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.
Ready for side dishes? Cookstr’s got you covered.
Vegetable Kebabs: Because nobody wants to spend their summer fishing burnt baby carrots out from in between the grill grates.
Three-Color Potato Salad: Mayonnaise-haters rejoice! Your time has come.
Barbecued Beans: Feel free to wear a bandanna and dig up some empty cans to eat these out of, cowboy.
Israeli Couscous with Shrimp and Zucchini: Bring pasta salad, they said? This is a step up from the ol’ rotini-and-Italian-dressing racket.
Grand Marnier Grilled Oranges: Like a creamsicle. But with alcohol. And fire.