I do have a water smoker, but do not have the time or money to “experiment” with expensive brisket.
When X was a single man, I smoked many a brisket in the water smoker, and it was a little work. Had I the money, I would get one of those ‘wood box’ cookers, and go into business.
This is one like I have. What the heck; someone gave it to me. I have used a similar one with much success. The problems are these: the charcoal pan is at the bottom of the unit and must be completely filled twice to cook a whole brisket. One must removed both grills, the water pan, and then the charcoal pan to to this. The door in the side is just helpful to add water. It’s hard to fill the charcoal pan through the door. They sell this same type with an electric element to provide the heat. They work well, but have their own idiosyncrasies.
Remember when you could buy a cryovac for around eighteen bucks? Those days are gone.
The family likes BBQ beef and I have found another way to cook brisket with a very comparable taste and texture to smoked brisket.
First, you must make the sauce.
You can use market trimmed brisket, or a cryovac, which you must trim yourself. I am a huge fan of Reynolds brown n bags. Get some for this; the ‘up to 8 lbs’ should suffice, if you cut the brisket in two; otherwise use the turkey sized bags.
If you use a rub, now is the time to apply it and decide how long you want to marinade it…if at all.
Everyone has their own rub…this is kinda of what mine is:
3 T paprika
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T chili powder
2 T black pepper
2 T seasoned salt
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T garlic powder
I usually smear a little olive oil on the meat before putting on rub. Marinading is better, but not required.
Next you must sear your brisket. A cast iron skillet is preferable, but nobody’s perfect. Heat your skillet on medium heat until it is, well, very hot. Give it 5 minutes to heat up. Sear your brisket on all sides…say a couple minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 250°.
I use a cake pan for the meat. Put your brisket in your brown n bag with a good portion of BBQ sauce on top of your meat. About 1/4 C water won’t hurt either.
Seal bag with enclosed zip tie, but not too tight. You want steam to escape.
4-5 hours is usually enough, depending on how much your final chunk of meat weighs.
You can, if you wish, put chunks of onion on your meat before you put it in the oven.
Your meat should fall apart when you remove it.
X’s other method of cooking brisket is as follows:
A cryovac brisket is a must for this one as is a large (6 qt) crock pot. Also a couple of onions and 2 bunches of cilantro, chopped.
Cut your brisket into chunks as big as your fist, and put them in the crock pot. Quarter your onions, and put them on top of the meat. Lastly, sprinkle your cilantro on top of the rest. Season as desired. You may also put a cup of BBQ sauce over the top of all.
Cover and turn on high. Cook for seven to eight hours.
When done, remove chunks and shred with a pair of forks.
An alternative method, but not so quick.
I bought a 9.7 lbs market trimmed whole brisket. I coated it with the olive oil, then the rub.
I did not sear it on the stove. Instead, I put it in a brown n bag with about 1/2 C BBQ sauce, then tied the bag shut.
In a large roaster, I put the brisket. Mine sat in fridge over night.
Preheat oven to 350°. Put brisket in for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 250°.
Don’t forget your tablespoon of flour in your bag
Add meat, and close but not too tightly.
It was delicious