Preparation / Directions:
With the help of this list, especially Mike on the smoking and using the oven, and some innovation of my own I have used a method for cooking briskets several times that has always resulted in meat that ranged in taste from fantastic to BBQ from heaven. When I have taken this to parties and eat-ins people who do not even know me or know I cooked it routinely brag about the meat.
This method is for the following cooks:
1. You like to smoke briskets but need it to fit your schedule of when you want to serve for eating instead of when you have time to spend 1+ days smoking.
2. Want to take your delicacy to eat-ins at work, social lunches and dinners, be a friend to someone who is ill or had a recent tragedy in their life, or just want to eat BBQ without having to eat all that smoke at the same time.
3. Want BBQ with a little different twang.
The following is for a 10 pound briskets (1 or more). Adjust time for different sizes. I buy the meat a day or so before smoking and place it in the refrigerator. I do not freeze meat before smoking but if you must it is OK.
Pre Rub (optional): I say optional because I have eliminated this step and cannot tell any difference but if time permits I usually do it from overnight to several days ahead of smoking for insurance. Use most any recipe on the list - there are many good ones.
Smoke: Ideally, I smoke, meat side down, at least 6 hours at 200F using oak and a little mesquite at the beginning and end of process. Just be careful not too let the wood smolder and get a bitter taste if you use all wood. Otherwise this method is pretty forgiving. Charcoal and wood chips a minimum of once an hour will do just as good. I think any grill or smoker that has a lid and enough room to offset the heat from the meat will suffice. Even if it gets a little too cool or warm once in a while the meat will survive.
Freeze as needed: I take the meat off the smoker with oven mitts in order not to pierce meat and place on wide tin foil, meat side down, on the counter. After it cools a little while I wrap each brisket in foil (use wide foil but it still may take 2 pieces), place in plastic bags (optional) and put in freezer while still warm.
Oven cook as needed: The day before I want to serve I get a brisket out of the freezer, place frozen in a pan or dish, meat side down, unwrap the top of the foil so the top fat side of brisket is exposed. I leave the brisket on the foil with the foil sides sticking up. I cook overnight, 14 hours, at 200F. I use an oven thermometer to adjust the oven (best $5 investment I ever made). Most ovens will not stay at one temperature. Mine gets down to about 180F and the heating element turns on until it gets to about 215F. Just the slightest movement in the dial will result in too much or too little heat for that long of cooking time. If it is a fatty brisket I pour off the grease several times as it fits my schedule. Sorry you serious smokers, I do not lose much sleep over my cooking. I usually do not bother if it is a trimmed brisket. Oh, just cook 12 hours if you eliminate the freezing.
Terrific smell: The great aroma while cooking is just a free extra. If you do not fill your home with a light BBQ smell then you probably did not get enough smoke. Do not worry. It will be good any way.
Seasoning recipe: Mix seasoning ingredients in a snap or zip and seal plastic bag. You will need to expel the extra air before you seal and work the brown sugar in the bag so it mixes with the other ingredients. It will tend to clump if you do not do this. Mix very thoroughly.
Apply seasoning: Remove meat from oven 30 minutes to 2 hours before cooking time is complete. I cannot tell that timing is too critical. Pour off the grease and using the mitts turn the meat fat side down in pan, meat side up. Quickly as possibly sprinkle a heavy coat of the seasoning on the meat side. I have never measured how much I use. I have never applied too much but have applied too little. Be liberal with the seasoning.
Finish cooking: Fold the foil edges over the meat. Remember, the brisket is meat side up now for the first time. Get a fresh piece of foil and place over meat and fold edges over pan. A perfect seal is not necessary. Just be sure the meat is not exposed. Place back in oven and finish cooking for the remaining time.
Done? Now Slice: Place some paper bags on counter to soak up splattered or spilled grease and place cutting board on paper. Using mitts take brisket and place meat side up on board. Using a fork or knife, carefully check meat for tenderness. If it is not obviously tender, rewrap and cook 2 more hours. If it passes the tenderness test and you are ready to slice, turn meat fat side up. With a long knife or spatula scrape off the excess top fat, which should come off easily, and discard. Turn meat side up again, slice against grain with sharp knife only and serve now if you must.
Appealing Meat Dish: Here is what I do for a very appealing meat dish. I use an electric fillet knife and uniformly slice the meat against the grain being careful not to disturb the shape of the brisket. I take half the brisket and slide it off the board onto a fresh piece of foil and wrap meat, (may take two pieces of foil). Do the same with the other half.
Prepare for serving later: Place the wrapped meat back in the oven at 200F (hope you did not turn oven off) just long enough to heat the meat throughout. Take the wrapped packages of meat and immediately place in a small insulated chest. You way want to wrap in paper so the heat will not damage the chest and for better insulation. It will keep warm for hours. Take it to your party, give to a friend in need or serve to your own guests and you will be the star. The meat seems to be better after this waiting process.
This sounds more complicated than it is. It really is an easy process and you can do all your smoking for several briskets at one time and enjoy the results for months. Also, have one in the freezer for those unexpected occasions.