This brisket recipe was inspired by a renowned 19th century Virginia beef BBQ cook everyone called "Blackhawk." I will be sharing more details about him soon.
Until then, this is my tribute to Blackhawk and all the other great BBQ cooks that don't get their due. They put their heart and soul into their BBQ everyday working their butts off to feed the masses.
The biggest problem with hot and fast brisket is usually the bark. The bark just doesn't measure up to the bark of a brisket that is cooked low and slow. So, this recipe is my attempt to rectify that situation. This is how I cook my Blackhawk brisket.
A good bark is the result of the Maillard reaction. This is where the sugars and proteins in the meat begin to brown while cooking. There are several main things that influence this reaction: Sugar, protein, heat, and the PH level of the meat.
I started with a 12 pound full packer. I trimmed it up and removed the excess fat from between the point and the flat. This was done to increase the amount of bark I would have on the burnt ends.
For this process to produce the best bark you need to remove all of the silver skin and as much of the fat possible from the flat of the brisket. Then, using paper towels, dry the top surface of the brisket as well as possible.
The next important part of the process is to use something under the brisket that will create a curved or slanted surface. This is important so that juices from the meat don't pool in one spot. The juices pooling will wash the rub off and eliminate any chance of a good bark developing.
You can inject the brisket at this point if you want just make sure to dry the surface of the brisket as much as possible using paper towels.
Once all that is done, I put the brisket in the refrigerator uncovered overnight. Here it is the next morning after an overnight rest in the fridge.
Next, I again use paper towels to dry the surface of the brisket. First up, deal with the PH level of the meat. I sprinkle the top surface of the brisket with about 3 half pinches (just as much as can be picked up with thumb and forefinger) of baking soda. Just a light sprinkle all over the top surface of the brisket is needed. Don't use too much.
After the light sprinkle of baking soda, I apply a light coat of peanut oil all over the surface of the meat. Then, I add a light sprinkle of brown sugar and rub it all in. The last step in this stage is to apply a light coat of molasses. I use sugar and molasses to up the sugar content of the meat. If you use a rub that has sugar in it already, you can skip the brown sugar part.
Next, I apply my rub. The rub I used on this brisket was made from the following:
4 TBS Sea Salt
6 TBS Coarse Ground Black Pepper (16 mesh)
3 TBS Fine Ground Black Pepper
1 TBS Fine Ground Cayenne Pepper
I rubbed it all over the surface of the meat. Then, I touched it all up by sprinkling fine ground black pepper over the brisket to cover any spots that needed it.
While the prepared brisket was resting on my kitchen counter, I fired up my Keg to 325 degrees F using some white oak chunks for smoke. I made sure the fire was burning very clean. The smoke coming from the chimney was a clear vapor.
I put the brisket on the smoker and let it cook for 2 1/2 hours. Here is a pic of it just before foiling.
After 2 1/2 hours, I loosely wrapped it with foil. It was really a foil tent.
I let it continue to cook for about 2 more hours until it probed tender as "butta." I'd "say it was about 208ish internal temp. Once it was tender, I removed the foil and let it rest for 1 hour. Here is the result.
The flat -
Burnt ends -
It was moist and delicious and didn't taste sweet at all!