BBQ, one of America’s oldest and proudest religions. Those in its congregation surely take smoking their meats seriously. Sometimes perhaps, too seriously. And for that, I thank them. I don’t come from a long line of home-smoking BBQ ancestry. Nor do I hail from an area that places BBQ on a pedestal and demonizes those that bastardize and cut corners. But this does not preclude one from rolling up his sleeves and fashioning up some succulent, tender and charred briskets of beef.
I apologize in advance to anyone from the great state of Texas and to those that are BBQ gods from which may find elements of this write-up offensive and trailing away from the grandeur of tradition. To prepare delicious smoked beef brisket is by no means difficult. From a cooking skill-set perspective, it is remarkably simply. Where expertise factors in are controlling the variables that truly make amazing BBQ, such as smoke type, temperature, and duration of cooking. These are factors that no science can dictate and where feel, and “been there, done that” feel take hold. But that being said, even a novice that understands the notion of low & slow, and continually feels up the wood chip coffers so there’s constant smoke present in the cooking process, can create savory smoked beef brisket BBQ.
For this recipe, I did not employ a specialized smoker. There are many different types of smokers, from electric-powered to charcoal driven. And of course, there are the old-school traditional smokers that you fancy and view on TV. Yet, I took a route that anyone with a propane gas grill can hop on. The grill that we use for our everyday grilling of steaks, vegetables, and fish, can be transformed into a smoker. In our particular model, there is a special slot in which one can add wood chips in order to induce smoke.
Before we dive into the recipe, here are a couple of quick tips:
- Use a combination of wood-smoking chips
- Always make sure to soak your wood chips in plenty of water, or else they won’t smoke nicely
- Use indirect medium-heat by turning on the burners on the left & right hand side of your grill, leaving the middle burners off, which is where you’ll place your beef brisket
- Use plenty of spice & salt in your dry-rub & allow to sit for 24 hours
- Try to keep the temperature between 225 and 250 degrees
- Every 30 minutes, refresh the wood chips used in your smoking drawer in order to keep the smoke constant & consistent
- And don’t fight time. It should take approximately 1 hour per pound, at the minimum. Don’t be surprised if it takes 70-80 minutes per pound
Recipe for Dry-Rubbed Smoked Beef Brisket
- 2-3 bags worth of mixed wood-chips, for smoking
- Bowl of water
- 5-10 lb beef brisket (choice or prime), with some of the fat trimmed
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of garlic salt
- 1/3 cup of salt
- 1/3 cup of black pepper
- 1/4 cup of granulated garlic
- 1/4 cup of paprika
- 1/4 cup of dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning
- 3 tablespoons of dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons of ground Cayenne red pepper powder
- 2 tablespoons of ground all-spice powder
Combine all the spices and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Feel free to tweak around the spice allocations depending on your preferences. Once all throughly mixed together, generously rub and lather the raw beef brisket in the dry-rub. We want a nice thick cake layer on the brisket. Place the brisket in a large container, seal it, and place in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours (and a minimum of 6 hours).
When you’re ready to dedicate the next 6-10 hours of your day, get your grill’s gas-propane smoking functionality going. First, have a couple bags of wood-chips ready for the festivities and make sure you have plenty of propane gas. It would be a travesty of epic proportions if the gas were to give out. I recommend that every 30 minutes, you replace the wood chips with a new wet batch in order to keep the smoking flowing.
Place a tray under the grill grates in order to collect the beef drippings. Turn on your indirect burners to medium-heat (we do not want any heat from the grill directly under the beef brisket) and get the smoke brewing. Place your meat in the grill, close the lid, and let the puppy smoke up the beef brisket.
Don’t be fooled by how the beef starts looking. It takes a long time for it to reach tenderness – approximately a pound per hour. The internal temperature of the brisket should register about 190 to 200 degrees, before it reaches completion & extreme deliciousness.
Allow the brisket to rest for 15-20 minutes before you start slicing it up. This will allow the juices to resettle and get the flavor all constituted back into the meat. Afterward, feel free to do what your heart desires with this gorgeous hunk of meat. I like mine as a sandwich or to load up into a BBQ Spaghetti.
Who would have thought?! Smoking with a propane gas smoker, that is part of a multi-functioning grill.