Although the state snack of Texas is chips and salsa, and the state dish is chili con carne, we decided we needed to highlight beef in a big Texas way. The Lone Star state is the top cattle producer in the country ― a $10.5 billion industry in 2012 — according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Barbeque can mean different things depending on where you eat in this country. In the southeast, barbeque usually means pig. But in Texas, when folks babble on about barbeque, they usually are talking about beef, and by beef, we mean brisket.
The key to a good brisket is picking a good cut of meat with a bit of marbling (choose choice or prime) and cooking it low and slow over a wood or charcoal fire. Is this method time consuming? Yes. It is worth every minute? Absolutely! We smoked ours over hickory chips and the resulting meat had a beautiful bark (that dark, crusty exterior) and a wonderful, smoky flavor. Some Texans scoff at using any type of BBQ sauce but we provided one for you here, just in case you like to embellish your meat.
If you’d like some homegrown Texas refreshment to wash down that BBQ, head to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. Fun and kitschy!
- 3-4 lb. choice or prime beef brisket, trimmed
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons black pepper
For beef rub:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For BBQ sauce:
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/3 cups beer
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
For meat: The night before, mix the 4 tablespoons salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Rub on the brisket. Loosely cover with foil and let sit overnight in fridge. Mix all ingredients for the rub in another bowl, set aside.
In the morning, preheat smoker. Remove meat from fridge and cover meat with a thin coating of vegetable oil. Cover with the rub. When the smoker reaches 225 degrees, place meat in smoker. Cooking time will depend on thickness of brisket, but a general rule is about 90 minutes for each pound. When brisket reaches 190-200 degrees, remove from smoker, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a cooler lined with old towels. This will allow the brisket to stay hot until serving time.
For BBQ sauce: Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add beer, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir until combined. Add chili powder and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for one hour until thickened. Allow to cool slightly. Place BBQ sauce in a food processor or blender. Blend until onions and garlic are incorporated into the sauce (if too thick, thin with a little bit of the leftover beer).
When ready to serve brisket, reheat BBQ sauce. Slice meat perpendicular to the grain and drizzle or dollop with sauce. Serve plain or on soft buns.