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Smoked Brisket with Coffee

The flat cut of brisket makes for those long, beautiful slices that look so good on the plate. This cut has a lot less fat on it than a whole brisket, though, so it needs a little added moisture during the cooking process. Coffee adds a subtle flavor while helping keep things juicy as the brisket cooks itself to tenderness.

A flat-cut brisket such as this is a simpler piece of meat to cook than a big whole brisket, so this is a good place to start for someone new to cooking barbecue. Just don’t get one smaller than 5 pounds.–Ray Lampe

LC About Cooking Indirectly Note

We interrupt this normally scheduled LC Note to bring you a word—actually, a lot of words—from the author on the topic of indirect smoking: Whether gas or charcoal grill or barbecue smoker, the only real requirement of your equipment is the ability to keep the temperature low and the heat source indirect. The temperature can be kept low a lot of ways. If you’re using electric or gas, it’ll be as simple as turning down the dial on the thermostat. If you’re using charcoal, there are two simple ways: You can build a small fire and add a bit of fuel as needed, or you can light a big pile in one or two places and then control the growth of the fire by closing down the air vents, thus limiting the oxygen supply. Both ways work well and the one you choose will probably be dictated by the cooker that you choose.

Employing an indirect heat source is important and will help tame the fire as well. This can be achieved simply by using a steel deflector or a big pan of water directly above the fire, or you can position the fire to the side of the food and funnel the heat sideways into the cooking chamber. In some extreme instances you can simply keep the food a great distance above the fire. Once again, the best way will be dictated by the cooker that you choose.

Special Equipment: Smoker (optional)

Smoked Brisket with Coffee Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 7 H, 15 M
  • Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (5 to 6 pounds) flat-cut brisket, fat left on
  • Barbecue Rub #67
  • 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee, at room temperature

Directions

  • 1. Prepare your cooker (gas or charcoal grill or barbecue smoker) to cook indirectly at 235°F (113°C), using hickory wood if you have a smoker.
  • 2. Season the brisket liberally on all sides with the Barbecue Rub #67. Cook the brisket, fat side down, for 1 hour. Then flip it fat side up and cook to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C), another 3 to 4 hours.
  • 3. Place 2 very large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, one atop the other, on your work surface, long side facing you. Fold the right half of the foil over the left half, crease, and unfold. Remove the brisket from the cooker and leave the heat on. Place the brisket, fat side up, in the center of the left half of the foil. Turn the edges of the foil up to create a lip and pour the coffee over the brisket. Fold the other half of the foil over the brisket and crimp the edges shuts. (Be careful not to pierce the foil. If you do, don’t freak. Just start over, wrapping the brisket in foil all over again.)
  • 4. Return the foil-wrapped brisket to the cooker until it reaches 200°F (93°C). Begin checking the internal temperature of the brisket after 1 hour. When it’s ready, remove the brisket package from the heat, unwrap it, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • 5. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. If desired, reserve the coffee mixture, skimming the fat from the surface of the liquid and serving the remaining juices as a sauce. Slice the brisket on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices. It’s up to you if you want to serve the brisket straight from the cutting board or pile it on a platter.
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