HOW TO COOK BRISKET
GET THE MEAT
Figure out how big a brisket you’ll need for your crowd and your hunger level. Since brisket loses a lot of water and fat in the slow-smoke process, you’ll need to estimate one pound of RAW brisket per person, which will yield a half-pound of juicy smoked goodness on the plate. (When in doubt, go a little heavier, as barbecue leftovers rarely last long.) Ask your Rouses Markets butcher to trim the fat to ¼-inch thickness.
START THE FIRE
Stoke your fire and bring the smoker’s temperature to 250°F (the optimal temperature for indirect heat). Add hickory wood chunks during the smoking time for additional flavor.
WORK THE RUB
Make a dry rub using equal parts kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (or to simplify things, use Rouses Markets Chicory & Garlic All Purpose Rub.)
Starting with the fat side down, coat the brisket with yellow mustard. Get the surface just wet enough for the dry rub to stick. Pour the rub directly on the brisket, gently and evenly pressing the rub into the meat as you go. Repeat the mustard/rub routine on the brisket’s fatty side.
Allow the brisket to rest at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes before smoking.
LOAD THE SMOKER AND WAIT
Place the brisket in your smoker fat side up. Leave undisturbed for the first four hours of the cook time, or until the thickest part of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. By this point your brisket should have a deep mahogany hue and a consistently crunchy-looking outer later (called the bark).
WRAP FOR MOISTURE, WAIT AGAIN
Now it’s time to wrap the brisket in foil for tenderness’s sake (see the sidebar on The Texas Crutch).
Return the foil-wrapped brisket to the smoker and let it cook until the meat’s internal temperature approaches 185°F, about five hours.
REST, THEN SLICE
Pull the brisket from the pit and allow it to rest in the foil for at least another 30 minutes, or up to an hour. This process allows the precious juices to redistribute and settle back into all parts of your delicious brisket.
Slice brisket against the grain when serving. Slice the flat (fatty part) and point (lean part) separately so you have a combination of deep-smoked meaty textures.