Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mesquite Seasoned Brisket

Brisket is quite popular in Texas and not as well-known here in North Carolina, but we've managed to convert some pulled pork BBQ-only Tarheels into brisket-lovers thanks to our smoker and Greg's skill with it. Yesterday he made a mouthwatering mesquite-seasoned brisket, using Mama T's Mesquite Flavored Seasoning & Dry Rub, some natural lump charcoal, and some maple branches that had come down in our yard during a storm earlier this spring. Because the secret to tender, flavorful brisket is slow-cooking in a smoker, he started in the morning to make sure the brisket would have enough cooking time.

Greg started the lump charcoal in a chimney starter and let them burn down to white coals. While the coals were burning, he rubbed the brisket with Mama T's Mesquite Flavored Seasoning & Dry Rub, thoroughly coating it on all sides with a good layer of the seasoning. When the coals were ready, he spread them in the smoker with the maple branches on top and waited until the branches had burned down to coals. Then, once the temperature in the smoker was at 225F degrees, he placed the brisket in the smoker and let it cook at 225 degrees until he could stick a fork in it and twist pretty easily. The key is to keep the temperature at a steady 225F and let the brisket slow-cook, which took about 8 hours yesterday. The cooking time can vary so make sure you use the fork test to check the meat before removing it from the smoker. If you end up removing the brisket from the smoker too soon (i.e., if your coals die out before it's finished cooking), you can always finish the brisket in a crock pot with just a little bit of water and let it cook until it's fork-tender.

Once the brisket it done, remove it from the smoker (or crock pot) and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it relatively thinly (about 1/4" slices) against the grain. The smoky mesquite flavor is so good that you don't need to add any sauce.

Mama T's Mesquite Flavored Seasoning is made by hand in small batches by Mama T and her daughter Shirley, on the North Carolina Outer Banks. They use natural ingredients to capture the true flavor of the American West, and their seasoning comes in a generous 8.4 oz bottle (about 68 servings). You can get it online at the Carolina Sauce Company online store, and it's currently on sale!

Zestfully yours,

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