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In the Kitchen With Ricky: Become a pitmaster with this smoked brisket

UPDATED: Mon., May 23, 2022

By Ricky Webster For The Spokesman-Review

National Brisket Day is Saturday, and with a little planning, the right tools and a brisket, you can celebrate everyone’s favorite barbecued meat with this week’s recipe. When most of us hear the word brisket, we immediately think of the South and more specifically Texas.

This quintessential Texas barbecue main dish is well-known, respected and desired, not only in Texas, but now all over the U.S. Brisket is part of Southern history; however, it originated in Jewish cuisine. The Ashkenazi Jewish community started cooking brisket in Central and Eastern Europe. It was served for Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Hanukkah and Shabbat.

Smoked brisket was brought to Texas by Jewish immigrants in the early 1900s and could be found widely in Jewish delis alongside pastrami and smoked whitefish. It didn’t start to become mainstream until the 1950s, when Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas, put smoked brisket exclusively on their menu.

This was the first restaurant outside the Jewish community to do so, but it wasn’t until the 1960s when most barbecue restaurants in Texas began adopting brisket as a staple. The preparation that I’ve included below is achieved with the ease of a pellet smoker and grill such as a Traeger.

You can use a traditional smoker or kettle barbecue, but keep in mind that this will take more work to maintain the consistent temperature this recipe requires. It’s all about going low and slow for traditional, long-smoked brisket Texas-style. We are looking to create a balanced beefy flavor brisket that is tender and delicious with that beautiful and desired smoke ring.

The rub recipe is for a coffee chili rub that pairs perfectly with the beefiness of the brisket. Feel free to add or remove ingredients in the rub recipe and get creative. I like to add more chili flakes and cumin for a spicier take, but if spiciness isn’t your thing, then omit it. Also, feel free to replace the rub recipe with one of your already prepared favorites for a shortcut.

I hope this recipe finds its way into your weekend barbecue plans and makes a splash at your next outdoor event. It’s easy enough if you have the time, and your friends and family will love it so much that they’ll start referring to you as a pitmaster.

Smoked Brisket

For the smoked brisket:

1 4- to 6-pound flat-cut brisket

2 tablespoons coffee chili rub (or half the recipe below)

For the coffee chili rub:

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons coffee grounds

1 teaspoon chili powder

¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon chili flakes

½ teaspoon cocoa powder

½ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon white pepper

Combine all the above ingredients and keep in a sealed jar or airtight container for up to six months.

½ cup beef broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Barbecue sauce of your choice

Remove the brisket from the fridge. Rinse and pat the brisket dry, then sprinkle it with the dry rub mixture you’ve made ahead of time. Do this about an hour before placing it on the grill to ensure an even cook.

Set and preheat your pellet grill temperature to 190 degrees. Keep your lid closed for 15 minutes to make sure that it is preheated well.

If you have a probe thermometer attachment for your grill, insert the probe into the thickest part of the brisket. Place your well-seasoned and room temperature brisket directly onto the preheated grill grates. Close the lid and cook for about six hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the brisket registers 160 degrees.

Remove the brisket from the grill and wrap it in aluminum foil. Make sure to wrap it tightly and with a few layers of foil. Before closing the foil completely, combine the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, and add it into your brisket packet. Seal tightly.

Increase the grill temperature to 230 degrees. Return the tightly wrapped brisket to the grill. Cook another four to five hours until the temperature of the brisket reaches 210 degrees.

I like to remove my brisket from the grill when it reaches 200 degrees, as you should let it rest for at least 30 minutes. During this time, the temperature usually increases another 5 to 10 degrees.

Unwrap and slice it against the grain. Serve with barbecue sauce of your choice.

Yield: Serves 6-8 people

Ricky Webster, owner of Rind and Wheat and Morsel by Rind and Wheat, can be reached at ricky@rindandwheat.com. Follow Webster on Instagram @rickycaker.

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