I was expecting some brisket rub results from Wally's Dad. He had me anticipating (like you are) how everything turned out. So, here is what he wrote.
Thanks for your kind comments and your helpful suggestions.
It's now Sunday morning here (in CA) and I've prepared the smoker with Mesquite wood. I'm getting ready to drive the neighbors crazy with that awesome smell of smoke in the cool, morning air. My plan is to let the brisket sit on the kitchen counter for about an hour to bring it up to room temp (I do that with stuff I grill too).
I have to admit that I got kinda-busy yesterday afternoon and evening so I didn't get back to my computer (and email) until this morning. Yet I still needed to decide what to do with the brisket rub - rub it early or right before the smoke.
Thus, I Googled it and I saw an interesting compromise - or at least I viewed it as a compromise. One guy said he puts a thin coat of mustard on, and then puts the brisket rub on top of that. He said the mustard imparts a little bit of flavor, but the main reason he was using it was to make the rub "stick" to the brisket.
I thought about it and I figured a thin coat of mustard would probably do both things (give some flavor and help the rub stick) and it would also do what I wanted: prevent the salt from drying out the meat.
Therefore, I decided to try the mustard-then-rub trick. I'm assuming that at 220 degrees, that mustard will eventually dissolve into the meat much like the fat does, and as it does so, it should bring the rub with it.
I don't know about you, but Wally's dad doesn't sound like a newby to me. He sure seems to know a lot more about using a brisket rub than I did when I started. Oh,... excuse me.
I really don't know - as I said earlier, I'm completely new to this smoked beef brisket thing. Anyway, I am keeping notes of what I did and what I should "try" to do next time, so I'm very grateful for your idea of putting the brisket rub on right before the smoke (assuming I marinated it first).
Your method makes sense, since the brisket rub will be sitting on the surface of the meat for a long time during the cooking process, so putting it on right before the smoke would help prevent the salt from sucking the moisture out of it.
One time a few years back, I put a rub on a roast and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, it smelled awesome. But when I cooked it (that was a roast, so I did it on thegrill) the thing was very dry.
I suspected the salt had sucked the moisture, but I then got another roast and tried cooking it the same way, except this time I only put the rub on about an hour before grilling it.
This time, the roast was perfect. I'm not a scientist, but that was proof enough for me that the salt can suck moisture from the meat.
I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for your kind comments and your great suggestions. It's such an honor and privilege to learn from guys like you who are experts at this stuff. I have to be honest about one other thing I did that might have screwed up my brisket (although I didn't think of it until it was too late).
I read one guy's ideas where he said he cut slits into the brisket and stuck garlic slivers in there, so I thought that sounded tasty and figured I'd try it. But then I realized I had cut into the meat itself and that will probably let juices escape.
There's nothing I can do about it now since I've already done it, but in the future, I think I would prefer to keep the integrity of the meat intact. I'm afraid that this might let juices escape and let the meat dry out somewhat.
To counter that, I made sure there was some mustard/brisket rub over the slits I cut into the meat, and there is also that fat cap which should let some fat juices drip down during the cooking (at least I'm HOPING that's what will happen).
In addition, I will prepare a mop (I wasn't planning on doing this originally, but now that I have to keep the meat moist, I think this will help) of apple juice and a little olive oil, and I'll spray that on the meat every hour or so.
This brisket rub "adventure" won't be done until tonight, but I'll let you know how it goes, OK?
Oh No! Put on hold again. Never fear, though. Wally's dad will continue this brisket rub saga... I just know he will.
Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and be that blind mouse that finds the cheese? Most likely, my brisket will turn out dry and unimpressive, but I figure I'll definitely learn something from the process.
Fortunately, I'm only using my family as the "testers" - I read where some guys were smoking a brisket for their first time and they were serving a dinner party of 16 guests that night! That takes some serious confidence.
I would've gone with something tried and true, or at least I would have "practiced" with one or two briskets before trying it on a whole dinner party. Wow.
Anyway, sorry to be rambling on like this.... Just wanted to sincerely thank you again for your wonderful help and I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out, either way (i.e. good or bad). That way, you too will know what NOT to do.... :) Seriously, hope you have a great day and a wonderful weekend, Jeff!