How to make it

  • Using sharp knife, cut slits in fat cap, spaced 1 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern, being careful to not cut into meat. Dissolve table salt and 1/2 cup sugar in 4 quarts cold water in stockpot or large bucket. Submerge brisket in brine and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • While brisket brines, soak wood chunks in water for at least 1 hour; drain. Remove brisket from brine and pat dry with paper towels; transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Combine kosher salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Rub salt mixture over entire brisket and into slits.
  • About 20 minutes before grilling, open top and bottom grill vents halfway and arrange 3 quarts unlit charcoal (about 50 briquettes) banked against one side of grill. Place disposable pan filled with 2 cups of water on empty side of grill. Light large chimney starter filled two-thirds with charcoal (4 quarts, or about 65 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and covered with thin layer of ash, 15 to 20 minutes. Empty coals into grill, on top of unlit briquettes, to cover one-third of grill with coals steeply banked against side of grill. Place soaked wood chunks on coals. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush.
  • Place brisket fat-side down on grate over cooler side of grill, as far away from fire as possible without touching wall of grill. If brisket has pronounced thicker side, position it facing fire. Loosely tent meat with heavy-duty aluminum foil or build foil shield. Cover grill, positioning top vent over brisket to draw smoke through grill. Cook brisket without removing lid for 3 hours. (Initial temperature of grill will be about 400 degrees and will drop to about 325 degrees after 3 hours.)
  • Working quickly, add 10 unlit briquettes to fire and open bottom vents all the way. Remove and discard foil from brisket; flip meat and rotate so side that was closest to fire is now farthest away. Cover grill with top vents over brisket and cook until tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 195 degrees, 2 to 4 more hours. (Final temperature of grill will be about 250 degrees.) If after 4 hours meat does not register 195 degrees, remove brisket from grill, transfer to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and place in 325-degree oven on middle rack until meat comes up to temperature.
  • 6. Transfer brisket to cutting board and let rest 30 minutes, tented with foil. Cut meat across grain into long, thin slices; serve immediately with BBQ if desired.

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