Cook's Country (July 2010)
This time of year, when the air is thick and muggy, and the temperatures inch sickeningly close to triple digits, we don't normally think about brisket. Slow-roasting a hunk of meat for hours in a hot oven? It just seems more like a cold-weather meal to us.But this Kansas City Barbecued Brisket has shown us the error of our ways! It's sweet, smoky and melt-in-your-mouth tender. And it's perfect for summer, thanks in part to one super-smart innovation: Cooking it for half of the time on the grill.
In this recipe, the author wanted to create a brisket at home in the style of Kansas City: tender and smoky, with ample spice. To accomplish this, he settled on a three-step method. First, the meat is smoked on the grill in a disposable roasting pan. It's then transferred to an oven to braise in sauce. And finally, it rests.
There are two things you need to know about this recipe.
First, it takes 30 hours to complete (yes, 3-0). There's the initial 24 hours of the meat sitting in a rub, followed by 6 hours of cooking. The cooking, though, is very light lifting on the part of the cook. Both the 2 hours on the grill and 3 hours in the oven require nearly no work.
Second, it's totally worth every single minute! As promised, the meat is extremely tender, literally falling apart. And the sweet and spicy sauce blew us away. We literally could have eaten it with a spoon.
We served this brisket on Clay's birthday, when Drew and Ralph joined us for dinner. Clay happened to have the day off and decided to spend it at home, making this brisket and taking it easy. When we all sat down to eat, the first bite of brisket was met with oohs, ahhs, and an enthusiastic "oh my god."
That it was followed by Compost Cookies with a Cereal Milk Panna Cotta? Suffice it to say, this was a meal to remember.
Serves 8 to 10
1½ tablespoons paprika
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 (5- to 6-pound) brisket roast, fat scored at ½ inch intervals
2 cups wood chips (oak or hickory), soaked for 15 minutes
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1. RUB MEAT. Combine paprika, sugar, chili powder, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in small bowl. Rub brisket all over with spice mixture and transfer to large disposable aluminum pan. (Spice-rubbed meat can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for 24 hours.)
2. SMOKE MEAT. Seal wood chips in foil packet and cut vent holes in top. Open bottom vent on grill. Light about 100 coals; when they are covered with fine gray ash, pour in pile on 1 side of grill. Place foil packet directly on coals. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered, with lid vent open halfway, until wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 5 minutes. (For gas grill, place foil packet directly on primary burner. Heat all burners on high, covered, until wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and shut other burner[s] off.) Arrange pan with brisket on cool side of grill and cook, covered, for 2 hours.
3. ROAST meat. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk ketchup, water, molasses, and hot sauce in medium bowl and pour over brisket. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and transfer to oven. Cook until brisket registers 195 degrees, 2½ to 3 hours. Turn off heat and allow brisket to rest in oven until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Transfer brisket to carving board, tent with foil, and let rest 20 minutes.
4. Skim and SERVE. While meat rests, skim fat from sauce. Slice against grain into 1/4-inch slices. Serve with sauce.