Homemade Barbecue: How to Do "Low and Slow" at Home

Barbecuing is a slow-cooking technique that's been used since the West was won in the late 1800s. Because cowboys were men of little means, they had to settle for inexpensive cuts of meat. The tough meat, often brisket, was made tender through many hours of cooking. Slow-cooked brisket remains a favorite throughout the United States today. Texas, in particular, is known for its barbecue, but you can prepare an amazing brisket no matter where you live. Follow these tips, and you'll be the superstar of this year's block party. 

1. Choose the Best Cuts of Meat: If you're feeding a large crowd, your first instinct may be to buy the largest brisket available. That would be a mistake. Instead, select a point cut or a flat cut. Use point cuts for shredded brisket or a flat cut for sliced brisket. Choose a "choice" over "select" grades of beef. Choice grades contain more fat marbling, resulting in a more tender meat. A 6-pound brisket will serve 8 people.

2. Season with a Recommended Rub or Marinade: There are thousands of rubs and marinades from which to choose. Experimenting can be fun. Ask for recommendations at a grilling store. Often grilling stores sell ideal cuts of meat in addition to a variety of rubs, marinades and sauces. They also frequently offer samples of barbecue, which is another way to choose a rub, marinade or sauce. Whether you marinade or rub, it will require 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Follow package directions, and don't be tempted to skip this important step.


3. Fire Up the Grill: There is a heated debate as to whether charcoal or propane grills do a better job when it comes to slow cooking. Charcoal lovers say there is no substitute for the smoke created by a charcoal grill. However, gas grill owners have won many awards by using flavored wood chips in conjunction with propane. Some prefer to move the slow cooking indoors; however, you will want to sear the brisket outdoors regardless of your technique.

4. Sear, then Cook Slowly: Brush on cooking oil, then sear the brisket on the outdoor grill for 8 to 10 minutes on both sides. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. If you're going to continue cooking the brisket outdoors, turn down the grill to about 200 degrees. Alternately, put the brisket in the oven at 200 degrees, wrapped in aluminum foil. The brisket will require approximately 8 hours of cooking time.

5. Sauce or Slice: If you prefer barbecue sauce, brush it on and cook another 15 minutes. If you put it on too early, the sugars in the sauce will burn. Personally, I recommend that you simply slice it up and serve. Be prepared to amaze your hungry guests, who can add the sauce they most prefer.

This was a guest post provided by Andrew, a Community Coordinator at ApplianceHelp.com, where he writes, thinks, and breathes the DIY lifestyle.

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