How to speed up a slow-cooking barbecued beef brisket


1 (5- to 6-pound) beef brisket, flat cut, untrimmed

2/3 cup salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 wood chunks, preferably hickory, or 2 cups wood chips (if using gas)

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons pepper

1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal) or 1 (9-inch) disposable aluminum pie plate (if using gas)

Lightly score brisket fat cap in 1-inch crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut into meat. Dissolve salt and 1/2 cup sugar in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge brisket in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

While brisket brines, soak wood chunks in water for at least 1 hour; drain. If using gas, soak wood chips in water for 15 minutes, then drain. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap chips in 8 by 4 1/2-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in sides or bottom of packet.) Cut 2 evenly spaced 2-inch slits in top of packet.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, kosher salt, and pepper in bowl. Remove brisket from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and rub salt mixture over entire brisket and into slits.

— For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent halfway and place disposable roasting pan on 1 side of grill. Add 2 cups water to pan. Arrange 3 quarts unlit charcoal briquettes banked against other side of grill. Light large chimney starter two-thirds filled with charcoal (4 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour on top of unlit charcoal to cover one-third of grill with coals steeply banked against side of grill. Place soaked wood chunks on top of coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

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