Francis' Competition Smoked Brisket

Posted by francis keyser Monday, August 13, 2012
Taste Level: VGR
Cost: $20 and over
Serves: 12-14
Prep Time: 15-20 min.
Cook Time: 9-12 hours (depending on type of smoker and what temp cooked at)
Difficulty: 3

I don't want to go over a million "Whys" as in why did I do this or that.  How to properly smoke a brisket is one of those things that can be argued about for years and end in a family dispute with deaths on both sides.  So I want to go over the "What" I do instead of the why I do.  I am not saying this is the only way or correct way.  It is just what I have found works for me and it is up to you to ultimately find what works for you.

First
Make sure you have time to monitor your Brisket.  For example Zo said to me, "Lets have that Brisket tomorrow."  I looked at what we had going on and new we would be too busy.  You need to plan a day of being around the house and being always available.  It does not take much time to ruin a brisket.  (You are going to be looking ate about 60 minutes wrapped in aluminum foil to 90 minutes not wrapped cook time per pound.)

Second
Do not constantly check on the brisket?!? I know I said you need to have time to check on it but ultimately you do not want to be opening up your smoker every 5-10 minutes checking on it.  Leave it alone for the most part.  Check on the temperature to make sure you are maintaining an even 200-220 degrees, after the first couple of hour peek in every hour or so to make sure the meat is not drying out.

Third
When you peek in and see the meat is starting to dry and it has not reached 180-185 out it is emergency basting time.  Your whole goal in life is going to make sure the meat stays moist.  Now we know that spritzing with baste is not going to to keep the meat moist by having the baste soak in, but it will capture smoke and lower the temperature of the outside of the meat a little (controversial but it works for me.)

Forth
Make sure your smokers temperature gauge is accurate and get a thermometer that will separately monitor the internal temperature of the meat.

Fifth
Don't worry too much.  Just keep an eye out on the temperature of the smoker, the internal temperature of the meat and smoke level and you will do fine. And if you do dry out the meat a little you can always coat it in some BBQ sauce (another controversial choice but it has saved me when I was not paying close enough attention to a brisket.)

So keeping that all in mind I but bacon on my brisket so that I can be lazy and not check on the meat that often.  It bastes the meat by itself for the first 2-3 hours and I find that if I just leave a brisket alone it comes out better than if I am constantly worried about it.  I use the chives as an indicator of how smoked the meat is getting as well as how dry the meat is getting.  If the chives start to dry out I know that the meat is going to start doing the same and I need to watch the temperature of the grill and meat closer. You will notice I put a ton of fancy things in my water tray but you do not need to. Water works just fine I just like the smell of a fancy filled water tray and I feel that you can catch some of those aromas in the meat as well.  It is probably all in my head but hey it makes me feel better.

As long as your internal temperature rules are followed you can really cook it at most any temperature up to 330 degrees (higher temps will of course cook the brisket faster.)  Though I suggest when going over 220 degrees that you wrap the brisket in aluminum foil.  While I have never entered this Smoked Brisket in a competition it is the one I would enter if I was so inclined.  Enjoy and enjoy cooking such a great meal!

Brisket
6 lb brisket (fat cap trimmed to 1 inch)
6 thick deli sliced bacon slices (chopped up a little)
1 large bunch of fresh chives

Rub
1/4 cup 2 tbsp Coffee rub (made with following changes)
Chipotle chili in lieu of Cayenne pepper
Smoked paprika in lieu of hot paprika
Ancho chili pepper in lieu of New Mexican red chili pepper
1/4 cup butter (melted)

Smoker
1 bundle of apple wood (soaked for 6 hours minimum)

Water Tray (does not need to be so fancy)
1 3/4 cup french red table wine
1 cup Pinot Grigio
1 12oz amber ale
1 12oz lite domestic
2 quarts water
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch oregano

Emergency Baste
1 1/4 cup low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cup water
3 tbsp butter melted
2 tbsp coffee rub
1/2 tsp liquid smoke mesquite flavored

Smoker
Get your water tray full, get temperature up to around 215 degrees and add 1/2 of your wood right before smoking.

Emergence Baste
Start making your baste about 2-3 hours into smoking your brisket.  Head ingredients over medium heat in a small sauce pan until cooked down by 1/3. Keep warm and at the ready!

Rub
Melt butter and then mix with coffee rub.

Brisket
After trimming fat cap score the top of the fat cap with cuts that go about 1/8-14 of an inch into the meat.  When scoring make sure that the scores are only in the center of the meat and do not extend into the end of the fat cap.  This is so that the fat and butter will pool in the scores instead of dripping of the side. Rub the coffee rub mixture into the meat and heavily into the scores.  Sprinkle evenly with your chives and cover with bacon pieces (again trying your best to place the bacon where its fat will pool in lieu of running over the side of the brisket.)

Smoke at 215 degrees until 180-185 degrees is met. For around 90 minutes per pound, so 9ish hours for a 6lb brisket. 

Start checking on your brisket after about 2 hours.  If you start running out of smoke, add more apple wood, if the water tray starts running low, add liquid, if the meat starts getting dried out looking spritz with your emergency baste and if the eternal temp hits 185 get the meat out of there!

Once cooked slice and enjoy!  You earned it!

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