It is believed that everything in Texas is big, and the cattle industry is no exception. The rearing of livestock such as cows is rampant all over the place, especially in Central Texas. Beef is sold at a cheaper rate and is readily sold almost everywhere. Ribs, briskets, and sausages are the three most popular types of barbecue in Texas.
You will find beef brisket in almost every menu list in Texas because no meal is complete without a beef brisket. However, most home chefs are yet to master the art of cooking brisket the right way without making it too dry. This is because the huge size of the meat makes it a bit difficult for home cooks to manage, including the massive fat content.
All the tips you need to prepare a juicy texas style smoked beef brisket are written in this post. Let’s get started with the history of texas cuisine.
Brief History of Texas Cuisine
In the 1800s, many people immigrated to Texas from some part of Central Europe, majorly from German, Czech, Mexican, and Ashkenazi jews. In these three states, brisket is one of the meats that make up their cuisines. Although the Jews have strict laws and rules binding them, they were allowed to eat beef and some other meat.
Most of these immigrants resided in the central region of Texas that is located between San Antonio and Austin. The Jewish people were the first set of people to smoke beef brisket in Texas, United States.
Types of Texas Cuisine
The Texas cuisines use more beef, such as beef ribs and beef brisket. It is divided into four, and this is based on the regions in Texas. Every region has its unique recipe that differentiates them from the other regions. Even the smokehouses and restaurants within Texas don’t always serve the same menu because each state has its preference. The four Texas cuisines are Central Texas, East Texas, South Texas, and West Texas.
Smoking of meat and barbecue began in Central Texas, the place where the immigrants resided. Central Texas cuisine is all about simplicity. The pitmasters often see no need to complicate the recipe by using few ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes. This region has a simple dry rub that is unique to them. The rub is made of salt and any form of pepper.
However, some trained grill masters have their proprietary rubs that include garlic and other spices. The type of woods used in smoking in this part of Texas are oak, pecan, and mesquite. Although other types of wood are used, these three kinds of wood are unique to Central Texas.
The smoked meat is often served in either a tray or a butcher paper. And the side dish that accompanies the smoked meat is white bread.
East Texas also uses indirect heat to smoke their meat, just like Central Texas. But the type of wood used for smoking in this region is hickory wood. This wood grows in the region, which makes it easily accessible to the people. The pitmasters of East Texas smoke both beef and pork.
One unique style of cooking associated with East Texas is the 3 2 1 smoking technique known as the fall off the bone method. The brisket is smoked in such a way that the bones pull off easily. Moreover, the smoked beef is presented alongside hot tomato sauces and pickles with a bun.
The cuisine of South Texas is woven with Mexican cuisine and is generally referred to as Barbacoa. The Mexican men that tend the livestock in Texas at that time were often rewarded for their labor with cheap quality meat. And in their effort to make this low-quality meat edible, they create different dishes.
The cuts of meat that they were given include the tongue, the cheek, and even a cow’s head. The cooking style employed is slow and low cooking over an indirect flame. The South Texans sauce has a sweet taste with a molasses flavor. The beef is marinated in a molasses-based sauce to infuse the flavor and lock in moisture.
The method of cooking used by the west Texans is a bit different from the other Texans. It is known as the cowboy style. They use a direct heat source for cooking their meat with the grill lids open. Instead of smoking the meat, they grill the meat with open flames.
The wood that grows readily in this region is the mesquite wood. However, the grilled brisket of the cowboy style is not as moist and tender as the smoked ones. And besides, in the western part of Texas, they eat more chicken, sausage, and ribs, which made them employ grilling.
The Best Cut of Beef Brisket to Buy
Beef brisket is one of the nine primal cuts of beef that is often overworked. It is highly pricey in meat markets and even in restaurants because it is limited. Beef brisket has to be slow-cooked for hours on a low heat for excellent results. Although there are two parts of beef brisket, the best cut of brisket for texas style smoking is the whole brisket.
Most stores sell only one portion of the brisket, which is the flat cut. This part of the brisket has more fat and less meat. However, some recipes will specifically state the part of brisket that is needed.
A whole brisket includes both the flat cut and the point cut. The thinner part of the brisket is called the pointcut, while the thicker part is known as the flat cut. Between these cuts of beef is a large clump of fat that needs to be trimmed before being smoked. A whole brisket which is also known as the packet brisket, weighs about 12 to 18bs. However, the size of the brisket when it is raw is reduced after being smoked.
- A whole pack of brisket
- A smoker
- Sharp knife for trimming
- Wood pellet
- Aluminum foil paper
- Cutting board
- Preparation Procedure
Trim out the excess fat from the meat till it gets to about 1/2 thick.
Season the meat by evenly applying salt and pepper over the brisket. Then leave it in a refrigerator for hours, preferably overnight, so that the rub can penetrate and get into the meat. Applying the rub for hours helps to enhance the beef flavor and reduce the smoke time.
Prepare the smoker. Then you place the rubbed brisket on your smoker with the fat side facing up and cover the smoker. Allow the internal temperature of the brisket to turn 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you bring it out.
Wrap the smoked beef brisket in foil paper and place in the smoker for an hour, then flip the beef over. Repeat this until the beef is moist.
When the brisket gets ready, allow it to rest before you slice and serve.
To know if the beef brisket is perfectly cooked and ready to eat, you can carry out a doneness test. There are two ways to carry out this test which are the jiggling method and the bending method.
For the jiggling method, you need to take hold of the brisket from one end and shake it. If it is properly cooked, it will shake.
On the other hand, the bending method is conducted by grabbing the brisket with your kitchen gloves from both sides. To detect if the brisket is perfectly cooked, it bends in the middle when you grab it.
What is Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket Served With?
The popular side dishes that are served alongside the smoked brisket are sliced onion, potato salad, Texas toast, coleslaw, diced watermelon, baked beans, white bread, and cornbread. However, beef brisket is usually served with barbecue sauce in some joints, but it can be enjoyed without the sauce if smoked properly.
The Required Cooking Time to Smoke A Beef Brisket
There is no fixed cooking time for beef brisket because it largely depends on so many factors and personal preferences. The size of the brisket, the type of smoker used, the temperature, and the cooking style used will determine the cooking time.
For example, not everyone loves to use the Texas Crutch method when smoking a brisket. And those who use it will spend more time than those who don’t. However, an lb of beef takes up to an hour to cook. So, therefore, if you have to cook 10lbs of beef, you will need up to 10 hours of cooking time and more, as the case may be.
What is Texas Crutch?
Texas crutch is a terminology that is used to describe the wrapping of the brisket or any cut of meat in a foil. The Texas crutch is one of the techniques employed when smoking beef the Texas way. Wrapping the brisket in a foil makes it more tender, juicy, and moist.
The best time to wrap the beef in a foil is when you are halfway into the cooking. At this phase, you need to ensure that the internal temperature of the brisket has gotten to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Ideal Temperature for Smoking Texas Style Beef Brisket
The ideal temperature for smoking brisket ranges from 165 degrees Fahrenheit to 270 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature to use depends on the smoker and the cook.
Some cooks love to start with a low temperature before increasing the heat as they progress. However, it is best to maintain a particular temperature within the smoker by managing the heat and closely tending to the fire.
Beef Rubs And Sauces
You can make your rub or buy from the store. For homemade rub, you need granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix these ingredients, and your brisket rub is ready to be used.
The rub, in general, makes the smoke penetrate the meat and helps in the formation of the dark crust on the surface. The dark crust is also known as the bark.
Most Texas joints add the brisket dripping alongside other ingredients to make their brisket sauce. This adds a rich, unique taste to the smoked brisket.
Tips for Making Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket
Do not trim all the fat away from the beef, but rather trim some part of the fat. Because the remaining fat will melt and cause the meat to become juicy besides, the drips from the remaining fat can be used to prepare the beef sauce.
Ensure to evenly season the beef brisket to taste the same all around and cook more evenly.
Remember to place the fat side up when smoking so that as the fat melts down, it drips through the beef. The melting fat does not only make the meat tender but also infuses flavor to the beef.
You don’t have to be an expert before you can prepare a savory smoked brisket in your outdoor kitchen. All you need is to judiciously follow these steps and get the best ingredients from the market.
Although there are more than one ways to smoke or prepare beef brisket, Texas-style smoked beef brisket is one of the popular methods used by several professional chefs.