Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill.
Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Do not trim any excess fat off the meat; this fat will naturally baste the meat and keep it moist during the long cooking time.
Using your hands or a shaker-top jar, sprinkle the brisket liberally with the rub. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and pat the spices into the meat but do not rub-this mixture will form a dark savory crust on the meat, often referred to as the sought after "burnt-ends." Set aside on a clean tray until ready to cook.
If using a charcoal grill, place a drip pan between the 2 piles of white-gray ashed briquettes (on the charcoal grate). Pour the beer into the drip pan. Before placing the meat on the grill, place the soaked wood chips directly on the coals. You will need to add charcoal every hour to maintain the heat. If using a gas grill, place a drip pan with the beer in the upper left corner of the gas grill directly on top of the flavorizer bars or ceramic rock. Place the soaked wood chips in a smoker box.
Place the brisket in the center of the cooking grate, fat side up, over indirect medium-low heat. Cover and cook slowly for 4 to 5 hours at 325 degrees to 350 degrees or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the brisket registers 190 to 200 degrees. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. It will feel like the consistency of butter when you insert it with the probe of the thermometer. Remember: Do not turn the meat during the entire cooking time.
Let the meat rest for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. The recipe can be made in advance up to this point and, once it is cool, wrapped in 3 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. To reheat the brisket, leave in foil and heat for about 1 hour at 250 degrees. For a crispier crust, remove the foil at the end and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with the Texas Vinegar-Chile Hot Sauce if desired.
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. The rub will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.Good for Seasoning: Beef (brisket, beef shoulder); pork; chicken
Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium nonreactive bowl. Pour the sauce into a glass bottle with a top. It will keep indefinitely, covered in or out of the refrigerator.
Excerpted with permission from Taming the Flame by Elizabeth Karmel (Wiley, 2005)
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