Brisket day is my favourite day (and incidentally, my wife's favourite meal). I get up early (around 6 a.m.). Start the fire, rub the beef, and then tend the fire all day. I know I won't be going in to work, or leaving the house, so I have time to read, relax and have a nice relaxing drink. I love brisket day.
I prefer to do as large a brisket as I can, because the time it takes to properly get the collagen in brisket to break down will dry out a smaller brisket. I aim for a 12-14 lb brisket.
This is my go-to brisket recipe, discovered on bbq.about.com. I've been doing it this way for a few years.
Rub the meat with:
5 tablespoons paprika
2 ½ tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
4 teaspoons black pepper
4 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon hot chili powder
Heat the smoker to 220°F. Toss the brisket in the smoker, fat side up. Meanwhile, wet some chunks of mesquite wood.
The real skill with brisket is holding the temperature of the fire. Keep the smoker at 200-220°F through a combination of charcoal and wet mesquite fragments. Aim for 11 hours for a 12 lb brisket. Turn once during the cook to turn it so the other side is facing the fire. It's done when you can no longer pick up the brisket using a bbq fork (i.e. the meat starts to pull apart). Brisket is the easiest and hardest thing to cook. You don't have to do much, except control the heat. But don't undercook it, or it won't fall apart properly. And don't overcook it, cause you'll have a brisket biscuit.
Let rest for 20 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with a nice, homemade barbecue sauce (on the side), a nice homemade bread, and some vegetables. Delicious.