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Brisket

Why God made cows.

My parents demonstrated many times while I was growing up that they could cook a darn good brisket. But, when I told my dad I was coming in town with Bar-B-Q on my mind, he called to some of Texas's best brisket chefs, and we came up with a scheme that could get about a 7 1lb brisket cooked in about 5 hours. This makes a tender-juicy kind of brisket. This may not be what you are used to, but I think you'll like this variety.

We used a tiny little grill, but used it like a smoker. Setting the fire right under where the brisket would be, using straight char coal. Once the fire got settled down, I filled a pan with thin cut mesquite circles (grown in the neighborhood, of course--its Hondo, TX) and water. This cooled things down a bit (don't spill the water). We put the brisket right over the mesquite, fat side up, so the brisket would basically get steamed with mesquite flavored steam. It worked pretty damn well. After about 2 hours (keeping the fire at about 350 degrees and keeping water in the pan and switching out the mesquite once), we took the brisket off the fire and sealed it in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Now, most people put the brisket right back on a new fire and cook it in the foil. This really isn't necessary because now there is so little smoke getting through the foil, but it probably doesn't hurt. Instead, you can get similar results in a standard convection oven. We set it for about 250 (I need to verify this) and cooked about 3 hours. After those 3 hours, you have a damn good and tender brisket. But, lore has it that if you stick the brisket straight into the fridge at this point and let it cool overnight, you can warm it the next day to 250 and it will be even more tender--my dad swears by this technique.

Update: Further experimentation by my dad has revealed the baking at 200 for about 4 hours (instead of 2 hours at 250) gets about a 7 lb brisket extra special tender. I'll be putting this suggestion to the test.