I have smoked beef brisket on my egg several times since I bought it last January, and always with pretty good results. However, if I had to improve one thing, it would be the amount of moisture, as my previous cooks came out a tad on the dry side. At the suggestion of my butcher, I tried brining today's cut. I also had some fun touching up a few other aspects of my approach. The details were as follows (NOTE: all temperatures are in Fahrenheit):
I bought a 6.5 lbs first cut of beef brisket from Ceriello's at Belvedere Square in Baltimore (*highly* recommend this butcher if you're anywhere near the DC/Baltimore area). Early yesterday morning, I created a simple brine by boiling 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar in water, which after fully disolved, I mixed with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and enough ice cold water to total the mixture at one gallon. I soaked the brisket in the brine for about 16 hours. Around 1am this morning, I patted it dry and generously applied a homemade dry rub (primarily kosher salt, brown and white sugar, mixed spices, and 3 ground up dried chipotle peppers - just ask if you want the exact recipe). I wrapped the meat in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour while I prepped the egg. I stacked a fair amount of lump hardwood charcoal in the egg, but topped it off with a layer of mixed hickory and mesquite wood chunks, which had been soaking in water for about 12 hours prior. I used a plate setter for indirect heat, and further placed a large drip pan on top of the plate setter, which probably even further blocked the area for the heat to flow. I filled the drip pan with the left over brine and covered it with the metal grill surface. Once the fire was going, I went ahead and put the brisket on, without necessarily having the heat up to the intended temperature. Rather, I simply let the brisket heat along with the egg, so that no smoke would be missed, eventually taking about a half an hour to bring the internal egg temperature to about 215 degrees. All in all, it went for about 11 hours. From its start at about 50 degrees, I monitored the progress with a digital meat thermometer, and noticed that the brisket went through two distinct periods of stall around the internal meat temperatures of 153 and 171 degrees. Once I got the brisket to 175 (having checked it at several spots), I took it out of the egg and wrapped in foil and placed it in a cooler, where I expect it will continue to heat up to around 185/190. It's been there for an hour now, and I expect to take it out in another hour or so in time for company to arrive (we're having a nice tailgate with friends in advance of today's Orioles-Nationals game). Important to note: when I took it out, it looked very, very juicy and moist, so I have a good feeling about this new method.
Also, while everything was cooking, I mixed up a new brisket sauce recipe that is pretty close to Gates BBQ Sauce of Kansas City fame. If anyone wants that recipe too, just let me know.
Picture is attached (nice bark!), and I will update later on after we've finally taste tested it to see if the moisture stayed and how the flavor measured up. In the meantime, I always welcome any thoughts or suggestions that could help me improve.