True Texas Brisket

There are a few things that are just so impressive when made from scratch, your friends will never stop talking about them. One is a DIY wedding cake. Another is the Momofuku bo ssäm And a third is Texas-style brisket.

Virgil’s Real Barbecue in NYC cooks a Texas brisket that transports New Yorkers from Times Square to the Lone Star State. In the recently released Virgil’s Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook, Neal Corman walks us through replicating the iconic dish at home.

True Texas Brisket


Photo credit: Alex Martinez

Neal says, “A brisket is a big cut of beef and just the thing for feeding a lot of hungry friends some real, honest-to- goodness quality barbecue. The cut is ringed with fat that makes it self- basting, and it’s usually prepared, as in this recipe, with a flavorful dry rub. The rub ensures the signature “bark,” a crusty layer that adds a distinctive texture and is just flat-out delicious. Follow the instructions here and use a nice fruit-wood for smoke, and you’ll give your meat the definitive smoke ring that sets great brisket apart from the merely good. Just be careful when cutting the brisket—you must cut across the grain to serve the meat at its most tender.”

Serves 12– 14 

21⁄2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1 (11–15 pound) beef brisket, excess fat trimmed to within 1⁄2 inch all around
2 cups Virgil’s Dry Rub  (see below)

Mix the salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly over the brisket. Follow with a coating of the dry rub, applied evenly all over. Enclose the brisket in a tightly covered container and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the smoker or grill to 240°F, and load with a generous amount of apple wood (or substitute other fruitwood, as desired) mixed with oak or hickory. Place the brisket to the side of the heat source and cook for 13 to 15 hours, or until tender. The brisket is properly cooked when the meat thermometer reads 185°F, and the meat provides little resistance to the probe.

Remove the brisket and allow it to rest for 45 minutes. Cut into thin slices, slicing against the grain.

Virgil’s Dry Rub

Every pitmaster has his own special rub recipe and this is ours (well one of them, anyway). It combines a real nice base of sweetness cut through with some fire to keep things interesting. The great thing about this rub is that it lets the flavor of the food come through, accenting rather than overpowering. We find that it’s an ideal rub for just about any food you might cook on a grill, and can even liven up pan-roasted dishes like pork loin.

Makes 5–5 1⁄2 cups

2 1⁄2 cups sweet paprika
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup Texas-style chili powder
1⁄2 cup minced onion
1⁄2 cup granulated garlic
1⁄4 cup dried parsley flakes
6 tablespoons kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together until completely incorporated. Transfer to a covered bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place.

From VIRGIL’S BARBECUE ROAD TRIP COOKBOOK. Copyright © 2014 by Neal Corman with Chris Peterson, reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

More about Virgil’s Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook.

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