Smoked beef brisket

Since I got my Weber Smoker I have become a bit of an anorak with regard to my new toy, surfing the net and reading books about what to do and not to do with a smoker, to the point that my wife Melanie banned me from talking about it as I had started to repeat myself. So having conquered successfully pulled pork, what was to be the next challenge?

And given that the Weber Smoker has been described as the “Everest” of smoking meats, I decided to have a crack at smoking beef brisket. This is due to the fact that you really need to cook this low, slow and constant, and keep to the cooking times.

I had my friend Simon staying with us and he, like Melanie, had started to take the mickey out of me – that was until the day of the smoke and, lo and behold, Simon was with me every step of the way and there was one point where he and I watched the temperature dial of the smoker, during a critical phase of the operation, for 10 minutes without speaking. He has his own anorak now and is talking about getting a smoker on his return to the UK!

I do believe there is something very primeval about this type of cooking and I am re-discovering the caveman inside me – that or I had one too many beers during the cooking process.

So what to do…
|| The Rub (courtesy of Pitt Cue and Co of Soho London)

Ingredients (this will make about 350g)
▪ 200g Maldon sea salt
▪ 70g maple sugar or soft light brown sugar
▪ 25g English mustard powder
▪ 25g hot smoked paprika
▪ 25g freshly ground black pepper

▪ 3kg beef brisket or any cheap beef joint

▪ 4 tablespoons of English mustard

▪ 500ml of your favourite BBQ sauce (recipe not included here as published previously and everyone has their own favourite)

▪ Wood chips or chunks for smoking (would recommend hickory or mesquite or any fruit wood)

Mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl.

Coat the beef with the mustard and then coat evenly with the rub. Cover and refrigerate for six to eight hours and preferably longer.

Place the beef in an old or disposable roasting tin.

Get your smoker prepared to cook as per your manufacturer’s instructions for indirect cooking over a low heat.

Put the tin with the brisket on the cooking grate. Smoke the brisket for 4 to 5 hours, starting with three or four handfuls of woodchips or two chunks of wood at a constant temperature of 110 to 130°C, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 70 to 77°C. Every hour add another couple of handfuls of wood chips or one chunk of wood, and if necessary more charcoal to maintain the temperature of the smoker.

When the internal temperature of the meat is at 70 to 77°C, the collagen in the meat will have dissolved. At this point remove the brisket and tin from the smoker (closing the lid to maintain the temperature). Baste the meat with some of the juices and fat collected in the tin. Then wrap the joint in two large sheets of tin foil. Discard the tin.

The brisket should be returned to the smoker for another 2 to 3 hours without adding more wood, until the internal temperature of the meet has reached 88 to 90.5°C in the thickest part.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and allow to rest inside the foil at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. The meat will stay hot and, most importantly, continue to tenderise.

The meat should be ready to serve now and remove from the foil. Cut the brisket across the grain with a sharp carving knife into 3mm slices and serve with the warm BBQ sauce.

So how did it turn out? Simon and our other dinner guest raved about the results. The wonderful thing about this form of cooking is the depth of flavour you can create and judging by the seconds given out and the clean plates, it was a hit! Our next smoking adventure is going to be hot smoking fish. See you next time.

Article supplied by Chris Winstanley from Moveison outdoor living store near Lagos