One thing my men can't seem to get enough of is barbecue. Now, growing up in Michigan, I thought barbecue was anything you cooked on the grill. Later, I thought it was anything drenched in bbq sauce. Then I moved to Texas and learned that barbecue--real barbecue--is smoked BEEF brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage.... Now I know there are some who think bbq should be pork. With all due respect, they're wrong. These Texans know what they're doing when it comes to meat. Especially beef.
By the way, this is one of those prepare-at-least-a-day-ahead dishes. So here we go.
Then I discovered the "market trimmed" version. Much better. And no trimming involved.
My fire in the smoker box is looking pretty good. I use both charcoal and wood. Sometimes I only use charcoal. I had some nice mesquite pieces on hand, so I added those. Just remember to keep your fire stoked. You don't want big flames, but enough to produce some heat in the cooking chamber.
Note: At home I have a vertical, cylindrical-type smoker, so my fire goes in the bowl at the bottom. Still, I have to make sure the coals are ready before I add the meat to the top portion.
Place your brisket in the smoker box, fat side up.
Just look at that smoke swirling around. That's some good flavor there.
You're going to let that stay on the smoker a minimum of four hours. I recommend four to six, but you can go longer. This day, I think it stayed on for ten hours because I was so busy enjoying the beautiful weather.
I didn't want my ribs to cook quite that long, so I waited until the brisket had been on a couple of hours before I added them. Season 'em up the same way and slide those piggies beside the brisket. Yes, I use pork ribs.
After a few hours, the outside of both meats will get a nice, somewhat dry-looking, coating. And don't worry about them being cooked all the way through before you take them off. I'll get to that in a bit.
After they've had enough time to absorb some of that wonderful smoke flavor (don't forget to keep stoking your fire at least once every hour, hour and a half), remove them from the smoker and wrap in at least two layers of heavy duty aluminium foil. If it's not heavy duty foil, you'll want to use more layers. Then place the foil-wrapped meat in a 200 degree oven overnight.
Depending on when you plan to serve the meat, you can leave it in a warm oven or put it in the fridge or freezer, after it's cooled, that is.
Doesn't that look good? I was so busy drooling that I forgot to take a picture of the ribs. I also forgot to get one of the brisket all sliced up, but you'll want to slice it relatively thin.
I like my brisket au naturel, like my SIL on the left. However, some folks prefer a little sauce, like our buddy, Jim on the right. And, of course, no barbecue meal is complete without some pinto beans. But that's a recipe for another day.
Happy eating, y'all.