Recipe courtesy of Zerelda's Bistro

Wood Smoked Brisket Pho

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 23 hr 5 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 1 hr 55 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
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Hickory Wood Smoked Brisket Pho:

2 pounds beef rib bones

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling

12 chicken legs 

1/4 cup garlic cloves 

2 tablespoons non-MSG chicken base paste

2 tablespoons non-MSG beef base paste 

6 green onions, chopped up in large chunks 

4 carrots, chopped up in large chunks 

2 white onions, chopped up in large chunks 

1 medium knob ginger, cut into chunks 

6 whole star anise 

6 whole cloves 

1 whole fructus amomi seed 

1/2 cinnamon stick 

2 teaspoons whole peppercorns 

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds 

1 teaspoon fennel seeds 

5 cardamom pods 

1 cup brisket drippings from Hickory Wood Smoked Beef Brisket (including gelatin and fat), recipe follows 

1/3 cup fish sauce 

Pho Assembly:

14 ounces dried pho rice noodles, soaked in hot water until pliable and then drained

Hickory Wood Smoked Beef Brisket, recipe follows, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger 

1/4 cup sesame oil 

1 medium white onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced 

1 cup sliced green onions 

12 large sprigs Thai basil 

36 slices red radish 

36 slices fresh jalapenos 

4 cups bean sprouts 

4 cups fresh cilantro (leave whole with partial stem) 

12 tablespoons chile sambal

12 tablespoons hoisin sauce

12 wedges lime 

Hickory Wood Smoked Brisket:

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup coarse black pepper 

1/4 cup chili powder 

1/4 cup granulated garlic 

One 9- to 10-pound brisket 

1 cup apple cider vinegar, in a small spray bottle 


Special equipment:
a smoker; a small spray bottle; 12 pounds charcoal; 2 pounds hickory wood chunks; butcher paper
  1. For the hickory wood smoked brisket pho: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle beef bones with salt and pepper, then spread on a small sheet pan and roast for 2 hours.
  3. Put beef bones in a large stockpot, then add chicken legs, garlic, chicken and beef base, green onions, carrots, white onions, ginger, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon pepper.
  4. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Swirl the star anise, cloves, fructis amomi seed, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, coriander, fennel seeds and cardamom around in the skillet until lightly toasty and fragrant. Add to the stockpot. Cover with 2 gallons water. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Strain through a fine colander into another pot. Add the brisket drippings and fish sauce. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Your broth is now ready.
  5. For the pho assembly: Bring pho broth to a rolling boil. Place a handful of rice noodles in each of 10 to 12 soup bowls. Lay a few slices of smoked brisket over the rice noodles. Ladle 2 to 3 cups boiling broth over each portion of brisket and noodles. Put some freshly grated ginger, toasted sesame oil and a small handful of very thinly sliced white onion over each portion. Sprinkle fresh green onions on top.
  6. Serve with each portion with its own aromatic plate of the following: Thai basil, 3 slices red radish, 3 slices jalapeno, 1/4 cup bean sprouts, 1/4 cup cilantro, a ramekin with 1 tablespoon chile sambal, a ramekin with 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce and a lime wedge.

Hickory Wood Smoked Brisket:

Yield: 16 servings
  1. Light some charcoal in a smoker until coals are red.
  2. Blend together the kosher salt, coarse black pepper, chili powder and granulated garlic in a small bowl with a whisk. Trim brisket fat to a 1/4 inch with a sharp boning knife. Sprinkle seasoning blend all over the brisket.
  3. Add a few hickory chunks and more charcoal to the smoker. Bring temperature up to 265 degrees F. Use a wave affect by adding unlit coals to the other side of the burning charcoal continuously throughout the process. This will keep a steady temperature through the cooking process. Add 10 chunks charcoal and 2 chunks wood every 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Place the brisket in the smoker and let cook, 3 hours. Spritz the brisket with apple cider vinegar, then continue to cook and spritz once an hour. Wrap the brisket tightly with butcher paper when it reaches 160 to 170 degrees F, at the eighth or ninth hour. Bring the smoker temperature down to 225 degrees F. Continue to cook until the brisket reaches 206 degrees F, 1 to 6 hours more. Let brisket rest for 1 hour at least. Your brisket is now ready for slicing!
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