K.I.S.S. Texas-Style Brisket
Mop sauce gets its name from the cotton mops old-time pit masters used to use to swab barbecuing meats with flavorful liquids. Mopping helps keep brisket moist during the long cook—especially important when working with a lean brisket flat. The spices in the mop sauce make it too grainy for spraying. If you don’t own a small barbecue mop, use a basting brush to dab the mop sauce on the meat. Be careful not to disturb the spicy crust. The meat should be the star here, but if you want, you can serve barbecue sauce on the side.
- For the brisket and rub:
- 1 trimmed brisket flat (6 pounds), preferably center-cut, with a cap of fat at least 1/4 inch thick
- 1-1/2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, preferably medium-grind
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- For the mop sauce:
- 2 cups beer, preferably Lone Star or other Texas beer
- 1/4 cup melted bacon grease, lard, or butter
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt, such as Lawry’s
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Make the rub: Combine the salt, pepper, and chili powder in a small bowl and stir to mix. Season the brisket generously on both sides.
Make the mop sauce: Combine all the ingredients for the mop sauce in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until the salt dissolves. Rewarm before mopping the brisket so the fat (bacon grease, lard, or butter) liquefies.
Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 225 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Put a wire cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet or other shallow pan and place the brisket, fat-side up, on the cooling rack. After the first hour, mop the brisket with the mop sauce; continue to mop every hour for the first 4 hours.
When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F, wrap the meat tightly in butcher paper. (Note: Butcher paper is more permeable, but if you don’t have access to any, use foil.) Return the meat to the grill and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. (Total cooking time will vary, but plan on 6 to 8 hours total.)
Transfer the wrapped meat to an insulated cooler thickly lined with newspapers or bath towels. Let the meat rest for 1 hour, and up to 2. Reserve any juices that have accumulated in the baking sheet. Unwrap the brisket. Thinly slice across the grain using an electric knife or sharp carving knife. Shingle the slices of brisket on a platter and pour the pan juices on top.