With Coffee and Beer Mop Sauce

Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)
Method: Indirect
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
Advanced Preparation: 4 to 24 hours for marinating the brisket

1/4 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons pure chile powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 center-cut piece beef brisket (5 to 6 pounds)
1 cup beer
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup coffee
1/3 cup beef or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce or another hot sauce
2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon (optional)
Jim’s Really Easy and Really Good Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

You’ll also need:
4 to 6 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory or maple), soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained

1. MAKE THE RUB: Place the salt, brown sugar, paprika, chile powder, pepper, onion and garlic powders, and oregano in a small bowl and stir to mix.

2. in the unlikely event your brisket comes covered with a thick layer of fat, trim it to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and generously sprinkle both sides with the rub, using about 3 tablespoons per side and patting it onto the meat with your fingertips. (You’ll have about 3/4 cup more rub than you need for the brisket. The leftover rub will keep for several months in a jar.) You can cook the brisket right away, but it will be better if you let it cure with the rub in the refrigerator, covered, for several hours, or even a day ahead.

3. MAKE THE MOP SAUCE: Place the beer, cider, vinegar, coffee, stock, oil, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper in a nonreactive bowl and whisk to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt as necessary.

4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-low. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-low. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center, preheat the grill to medium-low, then toss 1 cup of the wood chips or chunks on the coals.

5. When ready to cook, place the brisket in the center of the hot grate, fat side up, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Drape the bacon slices, if using, over the top of the meat, then cover the grill. Cook the brisket until very tender, 5 to 6 hours (the cooking time will depend on the size of the brisket and the heat of the grill). To test for doneness, use an instant-read meat thermometer: The internal temperature should be about 190 degrees F. Generously mop or baste the meat on both sides with the mop sauce once an hour for the first 5 hours. If the brisket starts to brown too much, generously baste it with mop sauce, wrap it in aluminum foil, and continue cooking until done. If using a charcoal grill, every hour you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals and 1/2 cup of wood chips or chunks to each side.

6. Transfer the grilled brisket to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain, using an electric knife or sharp carving knife. Transfer the sliced meat to a platter. Spoon the barbecue sauce over the meat, or better yet, serve it on the side.

Jim’s Really Easy and Really Good Barbecue Sauce

Yield: About 3-1/2 cups

2 cups of your favorite commercial barbecue sauce, such as KC Masterpiece or Bull’s-Eye
1 to 2 cups commercial salsa, mild or hot–your choice
1/4 cup cider vinegar, or more to taste
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the barbecue sauce, salsa, and vinegar in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and let cook until thick and flavorful, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce can be served hot or at room temperature and may be refrigerated, covered, for up to 48 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort