Goodtaste Behind the Scenes: Miguel Vidal’s 4 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Brisket

Miguel Vidal, renowned chef and owner of Valentina’s, is smoking some of the best barbecue in Austin. Everyone from Bon Appetit, Travel and Leisure, Time and Texas Monthly have put Miguel’s brisket at the top of their coveted lists. Now, he’s sharing his tips with you on how to smoke the perfect brisket at home.

1. The Meat When picking out your meat, Miguel prefers natural prime Angus beef with generous marbling. The higher fat content can withstand a high heat without drying out the brisket.

2. The Shape When trimming, get rid of as many jagged edges as possible (you can render the excess fat down and make your own tallow!). The goal is a nice aerodynamic piece with a flat surface. To do this, gently glide your knife along the brisket, shaving off the fat and making sure not to cut into the actual meat.

3. The Rub Miguel uses a mix of kosher salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, granulated garlic, sugar and cayenne. It’s a quick rub to put together and can be used on anything from steak to poultry to shrimp! When seasoning the brisket, sprinkle the rub from at least a foot above the meat so you get an even coating. This will become your “bark” later!

4. The Smoker Miguel smokes his brisket for 14 to 16 hours, depending on the size of the meat. For the first 8 to 10 hours, each piece of brisket is wrapped in aluminum foil. Begin by smoking the meat at 200° F for 4 to 6 hours, then slowly increase the heat to 250° F and finish cooking the brisket until juicy and tender, about 8 to 10 hours more. The finished brisket should feel soft and jiggly when you push on it.

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