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2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for tentatively March 18-21, 2022. Click here for more info: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/announcements/misc/1014106-meat-up-in-memphis-2021-canceled
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Bourbon-Q Brisket

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  • The Bourbon-Q Pit
    Former Member
    • Jul 2018
    • 3
    • Eugene, Oregon

    Bourbon-Q Brisket

    I’ve always enjoyed playing at smoking and curing meats. Just for fun and the smiles of friends, mind you. I have ham and sausage recipes that were my grandfather’s that are to die for. Ribs, tri-tip and brisket were just fun challenges for me until I met my wife. This woman is a brisket fiend and has high standards in her brisket, and mine never quite measured up. “It’s good,” she’d say, “But it’s not as good as so and so’s”. Crushing words. Of course, I was just playing. Mostly used rubs off the shelf. Always preferred a good dry rub to those drown-the-taste sauce places, and I found a couple I liked.

    So life happens and a career change not of my choice happens before me, and I decide maybe I should pursue a BBQ truck. Now if I’m going to do this right, I need my own recipes. I also need to be better than so and so. Matter of pride.
    After some research I decide to forgo my charcoal kettle and go for pellets for consistency. I picked up a handsome Pit Boss Copperhead. Nice smoker. Rather than recreating the wheel, I figgered I’d find some rub recipes I liked and make some modifications. Since finding Amazing Ribs, I have been, dare I say it, lustily going through the pages. I liked the Big Bad Beef Rub, so I adopted it, made a few changes, did a 14 hour brisket today in my Pit Boss and when I was done my wife said, “Wow, this is good. It’s not necessarily better than so and so’s, it’s different. Very good. I guess now it would depend on my mood as to where I went.”

    Guess I can settle for a draw.

    Anyway, my truck, when it happens, if it happens, will be the Bourbon-Q Pit. All recipes will have bourbon in them. Here is my brisket entry.


    One 12 to 18 lb brisket, cap fat trimmed to a quarter inch
    Dry brine for 24 hours
    After dry brine period, inject generously with a good beef broth
    Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees
    Mix together then place in a shaker:
    • 6 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoon powdered molasses
    • 2 tablespoon onion powder
    • 4 teaspoons mustard powder
    • 4 teaspoons ginger
    • 4 teaspoons garlic granules
    • 4 teaspoons cumin
    • 2 teaspoon chipotle powder
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    • 2 teaspoons celery seed

    Generously coat the brisket on all sides.
    Put on the smoker rack, fat side up and wait for the magic to begin.

    Uh, wait a minute, you say. Where’s the bourbon?

    Just hold on, we’re not done. These steps were all much too important and needed completed prior to uncorking a bottle.

    Now you can uncork the bourbon, it’s about to play a very important role. Test the bourbon. I find 4 fingers in a bucket glass to be sufficient for this. If you’re satisfied it measures up to your standards then…

    At about 155 degrees, it’s time for the Texas crutch. Make yourself a flat-bottomed boat out of 2 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour in a half cup of apple cider and a half cup of your bourbon then seal the whole shebang and put it back in your smoker. Pour another 4 fingers of bourbon to taste test again, just to make sure you added the right stuff. Leave your smoker alone until your brisket hits 203 degrees.

    Pull the rack, unwrap your brisket and let stand on a WOODEN cutting board (keep that plastic crap out of my house) for 30 minutes, then carve, being careful you do not drool on the meat.
    Attached Files
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 13550
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      Pizza insert
      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      lots of probes.

    Your recipe sounds good, but may I offer a few suggestions?

    You could use a disposable aluminum pan to make it easier to form the boat. And you could leave it in the pan if you wanted.

    Most here cook to probe tender - not to a specific temp. Every hunk o' meat is different, and will be done at different temps. By cooking to probe tender, it should be right every time.

    An hour, (minimum), or two, or four hold at ~ 170* will improve your brisket. And that will help with your timing while serving. Brisket held in a 150* - 170* oven will be great for hours. That will allow you to serve for a longer period of time without losing quality.


    • ecowper
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 3660
      • Maple Valley, WA
      • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
        Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

        Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
        Thermometer = Maverick ET732
        Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
        Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
        Thermapen Classic = Grey
        PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

        Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
        Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
        Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
        Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

        Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"

        Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

      Echoing RonB .... the hold will make a huge difference. You might even beat old so and so ..... wrap the brisket tightly in foil, then wrap loosely in old towels and then put it in a beer cooler or the oven .... if you use the oven, no need for the towels and set the oven temp to 170 .... get at least an hour hold, can go as long as 4 hours. It makes a big difference.

      PS I personally prefer Aaron Franklin's "secret" rub ..... equal parts kosher salt, coarse ground pepper, granulated garlic and I don't wrap/crutch unless I have to because the cook is taking too longer. Here's a cook off with naked vs. paper vs. foil that has the same experience I have.


      Hopefully some of this can be helpful to you in your quest to beat old so and so :-)

      Last edited by ecowper; August 27, 2018, 05:04 PM.


      • JGo37
        Club Member
        • Apr 2018
        • 1581
        • the LOU
        • Cookers:

          22" Blackstone Griddle, with stand & hood
          CharGriller Portable Firebox - so modified you'll BLOL
          Kitchenaid #810 Charcoal Grill - highly modified
          Weber BI-code Black Performer w/Igniter
          Weber DE-code Red Limited - 'Lucille'


          Ancient heavy CI Propane Turkey Fryer, for lighting chimneys
          BBQ Dragon kettle shelves - 2
          Fyre Dragon Kettle Drippin' Ring, Burnin' Cone & Drippin' Pan - 2 sets
          Fyre Dragon Kettle Ribbin' Ring
          Fyre Dragon Kettle 2-Zone Smokin' Sheet
          OneGrill Rotisserie for the Kitchenaid
          Smoking Tubes: 2x12" & 1x6"
          Weber Gourmet Grill w/Griddle, Pizza Stone & Wok

          My Helpers:

          Anova 900W Sous Vide Cooker w/Radios
          Instant Pot 6Q Duo
          Nesco Tabletop Roaster
          & the PIT!

        I've been doing faux Cambro in my Nesco roaster set on warm instead of a cooler or oven. I do add a towel, and make sure it insulates heat loss from the thin lid. I like this consistency, because I can run the roaster from the invertor in my truck too. The juice content has been explosive.

        Click image for larger version

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        I have saved a couple of the thick Styrofoam boxes that shipped meat to me, with dry ice. I find those to be more efficient than beer coolers - unless you have a Yeti.


        • Mosca
          Mosca commented
          Editing a comment
          Now that is a great idea!



      2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

      We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for tentatively March 18-21, 2022. Click here for more info: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/announcements/misc/1014106-meat-up-in-memphis-2021-canceled
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