Serious Eats: Recipes

Barbecue: Brisket

Each week Joshua Bousel of The Meatwave drops by with a recipe for you to grill over the weekend. Fire it up, Joshua!

[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

My appetite for large pieces of meat seems to increase with the colder weather. Even though most people equate barbecue with summer, fall is the season when my smoker gets the most action with bigger cuts like pork butts, whole turkeys, and as was the case a couple weeks ago, brisket.

For this brisket, I picked out a 14-pound beauty at the butcher, brought it home and trimmed off the excess fat, leaving a 1/4-inch thick cap on top. Then it was coated it liberally with a beef rub from Southside Market that has been waiting for the right application, and after a day's rest in the fridge, it went into the smoker at around 215°F.

I let it go overnight. The next morning the meat had reached 165°F, at which point I wrapped it in foil and let it keep cooking until it went up to 195°F. Normally I would scoff at wrapping the meat, but after some research, I found this method can be a recipe for success towards a perfectly cooked brisket, plus meat doesn't take on much more smoke after the first six hours or so of a cook, so I figured I had nothing to lose. After 16 hours of cooking, I was rewarded with an absolutely tender and moist piece of beef.

The meat held together well when slicing, then melted away in your mouth with the distinct flavor of smoke and a heavy beefiness that makes brisket such a wonderful cut. The only problem here was the Southside rub was way too salty for my taste. It was the first and last time I'll use a rub that I didn't prepare myself, but luckily it would take much more than too much salt to kill such a delicious piece of meat, and most eaters sang nothing but high praises for this brisket.

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