There's nothing as comforting as a good piece of beef brisket, and it's surprisingly easy to make. Brisket is one of those meats that take a long time to cook, but the wait is worth it.
Original Source : Smoke Ring Recipes
1) Fat and marbling: Choose a brisket which has most of the fat down in the meat and not all fat on the outside. You do need a layer of fat on the outside too. Fat inside the meat will help keep it moist, so you still need some fat both on inside & outside, But remember selecting a good brisket is half the technique of good Que.
2) Size: A real good size is a brisket from 6 to 10 pounds, big or small will be more of a personal choice. Just remember that slow cooking for 1 1/2 to 2 hours per pound is a pretty fair time table for cooking a brisket at 225 deg (degrees F.)
3) Seasoning: There are as many ideas on the best way to season a brisket as there are brisket cooks. No two will do the same and very few will do it the same way two times in a row: You can Marinate, dry rub or both; or sprinkle it with spices; or do all three. I, myself do a little of it all.
3A) Marinate: May be a store bought marinade or maybe your own. I use a mix of Beer, Dr. Waco (similar to Dr. Pepper) and Willingham's marinade & let marinate overnight. Dry it off next morning & let it set for about half hour.
3B) Dry Rub: I use a mix of Garlic power, black pepper, salt, cumin, red pepper & a little brown sugar. There are lots of good dry rub out there on the market. Try them.
4) Fire: It don't make a big difference what or how you are cooking as long as you have a good low long-time steady heat; may it be wood, electric or gas. I, my-self, have for the last twenty-five years used a wood fire in everything from a barrel, to a washpot, to a high dollar pit. I still say you can cook as good of que in anything as long as you watch your fire. What you want is a good stead low fire with a temperature of 200 to 225 deg.
5) Cooking: Well, I have found that I do better with my brisket if I cook it about an hour per pound on a good low fire of hardwood and then wrap it in foil and put it in a dry ice chest for up to eight hours. If I slow cook my brisket for 18 to 20 hours, they are always too dry for me. But remember, any ol' boy can be like the blind dog an find a better way to do it. Good smoke will have a sweet flavor & that's what you want; not a bitter flavor. You will get a (smoke) ring of 1/32 to 1/2 inch most time. The smoke ring is the result of a chemical reaction between smoke & Air (nitrogen). This don't make a big different in the taste of your brisket but do make a better looking brisket, different seasoning will make a difference in the size of your ring.
6) Presentation: Last, but not to be overlooked, is the presentation of your brisket. I don't care if it is just for your wife & kids or your mother-in-law or your boss or if you are in a million dollar cook-off, A brisket that is half bad, will be come extra good if it is sliced and presented right. Always slice your brisket across the grain of the meat (start on a corner of the flat part). This is very important as it makes it a more palatable & tender slice of meat. Remember, a good BBQ brisket don't need a sauce poured over it, serve it on the side. Adios: Now that's way we do it up the Paluxy River in the hills of Texas. Think I'll cook some BBQ: Beef that is.
Billy W (Belly) Maynard