My 7 Secrets to “Uncommon” Smoking

my-7-secretstouncommon-smokingI had you with the title, didn’t I?

More and more I’m convinced what we often consider as “common” in our own lives, is really quite “uncommon” to someone else.  But the only way our “common sense knowledge” becomes “uncommon wisdom” is if we share it.  So today I’m sharing some with you.

After the end of my football career, during which Earl Campbell was my “back up” (that’s a tease for next week’s blog, by the way) and before venturing into the world of special events, I “smoked” many a brisket as an owner/operator of a barbeque restaurant chain in the greater Houston area.  During this time I discovered seven little secrets, which when applied to almost any method of smoking a brisket can possibly create an uncommonly delicious experience for you and your family. Enjoy!

 Secret 1- Start with a good quality product

Start with a quality product generally in the 10-12 pound range.  1Generally speaking, Sam’s has good briskets. The size maybe a bit larger, which is ok; just realize it takes a little longer to cook.





 Secret 2-Season with a good dry rub2

Heavily season the brisket all over with a good dry cooking rub the night before.  I use JW ‘Just Right’ Rub, my own recipe.  With a little experimentation it’s really quite easy to create your own inexpensive rub.  Who knows? I might even share a bag with you over coffee someday.


Note: Before you season with a dry rub notice the shape of the brisket.  The brisket is made up of two parts; the fatter cap section which is 3-4” thick that sits on top of the leaner flat section which is 1-2” thick.  Realize the grain of these two sections runs in different directions, which is important to understand when we get to Secret 7.

Secret 3-You don’t need a big expensive smoking pit3

When cooking only one brisket I prefer the Weber charcoal grill.  Here are the basics:

  • Create indirect heat and smoke with the charcoal off to the side of the meat.
  • Place your favorite wood chunks on top of the charcoal to provide a good smoke ring and the wood flavor of your choice.
  • Keep the external temperature around 250 degrees. The key is to keep the temperature as consistent as possible.


Secret 4-Use the fork test to know when your brisket is done.4

When the brisket reaches 195 degrees do the fork test:  Take a fork, stick into the fat section between the top and bottom pieces of the brisket, and twist.  If the brisket is done, the fork will twist freely.  If the fork doesn’t twist freely keep cooking until it does.  Generally, you’ll cook 1 to 1 1/4 hours per pound of meat.


When done, remove the brisket, wrap in foil (brisket will continue to cook some), and allow to sit at least an hour before serving, or longer, if you have the time.  A lot of times I shut the cooker down and let the brisket rest in the smoker.


 Secret 5-You’ve got to have a sharp knife and a real fork.img_20160909_152123821

Make sure you have a sharp knife and a commercial fork to trim and carve the brisket.  A dull knife can make the most tender of briskets appear tough.  Not only with a commercial fork help in the trimming, but it makes you look like the real deal.



Secret 6-The Big Big Secret: Carve all parts of the brisket across the meat grain.

As I mentioned above the brisket is really two separate pieces held together with a layer of fat running between the two.  The key to serving the most tender brisket cuts is to carve the two pieces of meat as two separate cuts of meat.  This will allow you to cut directly across the grain of the meat at 90 degrees.  Cutting the meat the wrong direction can make the most tender of briskets appear tough.



At the tip where the two pieces of meat come together, run your knife parallel between the top and bottom to separate.





Once separated, remove excess fat until the meat is visible. Leave a little fat for flavor and th9e burnt edges of the back thick piece of meat for rich flavor.







Using the fork as a guide for the knife, cut at a slight angle directly across the meat grain (90 degrees).







Depending 12on tenderness and location of the cut, alter the thickness so that the meat pulls apart easily.






 Secret 7-Smoking at home is just like Running Your Life like a Business, Wealth Builder Step #4. 

When you go out to eat it costs you about 70% more than when you eat at home.  Most restaurants operate on an average food cost of around 30%.  For example: if your bill at a restaurant is $50 that means the food cost is around $15, or 30%. The restaurant makes a gross profit of $35.  If you had prepared your meal at home instead of going out to eat, you would make a profit of $35.  In my book, that’s how you run a profitable business.


The purpose of this week’s blog is twofold;

  1. To share some common sense secrets to help you have an uncommon smoking experience,
  2. And probably more importantly, is to get you thinking about how you can add some uncommon value to those around you by just sharing a little of your “common sense”. I’ll bet you a bag of JW Just Right Rub you’re thinking of some way right now how you could add “uncommon value” to someone’s life, just by sharing your “common sense” knowledge.  Don’t miss the opportunity.