Sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than a large hunk of meat, spices and some smoke … and of course – time. If you’re needing to feed a large group (or a couple hungry, growing kids) find yourself about a 12-15 lb brisket.
If you’d like, you can trim some of the large layers of fat (but leave some), we’ve done it both ways … either way still tastes great. Then rub it down – liberally – with Triple Play Rub. Be sure to get it all over, down in the crevasses and every nook and cranny! Let it sit anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.
Crank up your smoke box with your favorite wood. We like using combinations of oak or hickory with apple and hedge. The hedge and oak keep the fire burning long and strong while the other woods impart the flavor from their smoke. Once your smoke box has a good flame and smoke, arrange your meat where the smoke will roll right over and envelope every part.
Now, here’s the key … leave it alone! Just check on the smoke box and make sure you still have heat, and smoke is rolling into where you have the meat. If you have one, stick an electronic thermometer into the center of the brisket and set your temperature gauge to 180 degrees. As long as you continually have smoke and heat** (within reason), your brisket will turn out and turn heads!
Time to cook? Well, this usually takes us anywhere from 10-12 hours. That’s a wide range, but environmental factors and fire/smoke upkeep usually play into it. A good steady smoke and fire will get you close to the 6-8 hour mark. If you forget about it (guilty) and your smoke dwindles, well, better hope you have some hot dogs on-hand!
Once your internal temp hits 180 degrees, move the brisket to an aluminum foil pan and cover with foil, then leave it on the smoker until the final fire and smoke dies out. If you have a smoker with a fire box on the side, move the foil pan as far away from the heat as possible (usually nearest the chimney). Let it rest here for 30-45 min, then bring it inside and unwrap like it’s Christmas morning! Slice it up and enjoy the expressions on your guests’ faces as they devour your concoction.
If you’re cooking for a large group and are short on smoker space, give the brisket a good 6-8 hours of smoke time, then move it to a foil pan with some sort of rack to keep it up out of its own fat and juices. Stick it in your oven at 225 and let it finish cooking in there while you smoke your ribs or beans or corn or whatever you need to smoke next.
** Your temperatures will fluctuate throughout the process. Once you get a good smoke going, your temp will still be fairly cool and will increase as the cook goes on. We try to keep it between 225-260 consistently.