First, I’m excited as always to write for any publication that covers our favorite sport. But this article won’t have anything to help you understand Drag Racing. As a reader, no matter what kind of budget a race team has, you must feed your troops. If you like to cook or smoke meats and fish like I do, sometimes it’s easy to cook/smoke something ahead of time and warm it up at the track.
Anytime we are racing and tell our team that we’ve brought brisket from home that we have smoked, they are excited about eating. How do I know? Because they will drop whatever they’re doing and wash their hands to eat. In this opening article, I’m going to share with you some of my steps and variations that I use for my brisket recipe.
Step 1 – Selection
Whether you buy a vac-packed brisket or one out of the meat counter, I suggest a choice or prime grade. A select grade is hit or miss so I always pass on those. The better the grade the marbling it has which means more flavor, juiciness and tenderness. I always pick them up and choose the ones that are the most pliable. Allow at least a 1/2 pound per person.
Step 2 – Trimming
Start by trimming a long, thin section of each side of your brisket. You want the sides to be uniform because what you want to do is eliminate uneven cooking, dry spots and burnt edges. Remove any excess or loose pieces of fat that could burn.
Next, look at the point of the brisket and you’ll see a chunk of solid fat. This needs to be trimmed even with the bottom of the brisket. This will help on uniformity across the bottom and more even cooking.
Finish up by getting rid of any shiny skin or remaining fatty pieces. Trim the corners so they are a little rounded as this prevent them from drying out, crisping up and burning.
Step 3 – Seasoning
I have used dry rubs, marinades, sauces and seasonings but all you need is coarse salt such as Kosher, coarse ground pepper and garlic powder if you like. For best results, you might combine them in an old spice shaker and shake them out. This will create an even layer of your seasonings across the entire surface of the brisket.
Step 4 – Smoking
Many of my friends across the country use whatever type of wood is native to the area and is easy to get. Whatever wood you choose to use, you want constant heat and even smoke. For the first phase, I start with 8 hrs. @ 225 F for a 12-13-pound brisket. Fat side up or down does not matter. Some like low and slow but when it’s done, it’s done. However, your brisket will enter a phase between 145 and 165 degrees F where the liquid is evaporating from the surface and will cool it while your smoker is still trying to cook it. This is called “stall” but not the stall racers are used to. Wireless thermometers save on opening your smoker but any good one will do. Once you’ve seen the gap in the rise of the temp, it’s time to wrap the brisket.
Step 5 – Wrapping
This is where you are going to get that delicious flavor and dark caramelized bark. I have used heavy duty foil for years and someone I know that cooks competitively told me about peach colored butcher paper. You can get it at restaurant supply stores or off Amazon. Wrap the brisket up like a present until it’s completely sealed. Continue cooking at 225 until the internal temp reaches 202 F at the thickest part of the meat. This could take 5-8 hrs. so allow a couple of extra hours when planning your meal.
Step 6 – Let It Rest
Not you, the brisket! Let the brisket sit in the paper, grab a beer, pour a drink and let ‘er cool down to slicing/serving temp.
Step 7 – Slicing
Always remember to slice AGAINST the grain for maximum tenderness and don’t slice ahead of time. Slice in 1/4-inch-thick pieces and make sure each one has some of the delicious bark on it.
Step 8 – Sauce
Service with Best of Texas BBQ Sauce and enjoy! www.bestoftexasbbqsauce.com