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.
Smoked Brisket with Coffee
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 7 H, 15 M
- Serves 8
Special Equipment: Smoker (optional)
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.
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.
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 shut. (Be careful not to pierce the foil. If you do, don’t freak. Just start over, wrapping the brisket in foil all over again.)
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.
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.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I really liked having the coffee mixed with meat juices to use as a sauce. It adds a bit of richness and complexity, without being sweet at all. I made the brisket in my Big Green Egg. The accessory called a “plate setter” (not sure why they call it that) helps adapt the Egg for indirect cooking. The rub calls for turbinado sugar, which is usually coarse-grained, and kosher salt, which is also coarse. I found that these two ingredients in the rub had a tendency to fall off the meat, while the finer ground ingredients adhered. I like to make my rubs with a finer grain salt and sugar to avoid this problem, and that is what I’d do with this rub in the future. The other thing I would do differently in this recipe is to cook the brisket with the fat side up during the entire cooking time, instead of starting with the fat down and flipping it. The timing given in the recipe was pretty accurate for my setup, but since this can vary depending upon the nature of your smoker and the shape of your cut of meat, you’ll need to monitor the internal temperature as you go.
We love smoked food, so we had to try this recipe. The rub is a perfect blend of sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s one to use in all types of meats in the future. The brisket was very tender but I think I should have cut down on the time. I used the full 4 hours and next time I’ll just use 3 hours and then wrap it in the foil. After 1 hour the temperature was already a little over 200 degrees F. The meat totally fell apart but was just a tad dry, but that was my fault as I really should have removed it earlier. Perhaps next time I’ll add a bit more coffee, too, as I didn’t taste it in the meat.