Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Better Brisket

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Better Brisket

Article excerpt

TRADITIONAL BARBECUE brisket can take a day or more in a wood-fired pit. But there's a shortcut to fork-tender brisket with wood-smoked flavor: Sear the brisket on a grill, then finish it in the oven.

This virtually foolproof method produces brisket that looks and tastes like it was slow-smoked for 24 hours.

Traditionally, brisket is cooked in water smokers or big barrel smokers with indirect fireboxes. These require a lot of attention as well as experience and experimentation. The oven technique is much easier and more convenient.

The half-hour or so the brisket is over the coals yields a surprisingly rich, uncomplicated and beefy flavor. A basic dry rub enhances the smoke flavor.

Don't panic when it comes to the sauce, either. A few common ingredients add up to a darn good sauce with uncommon flavor. What You Need

8- to 12-pound beef brisket: Short, fat briskets with a thick covering of fat have the best flavor. Never use a trimmed brisket.

Wood: Hickory, pecan or oak chips, soaked in water for an hour.

Charcoal: Briquettes or hardwood charcoal.

Cookers: A charcoal grill and a conventional oven.

Seasoning: Smoke only or Matt's dry rub (see recipe) plus smoke.

Sauce: Matt's simple barbecue sauce (see recipe). How To Do It

Season untrimmed brisket with Matt's dry rub, if desired.

Allow charcoal to cook down to medium heat. You should be able to hold your hand at grill level for four seconds. Place a cup of soaked and drained wood chips on the coals.

Grill the brisket until it is dark and crusty on both sides, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally. Expect some flare-ups, but allow the meat to char. When brisket is charred, place it on a rack in a roasting pan with a lid or cover with foil. Roast in a preheated 200-degree oven 1 hour per pound.

When brisket is done, trim fat and slice thin across the grain. Serve with Matt's simple barbecue sauce. How To Buy A Brisket

When it comes to barbecue, the bigger the brisket the better.

A brisket trimmed of fat or cut up to make a smaller cut doesn't make great barbecue. It will dry out and shrink. Use a whole brisket.

Don't worry if the brisket you choose looks too big. Because there are so many great things to do with leftover brisket, it's hard to cook too much.

Great barbecue requires a brisket in the right shape. …

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