Texas bbq braised beef brisket

  • For the beef
  • 65g sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (2.25–2.75kg) piece beef brisket, preferably point cut, fat trimmed
  • 500g wood chips, preferably hickory or mesquite
  • 1L water
  • For the braising sauce
  • 1 (700g) can tomato puree
  • 350ml lager or amber beer
  • 2 ribs celery, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 190ml cider vinegar
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 65ml yellow mustard
  • 5 thick slices streaky bacon, coarsely chopped (about 175g)
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tinned chillies in adobo sauce, minced
  • 3 ancho chillies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the beef:
1) Mix the paprika, 1 tbsp each of salt and black pepper, the brown sugar and the cayenne. Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket, wrap tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

2) Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking time. Prepare a barbecue with a medium to medium-low fire for indirect cooking. Place the brisket in a large disposable aluminium pan and add the braising sauce (recipe below).

3) Throw a handful of drained wood chips on the hot barbecue coals, put the pan over the cooler side of the barbecue, and cover so the vent holes are directly over the brisket.

4) Baste the meat every 30 minutes, turning occasionally and adding water to the pan as necessary to keep meat partially submerged, until the meat is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 93C, about 3.75 hours. Replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a medium to medium-low fire.

5) Transfer the brisket to a cutting board, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Skim the fat from the braising sauce and stir in the remaining 60ml of cider vinegar and salt to taste. Reheat if necessary.

6) Thinly slice the brisket across the grain and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon some sauce over the meat and pass the rest at the table.

For the braising sauce:
1) Mix the tomato puree, beer, celery, onion, 130ml of the vinegar, the brown sugar, mustard, bacon, garlic, chillies, bay leaves, chilli powder, 1 tbsp of the salt and black pepper to taste.

Know-How: There are lots of wood chips to choose from. We like the stronger, traditional flavour that hickory or mesquite gives to this dish. Fruit woods such as apple and cherry are delicious with milder meats, such as pork, poultry or fish. Chips also come in different sizes – either chunks or bits. The chunks don't require soaking and produce a big blast of fast-burning smoke. The bits, which do require soaking, produce smoldering smoke.

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