Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Most of the time when I fire up my smoker I'm having friends and family over to my house to feast on tasty BBQ. Unfortunately for me several of said friends and family enjoy my food so much that they expect me to make certain items at every cook.

I can be a bit of a perfectionist and the last couple of times I've had a party I had so many irons in the fire I felt like the quality of everything suffered a bit. So on this day I invited one friend over that had never had my Q before and all I was cooking was a brisket.

Seasoned simply with kosher salt and pepper

It's no secret that I am a central Texas BBQ junky. True I have not made it to Kansas City or the Carolinas and tried those BBQ's yet but I have made two trips to central Texas and have yet to find any mediocre BBQ. I'm sure it exists but of the places I've been to it has all been top notch.

Making a 6 hour drive to eat good brisket is a bit prohibitive. So the alternative is to learn to cook brisket like the pitmasters in central Texas do.

I did a little research and found that most of the legendary pitmasters from that region do one thing. They keep it simple.

So as you can see in that picture above all I seasoned this brisket with was kosher salt and black pepper. That's it... No injection... No rubs with forty-leven ingredients.... Just salt and pepper.

The only other thing I did to prep this brisket was trim the fat cap to about 1/4" and removed a little of the vein of fat that lies between the point and the flat.

6 hours into the cook

I started my fire up at about 10:00 PM and planned on cooking the brisket for about 12-14 hours. So this brisket was going to be ready about lunch time the next day.

Now I know the central Texas pitmasters use Post Oak and Pecan for heat and smoke. My smokers are fueled by charcoal and wood chunks. I had Kingsford and Hickory and Cherry chunks. So I had to make due with what I had.

Normally when I cook a brisket I spritz it on the halves. Meaning that if  I plan on cooking 12 hours. The first time I lift the lid is at the 6 hour mark.... Spritz... Lift the lid in 3 hours... Spritz... and so on. I don't know if the central Texas pitmasters spritz or not but this brisket didn't get spritzed.... I was keeping it simple.

Sliced like butter
My texture was close but not quite as good as what I had in Texas but I didn't miss it by much. The flavor was almost exactly what I remember the brisket at Snow's BBQ tasting like. I didn't nail it exactly but once again I was pretty darn close and my tastebuds were doing cartwheels. I didn't have the bright light shining down on me from heaven like I did after that first bite at Snow's but tastebud cartwheels falls close enough to make me happy and it came from my backyard and not a 6 hour road trip.

The one friend that I had invited over claimed it was the best brisket he had ever eaten. He's never been to central Texas or he might have said otherwise.

St. Louis style pork spare ribs

Now the other reason I had invited my friend over is because he wants to learn to make BBQ. So after we had our bellies full of brisket he said "Let's smoke some ribs!" So off to the store we went and picked up a slab of spareribs.

I'm very confident in my ability to cook ribs. It's the first meat I started smoking and I have my technique down. I didn't disappoint with this slab.

Best rack of ribs I ever made?
 Unlike the brisket I spritzed these ribs on the halves with a mixture of grape-apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. I also gave them a generous rub of my pork rub recipe.

About a half hour before I was ready to pull the ribs off the smoker I basted them with some Head Country BBQ sauce mixed with some of the leftover spritz. I did the same about fifteen minutes later to give the glaze plenty of time to setup.

Ok, I'm not going to say these were the best rack of ribs I ever made but they are definitely in the Top 3. The texture was perfect from one end of the rack to the other and top to bottom. Every bite came away clean from each bone and the flavor was heavenly.... Yes, the heavenly white light was shining on both myself and my friend.

These ribs are one of the moments I live for in BBQ. That moment when you take that first bite and you know you nailed it. When that bright light shines down from above and bathes you in tender, sweet, smoky, awesomeness.

My conclusion after nearly 24 hours of smoking meat is that when I concentrate on the meat I can make some really incredible Q. When I get distracted by all the other side projects expected by my guests. My Q slips into mediocrity much like most Q-Raunts.


  1. Totally agree with you, was still some of the best Q I'be had in quite some time. It's why I'm getting me a WSM soon, can't wait... Mmmm.

  2. WOW! This looks amazing. We lived in Texas for a few years and just didn't fit in, but I do miss the amazing brisket!!!

    texas best brisket


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