- Indirect grilling
- 4 to 8 hours for curing the meat (optional); also, allow yourself about 6 hours cooking time
- 6 cups hickory or mesquite chips or chunks, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained
- 1 beef brisket (5 to 6 pounds), with a layer of fat at least 1/4 inch thick, preferably 1/2 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1. Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot it dry with paper towels.
2. Combine the salt, chili powder, sugar, pepper, and cumin in a bowl and toss with your fingers to mix. Rub the spice mixture on the brisket on all sides. If you have time, wrap the brisket in plastic and let it cure, in the refrigerator, for 4 to 8 hours (or even overnight), but don’t worry if you don’t have time for this—it will be plenty flavorful, even if you cook it right away.
3. Set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling and preheat it to low. No drip pan is necessary for this recipe.
4. When ready to cook, toss 1 1/2 cups of the wood chips on the coals (3/4 cup per side). Place the brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum foil pan (or make a pan with a double sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil). Place the pan in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill.
5. Smoke cook the brisket until tender enough to shred with your fingers; 6 hours will likely do it, but it may take as long as 8 (the cooking time will depend on the size of the brisket and heat of the grill). Baste the brisket from time to time with the fat and juices that accumulate in the pan. You’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side every hour and toss more wood chips on the fresh coals; add about 3/4 cup chips per side every time you replenish the coals during the first 3 hours.
6. Remove the brisket pan from the grill and let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and thinly slice it across the grain, using a sharp knife, electric knife, or cleaver. Transfer the sliced meat to a platter, pour the pan juices on top, and serve at once.
Barbecue Sauce, the Texas Way
The best Texas-style barbecue sauce combines the sweetness of Kansas City–style tomato sauces with the mouth-puckering tartness of a North Carolina vinegar sauce. I’ve come up with my own version—mix together equal parts of the Basic Barbecue Sauce and the North Carolina Vinegar Sauce . Serve this with barbecued brisket. For a really good sauce, add some meat drippings or a little chopped brisket.
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