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BBQ Brisket Recipe

Spent all day Saturday smoking four briskets and eight links of boudin. If you’ve not heard of boudin, it’s best described as ‘Cajun sausage’. I’ve been told there are different varieties – some made with blood, no thank you.  The one we like is made of pork and rice blended with seasonings.

Smoke it just like I would a regular meat sausage and it comes out wonderful. Makes a great side dish or can be used in soups and gumbos to give them a unique smoky flavor.

Before I begin, let me say that I like to use Angus Beef briskets, Kingsford charcoal, and oak pieces in our New Braunfels Smoker….we’ve had it for 20+ years and it still makes the best BBQ.

You can use your own favorites for meat, charcoal, etc. and mesquite or hickory for your firewood if you don’t have any oak. Do not use pine or any other type of wood that has a resin. Also, while the charcoal is lighting off, I set the wood pieces to soak in a clean bucket of water. This helps to slow their  burn time and increases the smoking.

Depending on the size of the briskets you can count on a minimum of about 10-11 hours of total cooking time. If the briskets are extra-large or thick, you can add an additional 3-5 hours more – like I had to do Saturday.   Started cooking at 7:30am finished at 9:00pm. Little longer than I had planned.

The process below is the one I’ll use from now on when cooking briskets:

1.  Start by un-packaging the meat and rinsing under cool water.

2.  Lay the rinsed brisket on top of heavy duty aluminum foil.

Note: Cut the foil large enough to be able to completely wrap around the brisket allowing folding room to seal the edges.

3.  Liberally sprinkle dry seasoning over the top of the meat. I use Grill Mates Mesquite – the same seasoning I use for making blackened-fish. Do not add any water.

4.  Wrap the foil around the brisket making sure it is well sealed – top and ends. Place wrapped brisket into a large baking pan.

5.  Repeat the above process for each brisket.

6.  Place foil wrapped briskets into a pre-heated oven (225-250 degrees)

7.  Allow the briskets to cook for 3 hours or more depending on their size. The 3 hours is based on average sized brisket.

Note: Don’t think I would ever oven-bake them any longer than 4 hours.

8.  About 45 minutes before removing briskets from the oven, prepare the smoker.

9.  Light off charcoal according to manufacturers directions, put wood on to soak in water and line the grills with aluminum foil cutting through the foil in the direction of the grate lines to allow the smoke to filter through and the fat to drain. Place a disposable aluminum pan half filled with water in the grill on the opposite end from where the meat will be placed. This will help keep the meat from drying out as it smokes.

10.  Place 2 or 3 large pieces of wood on the lighted charcoal and close the lids (fire box and grill chamber) and let the smoker heat up.

11.  By now your briskets should be finished oven cooking. Remove briskets from oven and carefully unwrap . . . I use a couple of forks.

Note: At this point IF they appear too thick, you may want to cut them in half horizontally to help shorten the smoke time. I try not to do this as this tends to dry them out. But if the brisket is over 5 inches in height- it might be a good idea.

12.  Place brisket(s) on cookie sheet or tray and transfer to pre-heated grill.

Note: Save the liquid from each brisket in a measuring cup and use this in place of the water in pan as needed to keep briskets moist.

13.  Once briskets are on grill, cover with heavy duty aluminum foil. No need to make it tight, just loosely shape around the meat.

14.  Close lid and begin smoking process.

The minimum time to smoke will be around 8 hours. During this time you want to make sure to keep the hot-box going. This means you’ll probably need to add both charcoal and wood about every 45 minutes. If your smoker has a temperature gauge, you’ll want to keep it at about 200 – 225 degrees.

15.  After the first 4 hours; turn the briskets over, replace the foil. Make sure there is liquid in the small aluminum pan to maintain the moisture.

Note: If I’m planning on smoking other meats, chicken, sausage, boudin – these are added about half way through the cooking process. To figure the time to add to the grill, I take the estimated finish time of the brisket(s) and subtract the number of hours needed to cook the added meat. This gives me the time I need to start smoking my extras.  That sounds totally confusing even to me so I’m including an example: My brisket will be done at 7:00pm and it will take my boudin 3 hours to smoke, so 7 – 3 = 4, I’ll put my boudain on at 4:00pm. You’ll need to make your own calculations depending on what you plan to cook. Or you can put it on early, keep an eye on it and then remove it when done – allowing the briskets to finish smoking.

16.  Allow briskets to cook for an additional 4-5 hours once turned making sure to maintain a good heat and smoke factor by continuing to check the fire every 45 minutes or so.

Note:   Once turned, I like to check the briskets for doneness after about 2-3 hours by cutting into one. If I don’t see that smoky-red line along the top edge of the meat, I continue cooking.

17.  Once done, remove from the grill to a large pan, cover tightly with heavy duty foil and allow to rest.

18.  Refrigerate any meat not eaten or allow to cool down.  Once cool, it can be packaged and frozen. Also, makes it easier if meat is cut and individually wrapped into meal-size portions.

Granted this may seem like a lot of work and time, but the resulting BBQ is well worth the effort – tender and moist – and not near the cost of what you’d pay if you went out to buy it.  So that I don’t have to BBQ too often,  I  like to cook multiple briskets and other meats for freezing to have later – or for a quick fix if we have unexpected company. The frozen BBQ reheats well and maintains its  flavor, texture, moistness and tenderness.   Note:  When reheating, I pour just a little BBQ sauce over the top for moisture.


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