Competition Brisket, Cool Smoke Style

June 27, 2018 Last Updated: June 27, 2018

Competition Brisket, Cool Smoke Style

Brisket is often treated much like a pot roast, which is cooked until it falls apart. When competition brisket is perfectly cooked, you’re able to slice the flat to about the thickness of a number 2 pencil, and can pick up the slice and pull it apart with a gentle tug.

Makes 12 to 14 servings

  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) beef brisket
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Cool Smoke Rub
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups apple juice, in a spray bottle, for the grill
  • 2 teaspoons minced dehydrated onions
  • 2 cups Cool Smoke Barbecue Sauce

The day before you plan to cook, clean and prepare the brisket. Alternatively, have your butcher do this.

Prepare the Cool Smoke Rub.

Rub the brisket on all sides with the olive oil and dust with 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Smoke Rub, patting the rub evenly over all sides of the meat. Transfer to a pan and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

When you are ready to cook, heat the smoker to 300°F pit temperature. Alternatively, heat the grill to 300°F, using the 2-Zone setup, using five or six chunks of your favorite wood in addition to the charcoal or gas.

Place the brisket fat-side down in the smoker, or on the cool side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 1 hour, then spray with apple juice to moisten. Cook for 3 hours more, spraying the brisket every 30 minutes. Do not turn the meat.

Cut two 18 x 24-inch pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil and join them lengthwise by crimping the edges. Lay the resulting piece out flat on a clean work surface. Transfer the brisket from the grill or smoker and place it fat-side down on the length of foil. Sprinkle the dehydrated onions evenly over all sides of the meat. Spray with apple juice overall, applying a heavier concentration of juice on the crispier areas to rehydrate them. Wrap the brisket tightly as you would a package, being careful not to puncture the foil.

Set the brisket package in the smoker or on the cool side of the grill, close the lid, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. Check the internal temperature after 2 1/2 hours. The brisket is done when the thickest part of the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 205°F to 207°F, or until the probe of a thermometer slides into the meat with ease.

Remove the brisket from the heat again and let it rest, vented in the foil, for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, grind the remaining 2 tablespoons Cool Smoke Rub in a coffee grinder until super-fine, and transfer to a fine-mesh shaker. Prepare the Cool Smoke Barbecue Sauce as well.
15 to 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, unwrap the brisket. Pour the liquid in the bottom of the foil into a fat separator. Pour the fat off from the fat separator and discard, reserving the remaining juices.

Using a sharp knife, separate the point from the flat. If you are cooking at home and want to save the point for serving at a later date, seal the point in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Brush a light coating of Cool Smoke Barbecue Sauce over the meat side of the flat and return it to the smoker or to the cool side of the grill, fat-side down. Cook for 10 minutes to set the sauce. Transfer the meat to a cutting board or a clean surface and cut it across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Brush each slice of brisket lightly with the juices in the fat separator. Dust each slice lightly with the finely ground Cool Smoke Rub and brush with a light coating of Cool Smoke Barbecue Sauce.

Serve the sliced brisket with the remaining Cool Smoke Barbecue Sauce on the side.

Cool Smoke Rub

Makes a generous 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Smoked Chili Powder
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated onion

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

Cool Smoke Barbecue Sauce

Makes 1 quart

  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

In a 4-quart saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, for 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 weeks.

Smoked Chili Powder

Makes a generous 2 cups

  • 1 cup smoked paprika
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano (available at most groceries)
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated onion

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

Copyright © 2018 by Tuffy Stone in “Cool Smoke: The Art of Great Barbecue” and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.

“Cool Smoke: The Art of Great Barbecue” by Tuffy Stone ($29.99).