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Tips for Cooking Texas Style Brisket

by Chris McCarthy

Every cuisine type has its own saga and so has the Texas style brisket. Actually, brisket was considered a worthless, useless cut of meat until two German brothers (who were butcher-cum-cooks) cooked some mouth-watering BBQs with leftover beef briskets.

One of the brothers hit upon an idea of smoking a brisket and so he left a beef brisket in the smokehouse for a whole weekend. Returning to work on Monday, he served each of his customers with a slice of the barbecued brisket along with the other common fares – chicken, pork, et al. Everyone who tried it, spoke favorably of the BBQ dish, dwelling on its flavor, doneness and tenderness. This led to the tradition of cooking Texas style brisket bar-b-q slowly over low temperatures.

Cooking Texas style brisket barbecues is indeed an agreeable pursuit, provided you have an arty temperament. Going by the slow cooking and low temperature rule of Texas bar-b-qs, it should take nearly 1 and ½ hours to 2 hours to fully grill a pound of meat (ribs, shoulders and all). They say “Patience wins wars” and truly this is the quality you must have, because a comparatively large-sized brisket (say about 6 to 10 pounds) takes about 10/15 hours to cook!

Besides, there are certain aspects, which you need to take care of in order to prepare some lip smacking Texan brisket barbeques. The first and foremost of these is the choice of brisket. These days, with better breed of cows, we get better beef briskets. Anyhow, the choicest brisket is the one, which has fat all through the meat – both inside and outside. The fat inside the meat will keep it moist; the outside fat layer, when heat-treated after being marinated, renders the barbecue with a rich flavor.

The next thing you will need to attend to is the seasoning part. Though dry rubs are more popular in Texas, some brisket cooks prefer using marinades and yet others go for both dry rubs and marinades. If you opt for dry rubs, you need to just rub it all over the meat so that it will cook through the fat and flavor the meat-cut thoroughly. If you like marinating let the brisket stand in the marinade overnight. Of course, you will need to dry it off nearly half-an-hour before you start grilling.

You can cook your Texas style brisket barbecues in any fire – electric, gas or wood; the only deciding factor is that it should be providing a low yet steady heat, (temperature in between 200 and 225 degrees F). Since, smoke treatment of the briskets makes them taste the best (side by side adding to their food value), wood is the general choice.

You will need to set fire to charcoal to get the desired temperature; some wood chips or twigs of fruitwoods, hickory, etc. will stir up that sweet, healthy smoke which gives Texan barbecues their characteristic flavor.

To set about the real BBQing business, wait until charcoal and wood chips start gathering ash (this is the signal that your grill is ready). You will need to place the brisket on the grill, directly over the drip pan. The initial grilling process (for a medium-sized brisket) has to continue for 2/3 hours and you can turn the brisket once in-between.

If you want some extra flavor, you can baste the brisket with mop sauce thoroughly (turning sides every half-an-hour) and continue grilling for some 3/4 hours. Remember, you will need to replenish the exhausted, burnt out coal with hot coal and wood chips to maintain the temperature of the grill. In case you cook your Texas style brisket barbecue in an oven, you will need to pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Tightly wrap the brisket in a heavy foil, place it on a roasting pan inside the oven and bake it for 6/7 hours.

These long hours of indirect heating and smoke treatment will thoroughly cook even unusual and difficult cuts like briskets, ribs and shoulders. If you still have any doubts, just cut a thin slice across the grain of the meat and see how it feels when the flavorsome, tender, succulent Texas style brisket barbecue just melts into your mouth. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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