This was a difficult recipe for the book that I finally had great success with. If you’re thinking it sounds strange for someone who rarely cooks meat to make a big ‘ole brisket, you’re right. All I can say is the book has a recipe for killer ketchup. One makes barbecue sauce with ketchup and one needs some sort of smoky cooked flesh to put barbecue sauce on. Hence brisket.
I was going for an authentic tasting barbecue in the DIY spirit for people who don’t have fancy smokers and the like. To accomplish that I came up with a hybrid method for smoking and then baking the brisket to ensure a smoky flavored piece of meat that wasn’t dried out and tough. It worked. I ended up with a bit of a smoke line and a mildly smoky flavor and even though it’s lean, it wasn’t dried out. You have to slice it thinly though.
These lovely little sandwiches consist of brisket, sauce, and the delightful rolls from Neldam’s Bakery in Oakland. We took them to a 40th birthday party in Davis where they were promptly devoured by scientists and graduate students.
Here’s how to do it:
Make a rub with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, New Mexico chili powder, and pounded garlic. Rub on the meat, wrap tightly and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. Reserve a few tablespoons of rub to make a beer mop.
The day you plan to cook the meat, soak some wood chips in the morning and, 5 to 6 hours before dinner, build a low slow fire in the grill.
When you can hold your hand over the coals for several seconds, put the wood chips on a piece of foil on top of the coals and place the meat on the grill fat side up, away from the fire. Close the cover and smoke for one hour, turning and flipping one time halfway through. During the first half hour make a mop out of 1 cup of beer and the reserved rub. Baste both sides when you flip the meat.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
After smoking the brisket, wrap it in foil and place it in a baking dish or on a sheet pan and cook for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the brisket. Remove from the oven and let rest before slicing thinly against the grain and serving.