Long Slow Brisket

Ingredients:

a big brisket (10 lb)
salt, pepper
lots of fresh crushed garlic
some simple spices
bbq sauce
some water

Tools:

gas or charcoal grill
large roasting pan with wire rack
large tongs – two sets, preferably

The Process:

If there are big pockets of fat on the brisket, trimming them off is fine; but leave the big layer of fat on the “fat side”.  Rub the entire brisket generously with salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper, etc.  Rub generously with BBQ sauce.  Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Grill the brisket on a gas or charcoal grill for 30-40 minutes to sear the outside on all sides.  Turning 3 times (twice on each side, 7-10 minutes per side) is sufficient.  Use tongs to turn the meat.  Transfer the brisket (using tongs) to a large roasting pan with a wire rack that stands off the bottom of the pan, making sure the brisket’s fat side is up.  Pour water in the bottom of the pan, but not so much that the meat sits in it.  Cover the brisket tightly with foil, but don’t wrap it (leave the bottom open).  Put in a 450° oven, then turn the oven down to 200° right away.

Let the brisket cook at 200° for 18 hours.  If at any time during the cooking you see that the water is gone from the pan, add more along the way.  15 minutes before eating time, remove from oven and place it on a cutting board still covered in foil until it’s time to cut into it.

Tips & Gotchas:

Use tongs to handle the meat – don’t use a big meat fork to stab it, because the searing keeps juices in and stabbing takes juices out.  Searing it on the grill is just to keep the mess and smoke and stuff outside.  You could do this in a large dutch oven or something inside but it’ll stink up the place.

Honestly, precise seasoning is not important.  Salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper are all good.  But I would avoid stuffing garlic cloves inside because of the stabbing issue mentioned above.  I use Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning which is a little spicy, but it doesn’t make the meat spicy.

To keep it from drying out, the three big issues are:

  • water: keeping water in the pan while it’s cooking; bbq sauce helps moisten the meat too
  • foil: covering with foil keeps moisture from evaporating off the top
  • fat side up: you want it to drip down into the meat, not just off the bottom

Precise cooking time is not important either.  There’s no formula for number of hours per pound or anything – just make sure it’s many hours at low heat and you keep water in the pan.  200° for 18 hours or even longer is great and works well if you want to start it the night before; or 220° for 10-12 hours is fine if you want to start it in the morning for that night’s dinner.

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