The forecast for Sunday, September 26th called for clear skies and warm temperatures which meant it was time for me to finally fire up my new Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. This cooker is a bullet style smoker used to cook foods “low and slow.”
I had plenty of time to think about what kind of meat I wanted to make for this inaugural cook and finally decided on brisket. Brisket is a tough cut of meat that requires a long cook to tenderize. I wasn’t sure I wanted to try such a long cook on my first attempt, but very easily convinced to do it. The plan was to cook the meat at a low temperature of 220-250 degrees for 10-12 hours. I bought the brisket and other supplies on Friday before the cook at a great restaurant supply store in San Francisco called Cash & Carry. The untrimmed brisket weighed in at 12.19 pounds!
I used Saturday night before the cook to prepare everything I would need for the next day. I assembled the grill and prepped the meat.
The grill: fully assembled
To prepare the meat, I first trimmed the fat with the goal of leaving a 1/4 inch layer of fat, that would break down during the cook adding moisture and flavor.
I then made my rub using salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and dry mustard and applied it to both sides generously. The brisket spent the night in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap.
On Sunday morning I woke up at 6:00am to fire up the cooker. I filled the charcoal chamber with briquettes and interspersed wood chunks. I used apple and hickory wood. I lit 25 briquettes in a chimney starter and added them on top of the unlit charcoal. By 7:30 the cooker came up to the correct temperature and I added the brisket.
Brisket: just added to cooker
The cooker did an amazing job of retaining heat. I checked on the cooker every hour and made slight adjustments to the vents to control the temperature. I turned and basted the brisket with apple juice at hour 6 and hour 9. I also took the internal temperature of the brisket at hour 9 which was 175 degrees; ten degrees below my target temperature of 185. Right around 5:30 the brisket hit 185 degrees and I pulled it off the cooker.
Right after being taken off the cooker
The brisket looked and smelled amazing. It had a very nice bark on the outside which is characteristic of a good brisket. I let the meat rest for 20 minutes (a very long 20 minutes) to allow the juices redistribute. In finally carved into the brisket at 6:00pm and full 12 hours after I started the smoking process. The meat had a 1/4 inch smoke ring and tasted absolutely delicious!
Now we eat!