With Brisket, the Key Ingredient Is Patience
Brisket, that slowly cooked, soft-to-slice, sometimes stringy staple of your grandmother's holiday table, humble and homey as it is, has been known to capture occasional media attention. President Obama serves it every Passover at the White House Seder, after all. Now barbecued brisket, of which the POTUS is also an apparent fan, is enjoying a moment in the spotlight.
New York Times food writer Julia Moskin recently observed that New York food obsessives, currently in the throes of a love affair with barbecued meats like "brisket, beef ribs and spicy beef sausage … turned out in authentic fashion," are zeroing in "on brisket alone," and giving it their own city twist by serving it "in untraditional sandwiches or with more up-to-date side dishes."
If you're barbecuing the notoriously tough cut of beef at home, hoping to achieve dreamy perfection, you'll want to make sure you ask your butcher for a cut that includes both the lean "flat" and the fatty "point" cut. You should also plan to cook it long, slow and steady over a charcoal grill kept to a low heat (as low as 225 to 250 degrees F, but there's no need for precision) with some charcoal and a few wood chips (just a handful). If you prefer, and you have one, you may use a backyard smoker. The key ingredient, as Moskin points out, is patience.
And here are a few helpful tips about getting a hearty, smoky flavor in your own backyard. Remember: Tips and tools will come in handy, but, more than anything, you'll want to approach your brisket recipe armed with time and patience.