BACKYARD BBQ 101:
Brisket & Burnt Ends Basics for Beginners
This step-by-step how-to describes basically the
same process of making burnt ends that our sponsored competition barbecue teams
use. The exception being that you’ll need to use your own smoker. Ours are
generally full up. (If you don’t have your own smoker, the staff at The Kansas
City BBQ Store can set you up.)
Start with a whole untrimmed brisket. Whole briskets have two parts: the “flat” and the “point.” The flat is the long, wide, flat-ish part that makes up most of the brisket. The point is the fatty lump of meat that sits on top and at the end of the flat. Burnt ends are made from the point, so it’s important that you start with a whole, untrimmed, brisket. Be aware that many grocery stores only sell flats. If you’re unsure, ask the meat counter dude. Tell him you want a whole, untrimmed, brisket.
Trim excess fat from the brisket. While you’re doing this, notice where the point and the flat are joined. Notice that the grain of the flat and the grain of the point run perpendicular. This is important, inasmuch as you will have to remove the point from the flat later in the process.
Season your brisket with a rub of your own making (see recipe on page 7), or stop by the Kansas City BBQ Store and choose from the hundreds of rubs in our inventory. Seasoning can be done anywhere from four to 24 hours before you put your brisket in the smoker. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.
About an hour before you start cooking, take the brisket out of the fridge and let sit on your kitchen countertop at room temperature for about an hour. Once your smoker is all fired up, put your brisket in and cook it low and slow, at 225 degrees, for about an hour-and-a-half per pound. When the internal temp of the flat reaches 160 degrees, pull it from the smoker, quickly wrap it in aluminum foil and return it to the smoker. Let it continue to cook until the internal temp reaches 195 degrees. Remove it from the smoker and let it rest in the foil for an hour on your kitchen countertop. Then wrap in a big beach towel or two and put it in a picnic cooler and close it tight.
While your brisket is cooking, chop some fresh garlic, onion (and perhaps a slice or two of pickled jalapeno pepper). In a stock pot, sauté the onion in a little butter until golden brown. Then add one quart beef stock, together with the garlic and let simmer for about thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, remove from heat, carefully strain the stock into a sauce pan. Stir in one-and-a-half cups of your favorite barbecue sauce. Return the pan to the stove and keep warm.
When your guests are ready to eat, remove your brisket from the cooler and remove it from the foil. Using your best, sharpest, knife, separate the point of the brisket from the flat. Chop the point into one-inch cubes. Drizzle with some of your warm burnt ends sauce.
Finally, slice the brisket flat — against the grain — with your professionally sharpened knife. Drizzle with the remainder of your sauce.
Danny O’Neill’s Roasterie Brisket Rub