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'Texas Crutch' Brisket Recipe

Robb Walsh’s new book, Barbecue Crossroads: Notes and Recipes from a Southern Odyssey, is full of tasty barbecue recipes. Here’s a brisket recipe, as well as supplementary recipes for mop sauce and barbecue sauce.

Related: The Art, Spiritual Pursuit and Culture of BBQ

“Texas Crutch” Brisket

The easy way to smoke a brisket is to barbecue it for five or six hours until the internal temperature hits 170 degrees Fahrenheit or so and then wrap it in foil, put it in a roasting pan, and either return it to the smoker or put it in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven until the internal temperature reaches 195 to 200 degrees. The foil-wrapped meat cooks fast at the higher temperatures, but the texture is looser and wetter.

  • Packer’s cut (untrimmed) USDA Select beef brisket, 8-10 pounds.
  • 1 cup Navasota Brisket Rub
  • 6 cups Baby J’s Monkey Juice (see below)
  • Texas Barbecue Sauce (see below)

Rinse the brisket and pat dry. Sprinkle on both sides with the dry rub. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Set up your smoker for indirect heat. Use wood chips, chunks, or logs, and keep up a good level of smoke. Maintain a temperature between 250 degrees and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the brisket in the smoker as far from the heat source as possible. Mop every two hours, rotating the brisket to cook it evenly, keeping the fat side up at all times. Add charcoal or wood every two hours or so to keep the coals burning evenly.

After six to eight hours, when the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit, place the brisket in a roasting pan with what’s left of the mop sauce and seal with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Continue cooking over low coals for three more hours or until a thermometer reads 200 degrees at the thick end. If it gets dark, or the fire goes out, or you run out of fuel, you can finish cooking the brisket by putting the roasting pan in a 250-degree oven.

Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce and condiments such as pickles and raw onion slices and sandwich bread. Serves 10-12.

Baby J’s Monkey Juice

  • 1 gallon beef stock
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup dry mustard
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 1 cup hot-pepper sauce or pepper vinegar
  • 2 cups Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups peanut oil

Combine all ingredients and let stand overnight before using to baste brisket. Makes about two gallons.

Texas Barbecue Sauce

  • 4 dried chiles, stemmed and seeded (anchos, pasillas, New Mexican red, other dried chile, or a blend), stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (six ounces) tomato paste
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice    
  • 1½ tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Soak the chiles in hot water for 30 minutes or until soft. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for three minutes, or until they begin to wilt. Add the tomato paste and anchos and sauté for four minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool. Place in a blender or food processor and purée. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to three weeks. Reheat before serving. Makes about four cups.

Big Abe Johnson’s Mop Sauce

From the Sons of Hermann lodge in Washington

  • 4 cups vinegar, plus 8 cups water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce 
  • 2 bottles of beer

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat until the butter melts (or set over hot coals on the pit). Using a cotton dish mop, use the mop sauce to baste meat as it cooks. Yields approximately 3  quarts.

Shaved Slaw

  • 1/2 cup cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup yellow prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, shaved

Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, celery seed, celery salt, and sugar. Toss with the cabbage until well mixed. Slaw wilts and loses volume, so the yield will be less than the amount of raw ingredients. Allow to mellow in the refrigerator overnight. Makes about 8 cups.

 

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From the August 2013 issue.

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