Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Texas Hill Country BBQ Brisket (yes, that's redundant)

Bare bones, basic Texas BBQ. Have done it twice so far with surprisingly good results.

  • One whole brisket, in cryo-vac packaging (aka a "packer-cut brisket"). Weighs about 10 pounts.
  • One smoker. I cheat and use an electic smoker (Brinkman, $70 at Home Depot).
  • Wired-probe thermometer. You'll put the probe in the brisket, and the actual temperature will be shown on the other part which will be NEAR the smoker (not on).
  • One cup yellow mustard
  • Half-cup kosher salt
  • Half-cup black pepper
  • 1-8 pounds Oak chunks (not chips). Can use Hickory, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry.


  1. Soak 1 pound wood in water (I put it in a ziplock-style bag). You want it to soak between 15 minutes and one hour.
  2. Pull brisket out of bag, drain off juices, slice the "fat cap" (one side will have a substantial amount of fat) with a knife, but not all the way to the actual meat.
  3. Cut brisket in half - a whole one won't fit on my smoker. Make sure the two pieces are roughly of equal weight, since they're both going to cook the same amount of time. As you cut it in half you'll see that there are two muscles. And, just to make it fun, the grain on one is perpendicular to the other.
  4. Coat each piece in mustard. A quarter-cup is probably plenty for each, but you want everything coated.
  5. Mix salt+pepper together. "Dalmatian Dust" or "Dalmatian Rub". Apply liberally to both pieces of brisket.
  6. Drain wood chunks, put in smoker. Fill water bowl with water. Put in smoker. Put brisket on both top & bottom grates. Put thermometer in bottom piece. Put lid on. Plug in. Apply roughly one pound of moist wood per hour until the meat is very dark in color. Remove once temperature hits 185. Wait 20 minutes. Separate the two cuts of meat. Determine where the grain is (the way the long muscle strands run), then slice perpendicular to grain. Eat.