Mastering Ceramic Cookers

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Smoked Beef Brisket

smoked beef brisket
Brisket requires low and slow cooking in order to become tender. With this recipe, a brisket flat is used instead of a full brisket (also called a packer’s cut) which includes the point, the flat and a thick layer of fat between the two muscles known as the deckle. A full brisket weighs about 8 to 12 pounds. This is not a quick dinner to be made after a day at work, but it’s a great meal to make on a weekend. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

1 (4- to 5-pound) choice beef brisket, flat
Yellow mustard (plain ballpark variety)
8 to 10 pounds all-natural lump charcoal
Hickory wood chunks
1 cup BBQer’s Delight mesquite pellets

For the dry rub:
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Yellow mustard

For the mop:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (12-ounce) can beer
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dry rub (see above)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Make the dry rub: Mix the ingredients in small bowl to blend.

Place the brisket on the work surface and trim the fat to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Use a sharp knife to score the fat with a diamond pattern. Brush the brisket with yellow mustard and evenly sprinkle the dry rub all over the brisket. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared one day ahead and held in refrigerator.)

Prepare the mop: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

About 45 minutes before cooking, fill the firebox 3/4 full with lump charcoal and ignite. Add three chunks of hickory wood and, using a foil pouch or cast iron smoker pot, 1/3 cup of the mesquite pellets. When the temperature stabilizes at 225 degrees F. (about 30 to 45 minutes after lighting), place the brisket on cooking grate over a drip pan. Close the lid and smoke brisket for 3 hours adjusting the dampers to maintain a cooking temperature of 225 degrees F. (For my Grill Dome ET, this means having the bottom damper open about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch and the top damper open about 10 percent.) Add more pellets and wood chunks, as needed, to maintain the desired smoke level.

Mop the brisket and continuing cooking, mopping every hour, until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. (About 5 to 5 1/2 hours into the cook.) Double-wrap the brisket in heavy duty aluminum foil, add about 1/2 cup of mop and continue cooking until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F., about another 60 to 90 minutes. (Total cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the smoker and the size of the brisket. At 225 degrees F., plan on about 1 1/2 to 2 hours per pound.)

When the brisket is cooked, remove from the smoker, unwrap and let it rest for 10 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 pounds of the brisket for stew. Thinly slice remaining brisket across the grain and plate. Serve with finishing sauce, grilled sweet corn on the cob and cole slaw.

(Chef’s Note: A trimmed 4.2-pound brisket flat, after cooking, yielded 2 1/2 pounds of sliced meat.)
Yield: 1 1/2 pounds for stew plus three (6-ounce) servings
Heat scale: Mild

Brisket Finishing Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup ketchup

Heat the oil in 2 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat; add the onion and garlic, cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except the ketchup and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and add the ketchup. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or food processor, process the sauce until smooth. Serve warm.
Yield: about 2 cups

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