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I must admit that brisket is not my favorite thing to smoke. I tend towards things pork. Virginia loves brisket though, and loves my smoked brisket in particular, so I feel obliged to smoke a couple of briskets a year just to justify my existence. :^)=

Prior to Decoration Day the local market had Choice cryo-vac packer trimmed briskets on sale for $1.79 a pound, so I bought a 13 pound one. We had a wedding Memorial Day weekend, so I froze it. We thawed it out this weekend and I smoked it last night and today.

Since I began smoking I have tended towards simpler and simpler. I have come to prefer rubs with few ingredients and no sauce. Let the meat do the talking. So I decided to go with a simple salt and pepper rub for this brisket; 1 part salt to 1 part fresh ground pepper. This is referred to in Texas as the Dalmation rub, I hear.

So I ground fresh pepper last night, mixed it with an equal amount of kosher salt. I trimmed a bit of fat from the fat side of the brisket, and rubbed the Dalmation mix on every bit of exposed meat. used about 3 or 4 tablespoons for the whole brisket. The smoker preheated for a half hour and in went the rubbed brisket fat side down. The full brisket is a bit long for the Smokette racks, so I just folded the thin end over on itself. By the time it was done cooking, it unfolds and fits on the rack nicely. Never cut a too big brisket, fold it over or under.

I have always done my briskets fat side up, so I decided to do it fat side down this time. There is a lot of good smokers who recommend doing it that way, so I thought I would try it that way. With the smoker set at 225F, into the smoker it went at 1030 last night.

It was at 168F when I got up this morning a bit after 700. I bumped the temperature up to 250F and we went in to town for breakfast. By 1300 it had reached 198F and was done. I pulled it, wrapped it in foil and let it rest in a 170F oven for 1.5 hours.

It turned out wonderfully, or as wonderfully as I think brisket ever gets. There was no juice in the bottom of the foil, but the brisket was very tender and sliced easily. It tasted great and was tender. There were a few burnt ends.

Virginia was pleased with the brisket, although she said she preferred my standard rub of paprika, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and turbinado sugar. She was skeptical of my fat side down smoking, but admitted that the brisket was plenty tender and moist with the fat side down.

I think the reason this brisket turned out so well was that it was a choice cut. Select has far less marbling and hence less flavor and the result is drier. Choice cut meats are a lot more forgiving in the smoker as there is a lot more marbling and fat in the meat.

Unfortunately, choice briskets seem hard to come by and when the local grocer has them, I feel obliged to smoke one. Not sure why they are so rare, but it sure makes a big difference in the final product. I think going to a choice cut from a select cut is the biggest thing you can do to make your brisket better. Better than changing rubs, better than injecting the brisket, better than doing it fat side down, better than foiling it, and better than whatever your secret is. Buy choice brisket or smoke a pork shoulder.
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Nice read SmokingD. The KISS method of salt & pepper is widely common throughout Texas and beyond, and one I frequently use.

Yup, a nicely marbled Choice packer will usually result in a more tender, juicier brisket vs Select. Beef herds have dwindled down to the lowest numbers in almost a generation. Choice packers are out there, just more scarce. Glad you found one which provided such pleasing results.

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