Brisket Conquered? Nah, Still a Mystery!

Larry 'n NassauWhen I first delved into the mysteries of smoking meat my two greatest challenges were doing pork ribs and beef brisket. I failed miserably with these two barbecue standards. My ribs resembled rib jerky and my brisket shared too much DNA with gum rubber.

Long ago I figured out how to properly do pork loins and shoulders. The secret is simply taking your time and keeping the temp below 225 degrees and allowing enough time to get the internal temp to about 200 degrees. Ribs are a different beast, however, because they are so thin. I really don’t know what I’ve done, other than keeping the heat under control and closely monitoring them, but my last four batches of ribs have been wonderful.

Every thing I read about smoking brisket stated that it required about twenty hours on the smoker. But, when watching barbecue shows on TV I heard other “experts” saying they only cooked theirs for ten hours, or less. I was never willing to sit up all night tending a smoker so I turned to shortcuts such as boiling the brisket until fork tender and then putting it on the smoker. The result was pretty good but I always felt like I was cheating.

Today, I took a different path. I devised a means of creating real oak wood smoke inside my Weber propane grill and used it to cook an eight pound brisket. I rubbed the meat down with salt, pepper, and Cajun rub and placed it inside the grill, fat side up, at about 200-225 degrees. After about an hour I ceased putting wood chips in my smoke box since the meat stops absorbing smoke after about thirty-minutes.

I put the brisket on at 2:00 p.m. and took it off at around 6:30 p.m. when it had reached an internal temp of 180 degrees. When inserting the thermometer it appeared to be plenty tender so I let it rest for twenty-minutes and made a test slice and checked it for moisture and tenderness. It was perfect. I’m simply amazed that I got such a good brisket with less than five hours on the grill.

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