1. I started off with a visit to my local butcher and picked up a 16 lb. untrimmed brisket. I used to cook the brisket flats from Sam's Club, but after switching to "whole" briskets a few years ago, my results improved tremendously and so did my bbq contest results. A large, untrimmed brisket will cost $30-$35 depending on the weight and depending on whether it's a Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brisket. If it's available, I prefer CAB.
2. Last night I trimmed off some of the excess fat cap on the brisket, pierced the brisket with my Jaccard and rubbed it liberally with my Southern BBQ Rub. If you don't have a Jaccard, you can use a fork and pierce holes in the meat, which will allow the bbq rub to better penetrate the meat.
3. I placed the brisket in a double thickness plastic garbage bag and refrigerated it overnight. This allows time for the seasoning to penetrate the meat and also makes getting it on the cooker faster when it comes time to start the cooking process.
4. This morning I pre-heated the Weber Smokey Mountain to 250 degrees, added water to the water pan, removed the brisket from the refrigerator, and placed it directly on in the WSM. The health department recommends that meat spend less than 4 hours in the danger zone (i.e. internal meat temperature higher than 40 degrees and lower than 140 degrees.)
(I do not subscribe to the theory that allowing the meat to rise to room temperature will somehow improve the cooking results. I think it allows the potential for meat spoilage, although I’ve seen World Champion Barbecue Teams do it at competitions.)
5. Maintain cooker temp as low as possible near 190 degrees for as long as possible. I've found that the slower I can cook the brisket, the more consistent my results are.
6. I foil the brisket after about 5 hours, or once the bark begins to form.
7. I spritz with apple juice a few times during the cooking process as well. This seems to help with bark formation.
8. I continue cooking until the brisket temperature reaches 198 degrees.
9. I let the brisket set in an Igloo cooler for 3 - 4 hours before slicing it up.
10. After slicing, I sauce with my favorite bbq sauce. A brush works well for saucing each individual slice of brisket for even coverage.