I recently got a new BBQ smoker, after a 10+ year hiatus from BBQ. Temperature controlled, pellet fed.
I had to try a brisket first. But since I was rusty at smoking meats, I read a few articles online about making the "ultimate brisket" and was a little surprised by what I found. In summary, there are a lot of recipes out there that will keep you busy by your smoker rubbing, basting, spraying, turning and poking for 16+ hours. It sounded like a lot of work, and much of it sounded unnecessary.
Humans have been smoking meat for thousands of years. The recipe has always been salt+smoke. How hard can this be? After a few texts and calls to a good friend and avid barbecuer, I decided to try something simpler. Much simpler. For science.
The results turned out great. Not <your favorite BBQ joint> great, but pretty darn great given I put basically zero effort into this.
BBQ people of the Internet, I present the world's simplest BBQ brisket recipe.
- Pat dry your brisket.
- Trim some fat off, but leave at least 1/4" fat where you can. The fat makes a good moisture insulator. Or don't. A dry crust tastes great too! For this experiment I trimmed the fat off one half of mine and left the fat on the other half; I liked both!
- Make a dry rub of 2 parts rock salt to about 1 part ground black pepper. Eyeball it. Rub it into the meat and let the brisket sit out for an hour.
- Set your smoker to 150°F and wait for it to stabilize at 150.
- Place the brisket in the smoker and cook for at least 1 hour per pound.
- DO NOT OPEN YOUR SMOKER. "If you're looking, you're not cooking." Go look at something else: Look up at the sky, your significant other, whatever. There's plenty of interesting things to look at. Don't risk fiddling with the internal temp of your smoker.
- Shut the smoker off, wrap in foil and let rest for 60+ minutes before serving.
That's it! Brisket, salt, pepper, smoke.. This is not complicated. My brisket came out with a perfect bark, a 3/8" smoke ring and was oozing liquid when I cut into it. Tasted amazing. I noted that the internal temp of the fat side was 154°F, so my smoker--even though it was set to 150--was overshooting a little.
If you want the "ultimate brisket" keep scouring the Internet, but you should try this first :)