Find out how to smoke brisket like a Texan

Owning Austin’s beloved LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue Food Truck, Evan LeRoy has a clear creed for smoking brisket like a Texan: “Keep everything as local as possible,” he says. To him, that means Texas beef cooked by a Texan on Texas grass over Texas wood. But for people living in Wisconsin, for example, there is Wisconsin beef cooked over Wisconsin wood. Aside from keeping it local, here are some things you should know about improving your brisket game.

  1. Get quality meat: LeRoy buys his meat from HeartBrand Beef in Flatonia, Texas. This ranch raises Akaushi cattle, originally from Japan, and LeRoy believes they produce the best beef brisket in the world.

  2. Take your time: It usually takes 10 to 12 hours to cook the brisket. If you want it to be ready for Saturday lunch, you need to start cooking on Friday morning and keep it overnight – more on this below.

  3. Cut carefully: Aerodynamics are important here. LeRoy makes sure that his chest piece has nice, rounded edges so that the heat rolls over it evenly, just like air rolls over a sports car.

  4. Season each square inch: “Sometimes you see people just flavoring the top and bottom of their brisket, and that’s a big mistake,” says LeRoy. “You want your friction all over because these outer sections make the best, most amplified bites.” To distribute his spices evenly, LeRoy fills a large platter or bowl with coarsely ground pepper and kosher diamond crystal salt and darkens the meat until it is coated with a thin but even layer.

  5. Keep your warmth constant: If you want to grill properly, LeRoy says you need an offset smoker (not a regular grill) and that you should keep the temperature somewhere between 250 and 300 degrees. He keeps his smoker between 275 and 300 because he is tall and the chest piece can be far from the fire. People who use smaller smokers want to keep the heat a little lower – between 250 and 260.

  6. Wrap your chest piece or “boat”: Tradition has it that when your brisket reaches an internal temperature of 165 ° C, it’s time to wrap the meat. LeRoy prefers to create what is called a “boat”. His boat is a piece of aluminum foil that covers the lower part of the chest piece and protrudes a few inches over the sides. This does two things. First, it collects the juices that drain from the thicker top part of the brisket and allows those juices to saturate the leaner bottom part. Second, by leaving the top of the rib cage exposed, the boat also crisps the thicker side.

  7. Don’t let it get too hot: LeRoy takes out his meat when the internal temperature is between 200 and 205 degrees. At this temperature the meat is moist and soft, but it has not reached 212 – then water boils and the meat begins to fall apart.

  8. Resting and storing the meat: After the meat is done, LeRoy rests his brisket at room temperature for an hour. He has a special restaurant-grade machine that keeps the brisket warm until it’s ready to serve. However, its other warming device is a YETI tundra. If you’re cooking the meat on Friday, he suggests placing it on a tundra overnight and it should be the perfect temperature by the time you’re ready to serve on Saturday afternoon. “We use tundras all the time when we’re brisket, and they’re perfect for storing the meat,” he says. YETI_Brisket2_h

  9. When cutting, pay attention to: When he’s ready to cut the brisket, LeRoy cuts it in half lengthways, exactly in the middle. He uses a serrated knife, makes long strokes, and cuts a third of an inch long slices off the lean side. Then he turns the fat side 90 degrees before slicing, as the grain runs in a different direction on that part of the meat. For the fat side, he suggests half an inch slices.

  10. Garnish and Eat: Down in Austin, LeRoy says, people like to do a “foldover” by placing a slice of brisket on top of a piece of white bread and then topping it with pickles and onions and just a little bit of barbecue sauce.

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