1 beef brisket, about 5 lb, fat trimmed to 1/2-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
About 8 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Perfect Brisket BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)
At least 1 hour before you are ready to begin cooking, remove the brisket from the refrigerator. Season it generously all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle it evenly with the garlic, and then gently rub it into the surface.
Prepare a smoker, charcoal, or gas grill for smoking over low heat. You want to smoke this brisket very low and very slowly, so the temperature of the grill should be 200°F to 250°F. If using charcoal, bank the lit coals on either side of the grill bed, leaving a strip in the center without heat. Place a drip pan (you can use a disposable aluminum pan) in the center strip and fill the pan with water. Add about 2 cups of the wood chips to the fire just before grilling. If using gas, fill the smoker box with up to 2 cups of the wood chips, then preheat the grill. Turn off 1 or more of the burners to create a cooler zone. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Place the brisket on the grill over the indirect-heat area and cover the grill. Smoke the meat for about 2 hours, adding additional wood chips every 30 minutes or so and more coals as needed if using charcoal.
Remove the brisket from the grill and wrap it in aluminum foil. You can put it back in the smoker or on the grill and cook it slowly for another 4 hours (I don’t recommend this if you are using charcoal), or you can place it in a roasting pan in a 250°F. oven for an additional 4 hours. The brisket is ready when it is fork-tender.
Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and remove the foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain, arrange the slices on a platter, and serve at once. Serve the barbecue sauce – reheated or at room temperature – on the side.
Never use lighter fluid with charcoal or everything will have a chemical flavor. Use a charcoal chimney and light it with paper. This is the most efficient and quickest method and the best for your food and the environment.
Perfect Brisket BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp yellow mustard
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not colored, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, sugar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and mustard and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Use right away, or let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: about 2 cups