lukewarm in cooking liquid.

Transfer brisket to plastic container, add 1 cup barbecue sauce, cover & refrigerate for 48 hours. Cook over medium coals 15 minutes each side. Makes 12 – 16 servings.
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