Texas Beef Brisket with Charred Tomato and Avocado Salsa
“It takes a dedicated pit boss 6-8 hours to spare and a good technique to get the right smoke penetration and produce a juicy but well-done piece of meat in a fraction of the time. That sounds like a contradiction, but it’s possible. All you need is an afternoon with plenty of beer on hand, a bit of patience, and the recipe that follows,” says John Stage, founder and pit master of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
- 1 beef brisket (4-6 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning (recipe below)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups Mutha Sauce (or BBQ sauce of your choosing)
- ½ cup paprika
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup granulated garlic
- ¼ cup granulated onion
- 3 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons white pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup dried oregano
- ¼ cup dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1-½ lbs. plum tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- ½ tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. minced jalapeno
- ½ cup avocado, diced
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce
- 2 tsp. barbecue sauce
- Make the rub: thoroughly mix all ingredients in a bowl. Store in a plastic container with a tightly-fitting lid. Dump 6 cups of hickory wood chips into a bowl, cover with water, and soak for half an hour or so. Drain and divide the chips between 4 squares of aluminum foil. Wrap into individual packets, poking holes in the top of each one. Set aside.
- Pull off the grill rack and fire up the grill. Meanwhile, needle the brisket all over on both sides with a fork. Mix together the Creole Seasoning and oil and rub it all over the brisket. Once your coals are hot, pile them on one side of the bottom of the grill, and set two wood chip packets right on the coals. Position a drip pan filled with ½ inch of water on the side opposite the coals.
- Put the grill rack back in place and set the brisket, fat side up, over the drip pan, and close the lid. After about half an hour, check the grill temperature. It should settle down to 225 degrees, and if it’s hotter, close down the vent holes. If it’s cooler, open them up a bit.
- Check the temperature of the grill every hour for the next 6 or 7 hours and make adjustments. If the temperature dips to 200 degrees or less, add a couple of new hot briquettes to the pile of gray coals, close the lid, and open the vent holes a bit.
- Using tongs, reach into the grill after the brisket’s been smoking for 1 ½ hours, and remove the old packets of wood chips. Toss two new packets of chips onto the coals.
- After the brisket has been on the grill for 3 hours, you have achieved the necessary smoke penetration. Grab the meat with tongs, remove it from the grill, and wrap it tightly in foil. Return the foil-wrapped brisket to the grill and cover. Now, you’re sealing in the succulence of the meat as you continue to cook it to an internal temperature of 175-180 degrees. This will take another 3-4 hours, so keep working to maintain an even grill temperature of 225-250 degrees.
- Remove the brisket from the heat and let it rest in its foil packet for 15 minutes. Save all the roasting juices and skim off the fat. Slice the meat thinly across the grain and fan the slices out on a platter; pour the roasting juices over them. Serve with warmed BBQ sauce to spoon over the meat at the table.
Fire up the grill to medium heat. Core and split tomatoes in half lengthwise, place them in a bowl, and toss them with the oil. Grill them on both sides until charred, transfer them to a cutting board, and chop to a chunky texture. Add them back to the bowl and gently stir in the rest of the ingredients until combined.. Make the brisket. Serve with the Charred Tomato and Avocado Sauce.
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