Beef Brisket

We will have a lot of out-of-town guests in August when we celebrate Henriët and Andrew’s wedding. We figured we’d host a barbecue night one evening, so everyone could have some time together. It will be very special for Carla and me to host this. It reminds us of when we got married down in the Bay Area in 1976. Every morning for a week we’d wake up to another group of college friends who showed up over night. Carla’s folks (Glenn and Tommie) were fantastic. Tommie was a great cook and was in her element; she cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner non stop. Glenn had us all busy working on the last minute arrangements in the back yard where the reception was going to be. We put up mud walls and erected a deck in a week.

So, anyway, hosting this barbecue will be a memory of that time. Having a barbecue is a no-brainer; I should be able to cook plenty of food on my smoker. Pulled pork is my “go to” but I thought it would be fun to have a combination of pork and brisket. I made a brisket last summer and wanted to try again.

Brisket can be great or terrible and not too much in between. I think the biggest key to success is the quality of the meat. So, after our latest Burger Project lunch we headed over to Gartner’s Meats where I picked up a 14+ pound brisket. If you live in the Portland area and aren’t a vegetarian, you should go to Gartner’s. It’s about 20 miles from my house but well worth the trip.

Gartner’s Meat’s. Uncrowded for a Saturday

I made up a batch of Meathead’s Big Bad Beef Rub.

Pepper, salt, onion powder, chili powder, dried mustard, sugar, garlic powder, cayenne pepper

The brisket may have started at over 14 pounds, but there is a LOT of fat to trim from a full packer brisket.

Rinsed and patted dry. I’m not crazy about that big cut in the middle of the bottom 2/3


After a bad haircut. I should have grabbed a picture of the fat I removed

Next, I injected it with beef broth, rubbed it and put it on the smoker over night. (I confess, I should have injected it first, then rubbed it; but it wasn’t until the rub was on that I realized I forgot to inject it. Oh well; that’s what practice is for. On the grill

Brisket’s home for the next 12 or so hours


The smoker living up to its name

When I cooked a brisket last summer I put it on the top rack over a giant water pan. It took over 18 hours to finish. Since then I’ve taken to using a small water pan and using the lower rack when possible. This made a big difference; I put it on at 6:15 PM Saturday night; at 6:20 AM it hit 180* internal temperature. At that point I put it in a disposable aluminum roasting pan, pour a bottle of Session beer, and seal it tight with aluminum foil until it hits 195* which it did at 8:00 AM. Next time I’ll start around midnight.

There are two major muscles in the brisket: the point and the flat.

The “point”is on the top left. The “flat”runs underneat

I separated the point from the flat, chopped it into large cubes and dusted with some more rub, then put it back on the smoker for 2 1/2 more hours to make burnt ends.

The point gets turned into burnt ends


The flat sliced thin across the grain


Dinner is served. Squash and beans round out the menu.

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