11-15 lb. beef brisket (if not already trimmed, trim it down to about 1/4" - 1/2" of fat - some fat is needed to keep the meat tender & juicy during the long smoking period. Never buy frozen)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. chili powder (I use New Mexico)
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. cayenne
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups apple cider, poured into a plastic spray bottle
15-20 pieces of Hickory wood chunks, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes.
Large bag of charcoal (Kingsford is best - do not use Matchlight or anything presoaked with lighter fluid when smoking cuz, well frankly, your food will smell and taste like, surprise surprise, lighter fluid! A tip from Dan da BBQ Man, my sis's BF)
1. Combine all the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Rinse the brisket briefly and pat dry with lots of paper towels. Place the brisket on an aluminum tray or baking sheet.
3. Rub 1-2 tbsp. of vegetable oil over the brisket, then sprinkle the spice rub generously over the entire brisket. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Since I'm not a smoking guru (I just prep the ingredients), I can only give general instructions on the smoking process itself, based on Gil's feedback. He puts about 25 briquettes at the bottom of the smoker. Then he lights 25 briquettes in a chimney starter until they are white hot and puts them on top of the ones in the smoker. Add 3-4 pieces of the soaked hickory wood chunks. Gil used an iGrill digital thermometer with dual probes to measure the grill temp and internal meat temp. The cool thing is that it can be paired with your iPhone or Android so you can see the current reading and be alerted when the meat is done on your mobile device.
5. Next, the brisket is placed on the upper grate in the smoker fat side up (believe it or not, there seems to be a ranging controversy in the webosphere whether brisket should be smoked fat side up or down, but we chose up).
6. Cover the smoker & maintain heat at around 200F for the next 6 hours. You will probably need to add about 15-20 briquettes to the smoker every hour during the entire cooking process.
7. After 3 hours, turn the brisket over (fat side down) and continue smoking another 3 hours. After a total of 6 hours, a nice dark "bark" should be forming over the brisket. Add more charcoal to the smoker and increase temperature to about 250F. Spray the brisket liberally with apple cider. Cover the smoker and continue to spritz the brisket with apple cider every 20 minutes for the next 2-3 hours.
8. Remove the brisket to an aluminum baking pan, cover tightly with foil, and return to the smoker. Continue smoking another 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature is around 185-190F.
9. Take the brisket out (do not remove foil and keep in roasting pan) and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
10. Remove brisket to a chopping board and slice. The meat is chock full of flavor so you really don't have to serve it with sauce, but feel free to serve it with your fav BBQ or other sauce if that floats your boat. Texas-style sweet and smoky beans and potato salad pair well as sides.
Notes for Next Time:
1. Consider injecting meat with straight apple cider and/or an apple cider concoction.
2. Instead of rubbing the meat with veggie oil to help the spice rub stick, slather a thin layer of yellow mustard over the brisket for enhanced flavor.
3. Come up with a light Carolina-style mustard based BBQ sauce as a a dipping sauce for the brisket.