Prep 3 hrs
Cook 9 hrs
This is the gold standard for barbecuing a brisket as far as I'm concerned. From Cooks Illustrated
- 1 (5 -6 lb) flat-cut beef brisket
- 2⁄3 cup table salt
- 1⁄2 cup sugar, plus
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
- 3 (3 inch) hickory wood chunks
- Using a sharp knife, cut slits in fat cap, spaced 1" apart, in crosshatch pattern, being careful to not cut into meat.
- Dissolve table salt and 1/2 cup sugar in 4 qts. water in stockpot or large bucket. Submerge brisket in brine and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- While brisket soaks, soak wood chunks in water for at least 1 hour, drain. Remove brisket from brine and pat dry with paper towels; transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Combine kosher salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tbsp sugar in small bowl. Rub salt mixture over entire brisket and into slits.
- About 20 minutes before grilling, open top and bottom vents halfway, and arrange 3 qts. unlit charcoal (about 50 briquets) banked against one side of the grill. Place 13x9" disposable aluminum pan filled with 2 cups water on empty side of grill. Light large chimney starter filled with two-thirds with charcoal (4 qts or about 65 briquets) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and covered with thin layer of ash, 15-20 minutes. Empty coals into grill, on top of unlit briquets, to cover 1/3 of grill with coals steeply banked against side of grill. Place soaked wood chunks on coals. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes, scrape grate clean with grill brush.
- Place brisket fat side down on grate over cooler side of grill (over the pan filled with water), as far away from fire as possible without touching wall of grill. If brisket has a pronounced thicker side, position it facing fire. Loosely tent meat with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Cover grill, positioning top vent over brisket without removing lid for 3 hours. Initial temperature of grill will be about 400 degrees and will drop to about 325 degrees after 3 hours.
- Working quickly, add 10 unlit briquets to fire and open bottom vent all the way. Remove and discard foil from brisket; flip meat and rotate so side that was closest to fire is now farthest away. Cover grill with top vents over brisket and cook until tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 195 degrees, 2-4 hours. Final temperature of grill will be about 250 degrees. If after 4 hours, meat does not register 195 degrees, remove brisket from grill, transfer to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheetlined with aluminum foil, and place in 325 degree oven on middle rack until meat comes up to temperature.
- Transfer brisket to cutting board and let rest for 30 minutes, tented with foil. Cut meat across grain into long, thin slices, serve immediately.