Of the many things associated with Texas, barbecue is one of the first things that come to many folks minds’ — most especially BBQ beef brisket.
As Wikipedia tells us:
Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the eight beef primal cuts. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue.
According to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, the term derives from the Middle English “brusket” which comes from the earlier Old Norse “brjósk“, meaning cartilage. The cut overlies the sternum, ribs and connecting costal cartilages.
Please note that I am NOT talking about corned beef brisket, which is a whole ‘nother thing.
A traditional cut of beef brisket is a large (typically 8 to 12 pounds) cut of fatty meat. Because it is so fatty, it shrinks a great deal while cooking. Me being me, I prefer to pay a bit more per pound for a leaner cut of brisket — either a fully trimmed brisket (leaner) or a flat cut brisket (leanest). While they will still shrink, they won’t shrink nearly as much as a regular cut, and as long as you cook them properly — low and slow — it will be tender and yummy, but without all the fat and shrinkage of a fatty brisket. Just talk with your butcher and ask what the leanest cut is, and if they don’t have any lean cuts available, ask him or her to cut one for you.
There are several ways to cook a brisket, and BBQ brisket is one of the most popular. People get very particular about how they cook it (many will only cook it on a grill or in a smoker). Most insist on a dry rub, followed up with a sauce.
Myself, I don’t generally like to actually rub the spices onto the meat, as I feel I end up with at least as much tasty herbs on my hands (that I must wash away) as I do on the meat! So I just sprinkle on the various herbs and seasonings that I want.
We baked our brisket and then finished it up on the grill, but you can bake it solely in the oven, as well. A friend asked me if she could possibly cook it up in the CrockPot instead, and while I’ve never made it that way, after giving it some thought, I think that, yes, with the leaner cut of brisket, one could make it in the CrockPot, as well, in a way similar to how I make BBQ roast in the CrockPot.
This smells — and tastes! — so yummy, you’ll find yourself breaking into song 😉
Easy Barbecued Beef Brisket (Number of servings depends upon quantity of brisket and the size of the appetites you’re feeding!)
- Desired amount of brisket (suggest fully trimmed or flat cut brisket, both of which are much leaner cuts than traditional brisket)
- Vinegar (suggest white or apple cider vinegar)
- Seasonings to taste: Tobasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika
- 1 can or bottle of beer
- Your favorite BBQ sauce (add in a bit of liquid smoke to the BBQ sauce, if desired)
- Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (this makes clean-up easier). Place cooking/baking rack in pan. (You want to place the brisket in a single layer on the rack, so if you’re cooking up a whole mess of brisket, you may need more than one pan! 😉 ) Pour a bottle or can of beer into the pan.
- Place brisket, fat side down, on the rack.
- Sprinkle meat lightly with vinegar. (Vinegar is acidic and will help tenderize the ribs.)
- If seasoning with Tobasco sauce, do a few sprinkles of it now, as well. Season with a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce, too.
- Season meat to taste by sprinkling on desired seasonings: chili powder, cumin powder, cayenne (red) pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
- Cover with foil and bake at 275 -300F for 4 to 6 hours, until tender and almost fully cooked. (I usually start off at 275F for several hours and then turn it up to 300F for the last hour or two.)
- To Finish on Grill: Remove brisket from oven. Grill over medium-high heat, brushing with favorite barbecue sauce, until fully cooked — another 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes, then cut against the grain
- To Finish in Oven: Increase temp to 325F. Uncover brisket and brush with your favorite barbecue sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 325F until done — another 30 to 45 minutes.
- To make in the CrockPot: Season brisket with wet and dry seasonings and place in CrockPot. Mix together your favorite BBQ sauce with a can of tomato paste (6 or 12 ounces, depending upon quantity of brisket and amount of sauce you’re using). Pour over brisket. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.