Sarah Blaskovich, GuideLive email@example.com
This is not a brisket recipe. You can find thousands of those online and in cookbooks, and each of them will give you guidelines as to how to spend a dozen or so hours smoking a fatty hunk of meat. Instead, these are brisket tips from some of the Lone Star State’s most knowledgeable brisket cookers. They shared their secrets during Camp Brisket, a two-day intensive workshop for 60 beef-obsessed people. (For more on Camp Brisket, click here.)
“The barbecue tradition is taking meat and making it delicious through a time-consuming process,” says Texas food writer Robb Walsh. But because factors such as outdoor temperature, wind and fire can be so volatile, smoking brisket takes time. Be patient as you learn your pit and the science of barbecue.
Know your wood.
Texas barbecue experts disagree on which wood smokes brisket best. Popular options are post oak, mesquite, hickory and pecan, and Camp Brisket lets attendees taste briskets smoked with each. Wood does make a difference in how your brisket will taste, so experiment with them. Ask your favorite pitmasters what they use, too.
Fat is a good thing. But you’ll need to trim some of it off.
Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin recommends cutting off as much as 30 percent of the entire weight of the brisket. “Good fat is flavor,” Franklin explains. Good fat will keep a brisket moist while it cooks. “But bad fat: That’s bad fat.” And it has to go.
Your mission while trimming off fat is to make the fat layer even, about 1/4-inch thick. If you’re at a barbecue joint, a good bite of brisket should include some rendered fat. When you order, ask for “moist” slices and you’ll get the pitmaster’s best.