Okay. So Sunday, after putting the brisket in the rub, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and putting in the refrigerator overnight, it was time to cook this bad boy. Now, I had never cooked on of these before, let alone try it on the grill, so I did my research and settled on placing the brisket in a disposable aluminum roasting pan at 225 degrees with indirect heat. I also soaked some hickory wood chips in beer, threw those into an aluminum foil pouch, and placed it directly over the one burner that was on. One tip about the wood chips. Get them smoking and readjust the grill to temperature before you put the brisket on. I didn’t do that and it took them about two hours for them to start smoking properly.
I figured that at three and a half pounds, it would take me approximately five or six hours to cook this, but it took much longer. From the time that I put it on the grill to the time that it was finally ready to come off and rest, it was more like nine and half or 10 hours to get to an internal temperature of 185 degrees. Why? My theory is that I committed the cardinal sin of grilling: I kept opening up the grill. I did this for a couple reasons. First, once an hour I basted the brisket with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, beer, salt, and pepper. Second, I wasn’t confident with the temperature readings I was getting on the thermometer and therefore I opened it a few times to try and get different readings. What did I learn? That I’m smarter than that. I like to think that I’m pretty good at grilling (although what guy out there thinks otherwise) and I simply know better. I blame it on being a brisket rookie and worrying too much about what the final product would be.
Anyway, once it was time to rest, I promptly wrapped it in aluminum foil, placed it in an empty cooler, and put a towel over it. And there it sat for 30 minutes while we got the potato salad, coleslaw, and rolls together. The picture you see above is what it looked like upon cutting. I hope the picture does it justice, but it was juicy, tender, and delicious. The rub turned into a nice outer layer that I wouldn’t describe quite as a crust, but it definitely provided bold flavors with every bite. I know that some brisket enthusiasts swear by cutting the flat off (the piece of mean directly under the fat layer) before serving, but I left it on. It was easy enough for us to cut that piece off as we were eating. Also, the cider and beer sauce I was basting the brisket in while cooking turned into a pretty awesome sauce that we spooned over the brisket while serving.
For the rub, I don’t remember exactly what I put into it – and I was reminded that I need to start writing these things down – but I can list the ingredients that I remember: brown sugar, black pepper, kosher salt, cumin, red cayenne pepper, chili powder, ground mustard, and curry powder. I coated the brisket in Dijon mustard before applying the rub the day before. I was pretty happy with the end result of the rub, although the curry powder I would cut back on a little as it was definitely the most dominate spice flavor.
Overall, it turned out great, especially for the first brisket I’ve ever cooked. I’m going to keep experimenting with cooking methods (thinking about getting an electric smoker in the fall, perhaps) and rubs / sauces, so there will be ample opportunity to update you on the progress. My only piece of advice: don’t be daunted by it. Sure there are brisket “experts” but really, food is a personal thing and as long as you are enjoying it, do it your own way. I’m sure I broke about 100 brisket rules, but H can attest that the end results were tasty and delicious, even as leftovers.