Texas Barbecue Beef Brisket Recipes Come From a Tradition of Early American Outdoor Cooking

January 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured Content

There is some evidence that suggests the preparing and cooking of beef brisket just might be how the barbecue process came about. Many Germans immigrated to Texas in the late 1800’s/early1900’s. The Texas cattle industry was booming at that time and the Germans naturally fit in because of strong butchering and sausage-making skills. This led to many of these Germans working in the booming Texas cattle industry, and others working in butcher shops, what with those strong background in butchering and and other meat backgrounds. They, like many butchers and cooks today, were experienced at taking tougher and cheaper cuts of meat and turning them into something that was edible.

And this is where the beef brisket comes it. Because of the high fat content on the outside (and inside) the meat, the brisket was never a very beloved cut of meat. As a matter of fact, much of the time it was pickled or boiled or braised until tender, or fed to the animals for lack of anything better to do with this tough cut of beef. At the time, open-pit cooking(or grilling as we know it now) was already popular in Texas. The German butchers were looking for ways to sell this cut of meat, but grilling it was no option.

So instead, legend has it that someone in the German community started cooking it slowly on closed pits, over low heat, and not directly over the fire. The high fat content kept the meat from drying out and the fat shrunk away. After about 15 hours of cooking it like this, they had a large tender cut of meat with little fat and a great smokey flavor.

Nothing much has changed to this day. This is still the way to get great beef brisket. You can get a great-tasting smoked brisket by using nothing but those same technique. You don’t really need any spices, seasonings, or rubs at all because of the great flavor already naturally in this meat.

But of course, these days we’ve got to make our beef brisket recipes quite a bit more. Our briskets have to have a little bit extra, and designed with our more modern taste buds in mind, and our own signatures on them.

Here’s the Texas classic beef brisket recipe:

Buy about a 7-10 lb. untrimmed beef brisket with fat on one side (buy 2 if you’re smoker is big enough. That’ll save on charcoal and wood). They come in shrink-wrapped plastic (cryovac) and you’ll see a pretty fair amount of fat on one side. And they’re kind of be in the shape of a big foot.

By the way-This recipe and most of the beef brisket recipes and tips I will show you here go on the assumption that you are using a smoker, and not just a grill. And it doesn’t have to be a huge smoker with an offset fire box, either (although when you get really good at this the neighborhood demand will force you to get one).

This is a long slow process so plan to start the cooking the evening before you want to eat it. Just have patience and everything will go great. Get in a hurry and you’ll be inviting guest over for flavorful smoked shoe leather.

In your smoker start with about 5-10 lbs of charcoal, depending on the size of your smoker. Soak mesquite, hickory, pecan or fruitwood chips in a pan of water at least 30 minutes. (actually, pretty much any hardwood can be used for smoking meat. Use what is easiest to find or the smoked flavor you like the most.

This whole process will take 2 separate fires (because of the length of time) and up to 20lbs. of charcoal. Make sure you have plenty of charcoal and wood chips.

Sprinkle your charcoal with wood chips to start easily and keep adding a few till the fire’s going pretty good. Never use charcoal starter unless you want a brisket that tastes like charcoal starter. Keep checking your waterpan level and try not to let it go dry.

Caroline’s Meat Rubs

Once your fire starts to settle down and the coals have turned gray, put on uncovered brisket fat side up(You can prepare the meat using any of the beef brisket recipes I have below). Let smoke for about 4-6 hours, adding chips as necessary, and not letting the water go dry.

Then double wrap the brisket in heavy-duty aluminum foil and set aside while you build a totally new fire. It is not necessary to add chips to the second fire. Let the brisket cook undisturbed for about another 8 hours or until you’re almost ready to serve it.

Carefully remove the beef brisket it from your smoker and let stand for at least 15 minutes before slicing. You can even put it in an empty cooler and it will stay hot for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to eat, unwrap the brisket and slice diagonally across the grain in about 3/8″ slices. Trim off any excess fat. One beef brisket will serve about 10 or more.

Some recipes call for dry bbq rubs before cooking begins. Others call for a sauces(mops) used at various intervals in the bbq process. Still other beef brisket recipes go with little or no seasoning until the end, when bbq sauces are put on the finished meat.

It’s all a matter of individual tastes, but as long as you follow the tips above, you and your friends and family are gonna love what gonna rave over your brisket.

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  1. […] Texas Barbecue Beef Brisket Recipes Come From a Tradition of Early … Here's the Texas classic beef brisket recipe Buy about a 7-10 lb. untrimmed beef brisket with fat on one side (buy 2 if you're smoker is big enough. That'll save on charcoal and wood). They come in shrink-wrapped […]

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