Brisket is one of my favorite meats to smoke. It can be one of the most challenging and costly meats to smoke. There are a lot of BBQ enthusiasts who smoke their brisket up to 22 hours and it is delicious, but my recipe requires between 12 to 14 hours to smoke. As always I love to use cherry wood chips soaked in water for 30 minutes before I put the brisket in my smoker.
I always prep my brisket the night before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. I keep it simple with the seasoning using only sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. I liberally apply the sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to the brisket and rub it in well. I place it on a baking sheet and cover it with cling wrap.
I usually set dinner between 6:00 and 7:00 PM for my guests, so that requires me to get an early start in the morning to get the smoker prepped and ready to go. That means I am getting up at 3:00 or 3:30 in the morning to soak the wood chips, start the smoker and give the brisket a chance to come up to room temperature. I don’t mind it. It’s nice to have peace and quiet and a few cups of coffee to boot.
I preheat my smoker to 225 degrees, and while it is warming up I soak my cherry wood chips and pull the brisket out of the refrigerator. Once the smoker reaches 225 I add the wood chips and place the brisket fat cap side facing up straight on the rack. Facing the fat cap side of the brisket up allows the fat to melt and dissolve into the meat keeping it moist and tender through the cooking process.
I’ll keep an eye on it, adding fresh wood chips every two to two and a half hours to keep the smoke going. I’ll also occasionally check on the water pan to make sure there is water in there. Your brisket will be ready when the internal temperature of the meat reads 205 degrees.
Let the brisket rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving it and serving it. You will want to trim off the fat cap when you are ready to carve it. Your cut should be against the grain.
I have always served my brisket in taco form on white corn tortillas or flour tortillas. The usual toppings include queso fresco cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, onion, jalapeno peppers and cilantro. I’ll serve tortilla chips and guacamole or mango salsa as a side.
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