Best Smoked Brisket for a Long Weekend

Labor Day is upon us already – it seems like the summer has just flown by.  Smoking some meat on the grill is a great way to grab onto the last of the long, hot days before Fall descends with its cooler, shorter days.

The Grill-Meister and I worked on our brisket recipe in advance of the long weekend and we’re happy with it.

In fact, the finished product was so good that I forgot to stage a beautiful picture in my rush to eat it!

The Grill-Meister's pit is the kind that has the wood-smoke box on one side and the main grilling space next to it.
The Grill-Meister’s pit is the kind that has the wood-smoke box on one side and the main grilling space next to it.

The Grill-Meister has a rusty old charcoal smoker pit.  But it did the trick.

Glover Gardens Brisket

5-6 pound trimmed brisket

Spice Rub

1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup course salt
2 tbsp ground chiles (ancho, guajillo or chipotle; cayenne only if you don’t have any of the others)
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp ground mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar

Brisket Mop
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup minced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp of the spice rub
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp pickled jalapeño juice (hot)
1/2 cup cider or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cans or bottles of beer (18 oz total; drink the rest)

Get started the night before you plan to barbecue. Make the spice rub by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Put the brisket on a large sheet of foil and then liberally cover it with the spice rub. Rub it in. Treat it like you love it. There will be some spice rub left. Wrap the brisket very tightly in foil and refrigerate it overnight.

Plan to start the barbequing process at about midday, allowing about 1 – 1 1/4 hours per pound of meat. If the brisket goes on at noon, you’ll be eating at about 7:00-ish.

The overnight spice rub treatment permeates the taste through the entire brisket
The overnight spice rub treatment permeates the taste through the entire brisket

Get the brisket out an hour before you need to put it on the grill so it can come to room temperature. Get the grill ready with the charcoal on one side of the large portion of the pit and wood chips in the wood smoke box. It should be at about 200 – 225 degrees.

The mop is the BOMB
The mop is the BOMB; drink the leftover beer

Make the Brisket Mop: first, sauté the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Add the tbsp of the spice rub and the ground mustard and stir, then cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, jalapeño juice, vinegar and beer and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for several minutes.

Put the brisket on the cool part of the grill, fat side up, and baste liberally with the mop. Baste every hour or so. Cook for the desired amount of time, until the brisket is at about 180 degrees (you just don’t cook brisket rare).  Keep adding the wood chips to the smoker box for a nicely smoked flavor.

After you remove the brisket from the barbecue, let it sit for 20 minutes or more, then slice and get after it.

Let the cooked brisket set so the juices can settle
Let the cooked brisket set so the juices can settle
We dug into the brisket so fast that I couldn't get a pretty photo
We dug into the brisket so fast that I couldn’t get a pretty photo

We served our brisket as sandwiches on onion rolls the first night, then we had brisket nachos the second night and finally, we had brisket tostadas.  It was all good.

Brisket on onion rolls with the traditional jalapeños, onions, pickles and barbecue sauce; the ultimate Labor Day dinner
Brisket on onion rolls with the traditional jalapeños, onions, pickles and barbecue sauce; the ultimate Labor Day dinner

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