Hickory-smoked brisket with coffee barbecue sauce, courtesy of Rene Lynch and photographed by Kirk McKoy of the L.A. Times, is perfect as a Labor Day weekend entree. Today is my husband’s birthday. A cute bit of family history from my mother-in-law was giving birth to her adored son on Labor Day 1955. This (5 to 6 servings) recipe has a total time of 2 hours plus 5 to 6 hours smoking time, using a smoker or a charcoal grill converted to a smoker. Hickory chips are available at many markets.
Looks good, huh? Ingredients for the brisket: 1 Tbsp kosher salt, 1 tsp freshly ground pepper, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp cumin. 1/2 tsp garlic powder, a 3-to-4 pound beef brisket with a layer of fat no thicker than a half inch. 4 cups beer, 2 cups water. Hickory chips, soaked. Directions: in a bowl, combine salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin and garlic powder. Rub the mix into the brisket and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your smoker or grill to cook over low, indirect heat for several hours. Set up a drip pan underneath where the brisket will smoke, filling it with water and beer. Shortly before cooking, adjust the heat to maintain a temperature of about 250 degrees. Add hickory chips and start smoking. Place the brisket fat side up in the prepared smoker and cook for 2 1/2 hours. If you are using charcoal, adjust the heat as needed by adding coals on the side of the grill. Replenish chips to keep smoking. Baste the brisket every thirty minutes to keep it moist. After 2 1/2 hours wrap the brisket fat side up in foil and continue to cook over indirect low heat until the meat is fork-tender. This is 3 to 4 additional hours but time will vary depending on the heat of the smoker and size and thickness of the brisket. Remove the brisket from the heat in foil. Keep it warm by covering it with kitchen towels. Set aside, covered, for at least an hour before serving with the coffee barbeque sauce. A short cut method for the sauce is thinning purchased bbq sauce with strong coffee.
I’m serving a patriotic tossed salad (any fruity mixture of bright reds and blues on lettuce will do) with corn on the cob.