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Cover the meat thoroughly. We usually sprinkle a liberal amount of dry rub on the brisket. Once the mustard and juices from the brisket commingle with the dry rub, it will become a "wet rub". A somewhat gooey mess. When handling the brisket from here on.....try not to rub the ingredients off. Again, it will then be a "paste type coating" and care should be given to the seasonings on the meat until it has had a chance to "set up" in the pit. We usually move the brisket from this phase directly to the pit itself. You may want to let the seasonings sit for an hour or more if you choose. It seems to be a matter of preference on this point. If you choose to let the brisket "rest" in the seasonings and wrap in wrap, be careful not to remove too much of the seasoning.
Maybe this is the best time to let the biggest secret to fixing great brisket out of the bag.......
Brisket cannot be cooked like pork!!!
Do we have your attention??? Pork is quite "forgiving" when it comes to the use of excessive smoke from various sources (be it wood, charcoal or strong smoking chips). Smoke sausage, smoke ribs, smoke butts.....they all work great and they can retain their unique flavor very nicely (This assumes you are not really pouring the smoke to the meat!). NOT SO WITH BRISKET! Hear this loud and clear. CUT THE SMOKE! Brisket is very much like a sponge in this respect. On top of that.......most teams cook the brisket on the same units - at the same time - as they do the pork butts, shoulders and ribs. Our experience is that does not work very well.
Wood is your best and worst friend. You know it's sort of like going out dancing with a beautiful person. Early in the evening it is fun, romantic and possibly hopeful. As the evening progresses and you stay too long at the party, tiredness sets in, you get cranky, accidentally step on feet and get into an argument. Try not to stay too long at the party and let the smoke waft through the pit and not become a smokestack!
Too many teams choose to use real wood (as opposed to coals from burned down wood) in their fire boxes. At the very least, use a good grade of charcoal. We are going to take time here to belabor a point that we really want to get across to you.......................
|USE ONLY WOOD THAT HAS BEEN BURNED DOWN TO COALS OR CHARCOAL WHICH HAS BEEN BURNED DOWN TO GRAY ASH. DO NOT USE GREEN WOOD, WHOLE LOGS OR UNBURNED CHARCOAL. ALL OF THESE METHODS WILL PLACE TOO MUCH SMOKE FLAVOR IN THE MEAT. IF YOU ARE USING GAS, YOU DO NOT HAVE THE "TOO SMOKY" PROBLEM USUALLY.
Brisket can stand very little smoke during the cooking process becoming bitter.
Do not OVER Smoke!
Use a charcoal chimney when using charcoal and/or a special "burn pit" to burn down the wood you decide to use. Once you have gray ashes on the charcoal or red coals from the burned down wood, then use a shovel or other such device and gently place the charcoal/coals in the pit. Yeah, I know, this is a real pain .... But, just perhaps, but it will result in much more flavorful (read here NOT TOO SMOKY) brisket. OK, 'nuff said. This is a key point in cooking brisket.
If you desire a little extra smoke flavor, you may occasionally place a small twig or branch on top of the coals. This is done sparingly and cautiously. Otherwise, we are back to our over smoked brisket.
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