Brisket is quite possibly the pinnacle of great Texas smoked barbecue. It’s hearty, beefy, smokey, and delicious.
But while it seems simple, turning that large piece of meat into that smokey, melt-in-your-mouth goodness requires a little prep. To get the right results, you’ve got to find the best wood for smoking the brisket.
Basics of Smoking a Great BBQ Brisket
Smoked brisket is one of those barbecue dishes that are notoriously simple yet infinitely complex. There’ aren’t usually many ingredients, which means each one needs to be perfect. Everything you do and everything you change can make a big difference in the end product.
The steps to smoking a brisket are simple, too. In essence, all you need to do is find a brisket, trim it, season it, and smoke it. But the simplicity of this setup means you need to pay attention to each step.
The Meat Quality Matters
Since brisket is a simple beef dish at its heart, start by picking the best brisket you can get your hands on.
Order the brisket online from a reputable supplier or get it from your local meat monger, whoever you trust the most. Look for fresh cuts that have wonderful marbling. When you get it home, trim it down to get rid of excess fat and fit it in your smoker.
Season It Well
You’ll definitely want to season the brisket with something. Classic salt and pepper are enough for this job; just make sure they are coarse. Some chefs like to add in some garlic powder or other aromatic accents.
Smoke Low and Slow
Next, pick the right wood for the job, and make sure you’ve got enough of it to cook the brisket from start to finish.
Brisket is a flavorful and tough cut of beef. It will take a large brisket many hours of smoking to get finished. One of the great things about real barbecue is that it’s done only when it’s done.
If the outer crust starts to get too dry, wrap the brisket at the end of its cooking cycle. Peach butcher paper is perfect for this because the meat can still breathe, and the smoke can still get in. Foil will work in a pinch. Finally, never forget to let the brisket rest for at least 3o minutes before you slice it.
Best Woods for Smoking Brisket
Woods for smoking can roughly fall into two categories — those with robust, smokey flavors and those that offer a more subtle hint of smokiness.
The trick with a slice of big, powerful meat like brisket is finding the right balance: If you go all-in with mesquite, it can be quite overpowering if things get out of proportion. In case you opt for something subtle, like pecan, it could come out plain and boring.
What’s the solution? It’s possible to mix and match the woods you use in the smoker to find just the right combination. Also, the amount and size of wood pieces you use affect how smokey your brisket will taste.
You can play around with pretty much any combination of woods you want, but i