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  1. Well here is another great article from TexasBBQ Rub. As always I hope it helps someone. All credit goes to Texas BBQ Rub: http://www.texasbbqrub.com http://facebook.com/texasbbqrub "Texas BBQ Rub's Guide to Kick Your BBQ to the Next Level" Article 7 (Part 1 of 2) Smoking and Grilling Chicken June 27, 2014 This is the 7th Article in the Series of Articles I have been doing. I know many of you sent me emails about the last Article and I numbered it wrong (guess that is what happens at 1:30 am). The Article on the Beef Ribs was number 6 in the series sorry about any confusion. Since I got so many questions in our recent survey about smoking and grilling chicken I have decided to split this discussion on smoking and grilling chicken into 2 separate emails (Part 2 will be sent out in a couple of days on Sunday). Trying to get everything into one email was just not going to work as I wanted to cover the main questions concerning cooking chickens. So be looking for Part 2 of smoking and grilling chicken on Sunday. I am trying to get you all the information you will need for the upcoming 4th of July long weekend which is only 1 week away. Here are the main questions we received in the survey and when they will be covered for you: 1. How to get flavor deep inside of a piece of chicken? (Today's email) 2. How to keep my chicken from drying out during the smoking process? (Today's email) 3. Times and temperatures for smoking a chicken? (Both emails will cover this) 4. How to get crispy skin on the chickens I am smoking? (Sunday's email) 5. If I am grilling chicken breast what is the best method of doing it so I don't dry out the chicken? (Sunday's email) 6. Should I brine the chicken and for how long? (Both emails will cover this) 7. What is a good brine recipe? (Today's email) 8. Should I add a BBQ sauce on the chicken and if so when do I apply it and how much? (Both emails will cover this) CHICKEN - The Yard Bird - The Secret Meat for the Smoker Chicken has become one of the mainstays for all of us. The reason is chicken are lower in fat and cholesterol than most other meats. The fact is the marketing folks for the poultry industry are doing one fantastic job promoting their products to us. And we cook chicken in such a wide variety of ways, we can eat it all of the time and always change the looks and taste of the chicken. Chicken is really one meat that we can cook almost in any manner and it comes out great. It can be smoked, grilled, fried, and baked. It is great in salads and in casseroles. Two kinds of meat - dark and light Chicken is generally thought of as having two distinct kinds of meat: dark and light. The dark meat comes from the leg and thigh portions of the chicken. The dark meat contains more connective tissues and fat and thus requires a longer cooking time. But the dark meat of the chicken when cooked right is juicier due to the fat content of the dark meat. The light (white) meat comes from the breast and wing of the chicken. The light meat contains less connective tissue and fat and therefore cooks quicker than does the dark meat. But it is easier to dry out the white meats much easier than the dark meats of a chicken. Chicken and Safety Because chickens spoil easily, there are some serious safety concerns that need to be noted. Most of the things about preparing chicken and cooking them are techniques we practice as a rule of thumb; but it goes without saying every now and then we need to be reminded. Just about every article or cookbook will have some mention of chicken safety issues. That's okay, they are written to help keep us and our guests from getting sick so I've included a few chicken safety reminders. " When working with raw chickens, you need to constantly wash your hands in order to prevent cross contamination. Also be sure to clean any surface with soap and hot water or better yet with a bacteria killing cleaner after you have prepared the bird. " When thawing chicken keep it in the refrigerator. A whole chicken will take approx. 12 hours to thaw depending on size. If you need a quick thaw use your microwave. " There is nothing in chicken recipes that call for Rare to Medium Rare Chickens, They need to be thoroughly cooked to the bone. There are various ways to tell when a chicken is done - clear juices, joints that move easily and of course the use of a meat / poultry thermometer. Avoid "Burnt Cinder" Chicken - It is Easy to Avoid Have you ever been to a barbecue and had what I call "burnt cinder" chicken. "Burnt cinder" chicken is black, crusty, dried out and taste terrible. It is the end product of high heat and applying barbecue sauce to the meat during the entire cooking process at the high hears... You are going to learn how to avoid the "burnt cinder" chicken doldrums. Most people tend to grill (temperatures of 450 to 600 degrees) skinless chicken breasts. However, most people are drying out the chicken breast in the process by overcooking the chicken in these high heats. Try slow smoking chicken using indirect heat. Lower the temperature of the grill or pit to 225 to 250 degrees. And sit back and get ready to enjoy the finest chicken you have ever sunk your teeth into. We will talk about cooking a chicken at 300 to 325 degrees in the email on Sunday. This one will get you a crispier skin. The secret to grilling or smoking great tasting barbecued chicken is to keep the temperature of the fire low and leave any barbecue sauce you might be putting on the bird until the last few minutes on the pit. As with all meats, cooking at lower temperatures will produce tender, better tasting, and juicier meats. High heat will cook the meat quicker all right, but it will dry out a piece of chicken in a hurry. So lower the heat and have a couple of your favorite beverages while the chicken cooks. All of the flavor added to the chicken will come from the rub that has been applied to the bird from the beginning of the cook and from the smoke flavor of the fire. Both of these tastes will penetrate the meat during cooking and add flavor to your chicken. Smoked Chicken - This One is Hard to Beat and is Simple (no brining for this recipe) One of the most flavorful things you can smoke is chicken. Smoke takes to chicken like a duck to water. The key to successful smoking chicken is to cook low and slow, use a great rub, add a little oil before the cook, add some wood flavor to the fire, and leave the dang old chicken skin on the bird during smoking. I know you are getting tired of me saying this, low and slow cooking on the pit. Yes, even the dang old yard bird needs to be cooked low and slow. Use a great rub. Texas BBQ Rub (and any of our great rubs will work) works great on chicken adding flavor and some sweetness to the chicken. Add a little oil to the chicken before cooking. I use Italian dressing as a base before placing the chicken on the pit. First I baste the chicken with Italian dressing and then apply Texas BBQ Rub. This combination works fantastic and the Italian dressing adds some flavor as well as some oil. Some folks use butter for their oil and butter works well also. See the recipe below for some tips on this. Add some wood flavor to your fire. If you are cooking with charcoal add some chunks of wood for the smoked wood flavor. The two biggest things adding flavor to the chicken are the wood flavor and the rub. As I said, low and slow is the key to keeping the bird from drying out. Cook at 225 to 250 degrees. Cooking time for 225 is approximately 4 to 5 hours and cooking times for 250 degrees is approximately 3 to 4 hours. Cook the chicken until the juices of the chicken run clear, 165 to 170 degrees internal temperature. If you are using an internal thermometer do not let it hit the bone of the chicken, as you will get a false reading. Test the temperature at the thickest part of the chicken thigh if you are cooking a whole or a half chicken. I prefer to use a whole chicken and cut it in half for cooking on the pit. I like to lay the chicken down with the breast side up on the pit and all you have to do is let it sit there and cook. You can cook whole non split chickens if you like, but add a little more time for cooking. Money-saving TIP: One thing you can certainly use in smoking and grilling are chicken quarters. This is simply the leg and thigh cut of meat off of the chicken and you can find these at your nearby Super Store or at many super markets, in 10 pound bags for like 69 cents a pound. These are great to smoke or grill and they can be smoked in about 2 hours at 250 degrees. Smoked chicken will stay good in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. It is fantastic to make chicken salad with and it is great in salads. Smoked chicken will freeze nicely if you have a vacuum packer or you can wrap the chicken really good to protect it in the freezer. Below is my recipe for "Bill's Simple Chicken". Give it a try. This little bird has won a few trophies. RECIPE: BILL'S EASY SMOKED CHICKEN (the skin on this smoked bird will not be real crisp, we will cover that method in a couple of days) What you will need: 1-Whole chicken ( I usually cut mine in half) or as an alternative you can use chicken breasts or cut up whole chicken or the money saving chicken quarters ¼ cup of TEXAS BBQ RUB (reserve half of the rub for sprinkling on the skin of the pit) ½ cup of Italian dressing (any brand will do but I like Zesty Italian) Take the Italian dressing and pour that into a glass dish. Add ½ of the rub and mix together. You will end up with a brownish colored liquid that you are going to put under the skin of the chicken using this important tip. Very Important Tip: Use your finger and starting on the backbone side of the chicken to create a cavity under the skin by moving your finger around under the skin. Make sure you get up to the leg. Now take liquid you just made and push some of it under the skin. Get as much in there as it will hold. You can attach the skin you pulled up with a toothpick if you wish or just let it sit as it is. Now sprinkle the other ½ of Texas BBQ Rub on the top of the chicken. Place the chicken on the pit with the breast up and the bone side of the half chicken down on the cooking grate. Examples of your cooking times are as follows: 225 degrees - about 4 to 5 hours 250 degrees - about 3 to 4 hours You really don't need to move the chicken once it is on the pit as the juices will run out of the chicken. If you need to move the chicken use a spatula and be careful not to spill too much of the liquid that is under the skin. Cook the chicken until the juices of the chicken run clear if you punch a hole in the side of the chicken or to 165 degrees internal temperature. If you are adding a BBQ sauce to your chicken add it the last 15 minutes of the cooking time. You are going to need it on the chicken long enough for it to set. That is it. These chickens turn out to be moist and have a great taste. Tip: By the way, if you are new to smoking meats you can practice your smoking techniques using chickens. The techniques are the same and it is a much quicker cooking period and the costs for chickens is less than other meats. Use chicken to learn a new pit or practice with the taste of different woods. RECIPE: BEER CAN CHICKEN (OR BEER BUTT CHICKEN) What you will need: " A whole chicken. " One can of your favorite beer (or your favorite soda) " About ¼ cup of Texas BBQ Rub " About ¼ cup of Italian Dressing All you need to do is simply: Take a few sips of the beer or soda you are using. If you are using a beer you can add about 1 tablespoon of Texas BBQ Rub to the beer. Get the Italian dressing with Texas BBQ Rub mixed with it under the skin of the bird. Stick the can up in the cavity of the chicken and carefully balance the can on your pit. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 hours at 225 degrees. It's great! By the way there have been concerns and studies regarding whether or not there's any harmful emissions from the beer can or it's labeling. To date there is no official indication of a safety hazard. This is because the heat is not high enough to affect the characteristics of the metal can. SMOKING SKINLESS/BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS It seems we are all watching our weight because the doctor told us to lose some weight. He also tells us to watch the amount of fat that we are eating so we don't clog up our veins. I know that I am always looking for something really good and tasty with that spark of smoke flavor in it to add to the never ending blah tasting foods that we have to eat while we are trying to lose a few pounds. Most of us will turn to chicken and to be more exact we turn to the good old boneless-skinless chicken breast because it just does not have any fat in it to speak of. So this is the perfect piece of meat and if it is cooked right it is good and tasty and you can use it in salads, casseroles, to make a great sandwich, or just eat along side of some great vegetables and you have a nice meal that is low in carbs and fat. It does not get much better than that in this diet world we live in. So I am going to focus on this one particular piece of meat and tell you a simple yet yummy way to fix it so it breaks up that same old blah tasting chicken that we seem to get to often. This piece of meat is actually great to brine and it will infuse some flavor into the meat as well as help keep it moist during cooking. So we are going to tell you a really simple brine recipe that will work on this or any chicken you are going to be cooking. But we are also going to cover how to cook this piece of meat without brining it as well. To Brine the Chicken - Brine Recipe and Method OK let's start with the brine. Depends on how much chicken you are going to be cooking so this is enough brine to do about 5 chicken breasts or 2 whole chickens: 1 quart of water 1/2 cup of Texas BBQ Rub Original Rub ½ cup of sea salt ½ cup of sugar ¼ cup of orange juice (or other juices your choice) (by the way 1-5oz jar of Texas Pepper Jelly works great as well Heat the water to a boil. Add all of the other ingredients to your pan and return to a slow boil. Then remove from stove and let cool completely and this is very important. This does take some time and it needs to cool all the way down before you add the chicken to it. But the heating of the ingredients allows for all of the flavors to blend together nicely. You can put this in the refrigerator to cool down faster. Next we will take our chicken and I like to use a gallon size zip lock bag and place the chicken breasts in the bag and then add the brine and seal. Make sure you cover the bird completely and during the brining process you need to flip the bag over a couple of times to ensure that all the meat is exposed. We are going to brine the bird for 4 to 5 hours in the frig or in an ice chest. Make sure the bird stays cold. If you are going to place the zip lock bag in the frig I would put it in a bowl or pan just in case it leaks out during the brining process. You can place the zip lock in an aluminum pan but DO NOT brine in an aluminum pan. Stainless is fine but preferably use the bag or Tupperware or something like that. Remember to flip the bag over about every one or two hours... OK after 4 to 5 hours of the brining process remove the chicken from the brine and rinse the chicken off completely in fresh water and then pat each piece dry with a paper towel. Discard the brine. IMPORTANT: You have to wash the bird off after it has been in the brine or it will be too salty. And if you use regular iodized salt cut the salt for the brine in half. Sea Salt is just better for brining. This smoked chicken is great the next day in a salad or on some bread. So cook up several of these chicken breasts for the next day. If you need to order some Texas BBQ Rub you can go to http://www.texasbbqrub.com/shopping.html NO Brine Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breasts If you don't want to do the brine thing on the chicken cause of time limits then just take your chicken breasts and follow the simple method below. What you will need: 1/2 cup of Italian dressing (If you are worried about fats and carbs then use a fat free Italian dressing) ¼ cup of Texas BBQ Rub Original Rub (or try the Grand Champion Rub) TIP: To ensure a nice even cook of the chicken breast it is great to butterfly the breast and have two equally thick pieces of meat to cook. Just take a good sharp knife and cut the breast into 2 pieces that will be about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick. Mix the two ingredients in a bowl. You will see the Italian dressing turn a brownish color when you add the rub. Just place each chicken breast in the Italian dressing solution and then place on your BBQ pit or smoker. (If you want to marinate them for a couple of hours that is great too). Sprinkle the top of the chicken breast with just a little Texas BBQ Rub and smoke until the internal temp is 160 degrees. I like to cook this unbrined version of the chicken breast at 225 degrees for about 1 to 1½ hours. No need to turn it over or anything just let it cook. What are you waiting for; this is simple and good eating. In the next couple of days you will get another email that will teach you how to smoke or grill a chicken at a higher temperature so that you will get a crispier skin. Get out there and cook some chicken. Bill PS: The 4th of July is only 7 short days away and since you are going be cooking some great BBQ for your family and friends get yourself some Texas BBQ Rub. I guarantee you will love it and so will everyone else that eats your barbecue. Do it right now before you forget! We are going to mailing rub today and Saturday so you will have it in plenty of time for the long 4th of July weekend. Here is the link to get you some http://www.texasbbqrub.com/shopping.html PPS: You can now follow us on Facebook. Here is the link to our Facebook fans page. We are posting up some great pictures and recipes every week. So come on over and give us a Like. http://facebook.com/texasbbqrub Contact Information: Bill Cannon BBQ Made Simple Real Texas BBQ Rub, Inc. 157 FM 359 Rd Richmond, Texas 77406 Phone - 281-344-1076 Email addresses: bill@texasbbqrub.com You can contact us at bill@texasbbqrub.com if you should have any questions or comments. Copyright 2014 all Rights Reserved Real Texas BBQ Rub, Inc.
  2. Hello all, I ordered some BBQ gloves from TexasBBQRub and signed up for their newsletter. I just received an email on how to smoke a brisket. I have yet to make one and I know there are plenty of helpful posts on this subject. I just wanted to add one more. All credit to - http://www.texasbbqrub.com/ Texas BBQ Rub's Guide to Kick Your BBQ To the Next Level Article 2 of 8 Beef Brisket - Whole Untrimmed Brisket In this article you are going to learn an easy, sure fire method of preparing whole untrimmed beef brisket for smoking. This is the second article in a series of 8 articles you are receiving that will take your BBQ cooking skills to a higher level. Brisket Just the mention of the word "brisket" and some people will tell you that it is the hardest of all the pieces of meat you will ever prepare on your BBQ pit. Don't listen to them. You are going to learn a simple but easy way to the brisket ready for smoking, what temperatures you should be cooking at, when and how to wrap a brisket, how to tell when the brisket is nice and tender, and how to cut your brisket for serving. You are getting an easy to follow plan. When you follow this plan you will have great success in cooking or improving on the brisket you are now cooking. But remember, you have to take action and cook that great brisket. Let's start with the basics. The very first thing that you are going to have to find is a brisket to cook and depending on where you live you will usually find a brisket at either the grocery store, a discount chain, club store, or a local meat market. The kind of brisket that you will find, either a whole untrimmed brisket and/or a trimmed brisket flat also is affected by where you live. Some of you will find both of these cuts of brisket and others will only find one. If you can find an untrimmed whole brisket pick one up and get it home. These usually run in the 10 to 16 pound range and come in a cryovac package. Try to find one in the 12 to 13 pound range (the size I prefer to cook) but it does not matter if it bigger you will just have a little longer cook. If you can't find an untrimmed whole brisket then what you should find is what is referred to as an "trimmed brisket" or a "trimmed brisket flat" which is basically part of the brisket called the flat that has been separated from the rest of the brisket and some of the fat has been trimmed from it. These are either in a cryovac bag or the butcher has trimmed the brisket and you will find it in the meat section with the steaks etc and it is usually in one of the plastic plates wrapped with food film. These will usually weigh in the 4 to 8 pound range. First you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of cooking the whole untrimmed brisket versus the trimmed brisket. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of both cuts of brisket: Advantages and Disadvantages Advantages of Whole Untrimmed Brisket 1. costs less (usually about ½ of the cost of trimmed brisket) 2. more fat in the meat for the long cooking time - keeps meat moist 3. more servings - usually serves 20 people 4. more forgiving over a long the cook cooking time required by brisket Disadvantages of Whole Untrimmed Brisket 1. larger piece of meat that may not fit on some smokers 2. larger piece of meat to handle on the pit 3. harder to find in some areas 4. a little harder to cut since grains run in different directions 5. if trimmed to much not much fat left on the meat for cooking 6. longer cooking times Advantages of Trimmed Brisket Flat 1. smaller piece of meat may fit better on some pits 2. less waste in the end product 3. grain runs in one direction so easier to cut 4. less cooking time on the pit Disadvantages to the Trimmed Brisket Flat 1. costs about double the price of untrimmed briskets 2. less fat for the meat to work with during cooking can cause drying out 3. If you are going to cook at high temps then you must inject this piece of meat or you chance drying it out Take into consideration all of the advantages and disadvantages of the two kinds of brisket that you will find in the marker place. Your pit size and what is available to you in your particular market area will also weigh in the final decision you are making. Either one of these pieces of meat can be cooked to perfection but there is more preparation of the brisket flat in the initial preparation of the meat. All said, I usually cook whole untrimmed briskets. But I can find them easily in the Houston area and I just like having all of the fat on the brisket to help protect the meat and add juices to the meat while it is cooking. You will need to decide which cut is best for your particular circumstances. Beef USDA Grades of Brisket You will notice some markings on the cryovac packaging if your brisket is still in the packaging from the meat processor. These are USDA grades given to cattle as it is processed. Beef is the only meat that is given a USDA grade as pork and chicken are not assigned a grade. There are 3 basic grades of beef - Select, Choice, and Prime. These grades are assigned to the cows as they are processed by a USDA grader who is at the processing plant. We are not going to go into the grading process and what the USDA grader is looking for in a particular cow to assign it a grade because the process is pretty in depth and we will just stick with a couple of basics for you to use. Knowing the grade of the beef you are buying can make a big difference in the end of the cooking period. USDA Select- The lowest of the grades given cattle for human consumption. Not much marbling in the meat. Because of the less marbling in the meat a bit dryer when cooked but also less flavor in the end product. Most meat you will find is this grade. USDA Choice - The mid grade. Much improved marbling of the meat and you should be able to see the difference in the marbling with the naked eye. Because of the better marbling a better flavor with the fat rendering inside of the meat for a juicier piece of meat. But the big difference will be a better tasting brisket. USDA Prime - The top grade of beef. Really well marbled through the entire piece of meat. Much better beefy flavor of the finished piece of meat you are cooking with all of the fat rendering during the slow cooking process you just get a more juicy better tasting brisket. Select grade is the easiest to find and the most common grade you will see. Choice is a really nice brisket to cook. More flavor with much more moisture inside the brisket due to the marbling it has. These are more difficult to find but heck I find them mixed in with Select brisket all of the time. So search thru the briskets and look you might just find one of these and they are the same price most of the time. Prime grade is the top of the grades but you are going to typically pay as much as twice the price if you can find one of these. I have on occasion seen them mixed in with other briskets of lower grades and marked at the same prices as the other grades but this is very uncommon and a great moment when you can find them at the lower price. Your finer meat markets and even some grocery stores with great meat departments will sometimes carry these. Also Costco will have these at some locations. You just got to hunt them down if you want to cook one of them. So the best brisket for the money for the average guy cooking for family and friends will be a USDA Choice brisket if you can find one. This is the grade I cook the most because it is reasonably priced and dang good. I am going to share this little bit of information with you at this point. I will buy briskets 1 to 2 weeks in advance of my planned cook and keeping them in the cryovac package (you cannot break the bag open and the brisket you buy should be in a bag that has not been torn open or has opened because of a bad seal on the packaging. This bag should not have any large air pockets in it. The packaging will be tight around the meat). I will place them in my refrigerator until I need to cook them but not going over 2 weeks. This is what is called wet aging and it helps the brisket continue the natural aging process and helps the brisket break down and get tender over those two weeks. If the bag has been opened or you buy a trimmed brisket that is not in the factory closed cryovac packaging this will not work. In my opinion, after a couple of weeks in the frig wet aging the briskets will get more pliable and more tender. Do not be too concerned with the sell date stamped on the bag as this is what the store sell date is but you can also look for the packing date on the label as well. Preparation of the Brisket Whole - Untrimmed Brisket OK you have a whole untrimmed brisket in the factory cryovac package. You may have had it sitting in the refrigerator for a few days and it is time to get it out and get it on the pit. First, get your pit ready. I like to get the temps on my pit up to around 250 degrees and let it run at that temp for about 30 minutes before I put on any meat. The reason is to get the metal of the pit nice and hot and by getting the temp up any bacteria that could have been growing inside your pit will be killed and you won't have to worry about that at all. And I like to have around 250 degrees in the pit when I add the cold meat to the pit. Remember you will be opening the pit up and placing a large piece of cold meat on the pit and that will immediately move the temp of the pit down to around 220 or less which is where you should cook a brisket. If you are using an offset smoker check the smoke coming out of the chimney of your smoker. It should be a pale while to almost clear. Clear is where you want to get the smoke exiting the pit which means you are not smothering the meat with a stale smoke. If you are bellowing out a really thick white smoke from you chimney you will need to make some adjustments to your pit. Best way to handle this is to open up the air intake valve on the firebox and using the amount of wood you are using and the damper on the chimney you can control your heat in the pit. One note: when you add logs to your firebox you will see a whiter smoke for a few minutes and that is fine it will clear back up. You should maintain a nice bed of coals in the firebox at all times so when you add a stick of wood it will catch fire from the coals that are already in the firebox. Now you will focus on getting the brisket ready for the pit. Take the brisket out of the refrigerator and place it in an aluminum pan with the fat cap facing up and the exposed meat facing down. Take a knife and cut the bag long wise down the center of the bag. Remove the brisket trying to keep as much of the red liquid that is in the package to stay inside the package as you remove the brisket. Note: Many people believe the red liquid in a package of fresh packaged beef is blood. It is not blood at all as most of the blood is removed from the animal at slaughter. There is actually very little blood left in the animal after it has been slaughtered and it usually remains in the muscle tissue. The red liquid in the package is water from the beef combined with a protein. And it is harmless just mostly water. Now you will focus on getting the brisket ready for the pit using the simple 1-2-3 method. The brisket is lying fat up in the aluminum pan. There is no need to trim away any of the fat on the brisket unless you need to for space on the pit or if you just want to. The fat will actually render during cooking and help to keep plenty of moisture in and around the brisket. After cooking the fat can be removed very easily with the back of the knife or using your fingers. You will need about ¼ to ½ cup of worchestershire sauce and about 1 ½ to 2 cups of Texas BBQ Rub to get the brisket ready for the pit. Pour enough worchestershire on the fat side of the brisket to cover it and especially make sure that any exposed meat that you see while the brisket is laying with the fat up has some worchestersire sauce on it. Take about ¼ cup of Texas BBQ Rub and hit the exposed meat that you see on the fat side of the brisket with some rub. Don't worry about covering any of the fat with rub as it is pretty thick and the rub will not penetrate it and you are also going to be cooking fat side down on the pit and any rub on the bottom fat cap will just fall off so don't worry about getting any rub on the fat cap. Take the brisket and flip it over in the aluminum pan. Now you are looking at the top of the brisket with the meat exposed. There will be some fat present on this side and especially you will see a large piece of fat off to one side. It is thick and hard. You can either cut it out or leave it on the brisket. I leave it on the briskets I cook. Again it will add moisture and flavor and protect the meat of the brisket so why take it off now. Take the remaining worchestershire sauce and cover the top of the brisket with it. Using your fingers, run the worchestershire all over the top and sides of the brisket. If you need some more worchestershire sauce add what you need to get a nice coating of sauce on the brisket. Pour the remaining Texas BBQ Rub over the top of the brisket and using your fingers and hands cover the top of the brisket with a nice coating of rub. About ¼ inch will do fine. Do the same for the sides but it will be hard to keep a build up of rub on the sides so just cover them with rub. You will see the rub and the worchestershire sauce mixing together and actually forming kind of a pasty substance on the top of the brisket. You are ready to take the brisket and place it on the pit. Your brisket is sitting in the aluminum pan with the fat down and that is the way you are going to place it on the pit. Remove the brisket from the aluminum pan and place fat down on your pit and if you can point the thickest part of the brisket (the point) towards the firebox of your pit. Close the door and get yourself something to drink and sit back. You just have to watch the temperatures in your smoker at this point. I like to cook my brisket at 210 to 220 degrees. Keep your pit in the 210 to 220 degree range for the duration of the brisket cooking or you may cook a little higher at 235 degrees. Don't worry if your pit spikes in temperatures for short periods of time. That is not going to make any major changes in the way the meat cooks. Check the brisket about every 2 hours and make sure it is not burning at the end facing the heat. If it has started to burn it is no big deal just move it further away from the heat source and watch the temps on your smoker. If you don't have room in your pit to move the brisket back from the heat then place a layer of aluminum foil under the brisket and that will help keep the brisket from burning. After about 6 to 7 hours of smoking you will see the brisket is getting to be a really nice brownish color and it is at this point you should wrap the brisket. Do not worry about the internal temperature of the meat at this time. You are just looking for a great color on the outside of the brisket. You will probably see signs of moisture coming from the meat and making the rub look moist. That is what you really want. If you don't want to wrap your brisket that is fine, that choice is up to you. Wrapping the Brisket Wrapping the brisket is pretty simple and in my opinion makes a prettier, more moist brisket. Tear off 2 pieces of foil each about 3 feet long. Lay them on flat surface. If you have to carry the brisket a little distance from the pit to wrap it up, use the foil pan that you rubbed the brisket in. (It should have been washed out) Stack the 2 pieces of foil one on top of the other and lay the brisket fat side down on the top sheet of foil. Fold up the sides just a little as you are going to pour some liquid on top of the brisket and don't want the liquid to run on the floor. Gently pour ½ can coke or Dr Pepper over the top of the brisket. Fold up the sides of the first layer of foil over the brisket and I usually roll up the sides. Then repeat folding and rolling the second layer of foil over the first and you have double wrapped the brisket. Return to the smoker or if you want throw it in the oven since it will not take on any more smoke and all it is doing now is finishing the cooking process. If your oven will go to 200 or 210 degrees set the oven and put the brisket in the aluminum pan and slide it in the oven. No real need to keep the pit going just to finish off the brisket. You have greater control of the temps in the oven. Cook for another 3 to 5 hours and check the internal temperature of your meat with an internal meat thermometer. You should feel the probe of the meat thermometer slide into the thickest part of the brisket with no resistance at all. You will be done with the cooking once the meat has reached 200-215 degrees or when you feel no resistance to the probe going into the meat. If you don't have a meat thermometer just use a fork and slide it into the thickest part of the brisket. When you have no resistance to the fork sliding in you are done cooking the brisket. Letting the Brisket Sit It is important to let the brisket sit after the 10 to 12 hours of cooking in the heat. Sitting the brisket on the counter at room temps will allow the juices in the brisket to redistribute thru the brisket. Just take the brisket out of the smoker or if you finished it off in the oven, remove place in a roasting pan or if it is in aluminum pan just leave it in there. Let the brisket rest for 1 to 3 hours if you can stand waiting that long to eat it. The rest is worth you holding off on slicing and eating it right out of the pit. You can open the foil that is around the brisket or leave it tightly wrapped. Recommended: You leave the brisket resting for at least 1 hour and for the first 30 minutes leave the wrapped brisket just like it came off of the pit with the foil all closed up. After 30 minutes open up the foil and let the steam out of the foil and this will actually dry the bark out and make a great bark that is not mushy. At this point if you want to add some BBQ sauce on the brisket this is a great time to do that. About ½ cup of BBQ sauce on the top of the bark and then let it sit. No need to placing it back on the smoker. Serving The main thing here is to cut across the grain of the brisket. This will not only allow for cleaner looking slices but it will not get you stringy pieces of meat that will occur if you were cutting with the grain. So you need to identify which way the grain is running and cut across that grain. When cutting the brisket cut cross grain on the brisket. When you get to the point end (the thick end) of the brisket the grain runs in two separate directions. You will see that the two have a layer of fat between them you can simply cut the point off of the flat where that layer of fat is and cut it separately or chop it for beef sandwiches. The meat in the point contains a lot of fat and in my opinion is some of the best tasting brisket meat there is. You have succeeded in cooking a brisket. Smoking the Flat Brisket I am going to save the detail of this for next time. But you can basically follow the above but remember the flat has a lot less fat for the meat to work with than a whole brisket. So I usually inject the untrimmed brisket with some beef broth of beef stock and I mix into the beef broth or stock a little Texas BBQ Rub for some deep flavors inside of the brisket. By the way you can inject any brisket to add more flavors deep in the meat it does not necessarily have to be used only when cooking a brisket flat. This gives you plenty of information to digest and work on. Be looking for next week's Article 3 of in our series on cooking and preparing meat for the smoker. We will focus our discussion on cooking a brisket flat or what some people refer to as a trimmed brisket.
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