We are having a neighborhood Independence party on Saturday and I’m cooking a brisket for the first time on the Memphis Elite. (I’ve done many Briskets on my Pitts & Spitts wood burning smoker – we’ll see how the Memphis does.) 12.44 lb Brisket. Chow down time is 6:00pm Saturday. The plan is: Trim, rub & wrap – Thursday at 4:00pm Let sit wrapped in the fridge till 8:30pm Friday. Bring up to room temp till 10:00pm Friday (sit out on the kitchen counter high enough so the dogs can’t get to it!), paint a thin layer of yellow mustard and another layer of dry rub on top of that. Start the smoker at 9:40pm, set to 215. Brisket on at 10:00pm Friday. One last beer, and it is time for bed. The big advantage of the Memphis over the Pitts and Spitts is that I can set it to a temp and let it run overnight without worrying. The P&S required checking and adding wood/coals every few hours. Check on it at 6:00am – start mopping it and raise the temp to 225. Mop every hour till 4:30pm, then take it off, wrap in foil and then a towel and into a cooler (will then be a warmer) for an hour till 5:30pm, then carve and serve. Step 1 – trim & rub & wrap This is the test I did at the supermarket – always select a brisket that can bend a lot. That is a tender brisket. Ones that are stiff as a board will not come out as good as one that starts out tender. This is a packers cut – both muscles with a large fat cap on top. Pre-trim - straight out of the packing. I cut back on the fat cap on the side between the two muscles to let the smoke get into it and end up with ¼ to ½ inch of fat cap. I remove some of the stringer fat & membranes, leaving good fat that will absorb the rub and partially render down to moisten the meat while cooking - at least 1/4 inch - up to 1/2 inch. Then a coating of dry run and wrap in plastic. I use a pizza pepper shaker to spread the rub evenly. Now, in the fridge for 24 hrs (and a bit more due to timing of the meal). Dry Rub Recipe – courtesy of “Texas Home Cooking” by Cheryl & Bill Jamison ¾ cup smoked paprika ¼ cup fresh ground black pepper ¼ cup chili powder (I use Gebhardt’s) ¼ cup salt ¼ cup sugar 2 Tbsp Garlic powder 2 Tbsp Onion powder 1 Tbsp ground cayenne chili I'll update this tomorrow with the next phase - mustard, rub and into the smoker - stay tuned... Phase II – coat, rub & cooking Ok, it is time to start cooking. I pull out the brisket and let it warm up to room temperature. (about 1 hr) First, fill both hoppers with a mixture of 30% mesquite and 70% red oak. Theoretically, with smoking temps, full hoppers (total of 20 lbs of pellets) will run up to 60+ hrs. Turn on the smoker – set temp to 215. It will take about 15-20 minutes to ignite and get to a stable temp. (It usually takes me 1-1.5 hrs to get my Pitts & Spitts to the same stage with mesquite logs.) While the smoker is warming up, I paint a thin layer of yellow mustard on the bottom side (non fat cap side) and then spread rub on top. Now, put the brisket in, fat cap up – I use the big meat forks to try to avoid disturbing the mustard/rub coating on the bottom, and paint the top side with mustard & sprinkle with rub. Ok, it is now 10pm Friday night – finish my beer and go to bed! OK (yawn) – it is 6:00am in the morning on Saturday. I really don’t have to get up this early because of the brisket – it would do just fine by itself with another couple of hours of sleep – but my dog (Chewbacca – Chewie for short) gets hungry and wakes me up. Make the mop sauce (same source as the dry rub above with a few mods of my own) 12 ounces beer – I prefer a darker, stronger flavored beer – in this case, all I had available was a Samuel Adams. ½ cup cider vinegar ¼ cup canola or corn oil ½ medium onion chopped fine (optional) 4 big tablespoons minced garlic 4 tablespoons of the dry rub 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce Mix it all except the beer, then pour the beer in last and stir. Here is the brisket after 8 hrs at 215 – looking good! It is plenty moist, no need for mop yet, but time to crank the temp up to 225. Internal meat temp is about 156 at this point. Time for breakfast and a cup of coffee! Check it every couple of hours, and mop if needed. I check the internal temp at noon – I cook briskets by time, not temp, but want to be sure that it is on track. This is the point where I may crank up the temp a bit to make a crustier bark. I test with a wooden meat skewer – if it slides in easily – the brisket is tender. 2:00pm Saturday – the internal temp is at 190 – time to drop the temp to 180 to let is slowly creep up to 200 – the wrap it and put it in the cooler. 3:00pm – wrapped the brisket and put it in the cooler Appetizers. Might as well take advantage of the smoker going to make appetizers. When it is 100+ outside, the less cooking inside the lower the AC bill. I had pre-made some rattlesnake eggs: Large, fresh jalapenos sliced in half length wise, half filled with cream cheese/cheddar cheese mix, half filled with chopped up brisket from a previous cooking (saved some in the freezer) Wrap with applewood smoked bacon and put in the smoker for 2 hrs at 140 – I want them ready when the guests arrive. I put them on a rack to make it easier to get them out and not stick. Phase III – finishing, carving and chowing Here are the appetizers out of the smoker Unwrap the beast and carve . My guests are hovering so I give them tidbits as I carve. There is nothing better in this world than fresh, hot and juicy brisket. Nice smoke ring, still juicy. OK - for those who are wondering – this is a slice off my plate. We were all so hungry and everyone was crowding around grabbing pieces that I FORGOT to take a photo of the big platter with all the brisket sliced on it! For those who want BBQ sauce, I had made some Raspberry Chipolte-spicy and some Chocolate Cherry – mild and medium – to suit any taste. I usually eat mine without sauce when it is fresh from the smoker. Other sides were: Creamed cornbread casserole, cole slaw, salad and a watermelon & strawberry salad. Not much was left over!