Prepare – Beef comes in very different cuts and needs to be prepared differently. (brisket, short ribs, roast, steak etc) Since you can smoke/grill about anything you want, we’ll just comment on the ever popular brisket. Depending on how you buy your brisket, it generally has two layers joined by a fat layer. You may choose to separate them or leave them together. The grains run in different directions, so be wary when you slice it. Some fat can be trimmed if it is real thick. Do not trim it all away as it will help marinate the meat. Thoroughly coat the brisket with rub mix. It is best if you can wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight. As with any meat, let it come to almost room temperature before placing it in the smoker or on the grill. You can even opt to inject the brisket with marinade in small pockets. Do not over-inject in any one place, distribute it evenly throughout.
Smoking – Smoking brisket can take over 10 hours depending on the size and temperature. We prefer to keep the smoker on about 225, but not over 250. Since the smoke will never reach the center of the brisket, do not feel the need to keep adding your wood chips throughout the cooking process. You probably do not need wood chips after the first 5-6 hours. About half way into the smoking process you can mop the brisket every hour or two. A combination of apple cider vinegar and apple juice can work nicely. Check for doneness with an instant read thermometer at the thickest part of the brisket. Remember, large cuts of meat will continue to cook (approx 3-6 degrees) so do not over cook the brisket. If a smaller part of the brisket is done, you can trim it off and the cooks can sample that until the rest is done. Keep in mind you may loose some juices if you cut it hot. For that signature crispy crust, do not wrap the brisket in foil while cooking.
Grilling – Grilling will produce a tasty brisket as well. Indirect heat is the best way to cook a brisket on the grill. Place your meat on one side and the fire on the other side and close the lid. Again, depending on the temperature, the brisket may take several hours. Generally a grill is hotter than a smoker and may not take as long. Be careful not to open the lid too often as you will loose a lot of heat. A wired thermometer is a great way to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the meat without opening the lid. During the last half of the cooking process you can mist/mop the brisket to help keep it moist.