When I go for barbecue, I always choose brisket. Often times, it is in combination with other smoked goodies (like ribs or sausage), but brisket is really my favorite of the barbecue meats. And I thought I had already tasted my all-time favorite brisket years ago at the Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas. But today, something unexpected and momentous happened. My husband made the ultimate brisket. That Perfect Brisket, to be precise. Behold:
To be clear, I much prefer an orange-colored vinegar-based sauce to dark sugary sauces, and even then, I use sauce sparingly. Indeed, the meat should speak for itself. And, to be fair, he did use Salt Lick barbecue sauce (albeit, warmed and mixed with the brisket drippings) (which, luckily, we are fortunate enough to be able to buy off of the shelves of Central Market here in Dallas). But this brisket was nothing short of amazing. My brother joined us for dinner, and when he took a small pinch-bite of falling-apart brisket from off of the cutting board after it was freshly sliced, he was so taken aback by the wonder of the brisket that he said "Wait, I need to think about what I just tasted for a minute."
In a nutshell, from the fingertips of one who enjoys my husband's cooking immensely but who cannot take credit for the tastiness (except for whatever help I can provide by chasing kids around while he cooks and cleaning up when he is done), here's my best description of how he accomplished this little miracle.... He rubbed the brisket down last night with a rub of cayenne, salt, and black pepper and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Early this afternoon, he took it out to let it sit and get up to room temp. Then he smoked it in the barbecue pit using apple wood chips for the smoke. That took 2 or 3 hours. Then he finished it, foil-wrapped, in the oven for another 3 hours. Then he let it rest, out of the oven, for at least 30 minutes before slicing (which made it fall-apart-moist-and-not-at-all-dry-like-much-ordinary-brisket). It was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. It had the absolute perfect blend of smoke, salt, heat, fat, and plain old meat goodness. And then he served it alongside bacon-infused kale (superfood!), fresh roasted corn on the cob (which I like to eat in sliced sheets of corn kernels (see below)), and smoky beans with cumin. Delish. I think I even sang a song about how good it was while I ate it. Yeah, I know I did. And while the pictures are tantalizing, they really don't do justice to how gooooooood this was. Here's a picture of That Perfect Brisket (with a splash of sauce) alongside the perfect veggie accoutrement: