While opinions will vary, there are wrong answers here...
if you have eaten at a lot of BBQ places chances are you have had one or many of these situations:
1) A beautiful slice of brisket with a pink smoke ring and great smoke flavor that just wads up in your mouth like newspaper.
2) Extremely thin sliced brisket that is stiff as a board.
3) Tender brisket that tastes like roast beef.
4) Dry brisket planks slathered in sauce to make the brisket seem moist and tender.
I could go on but I don't want to relive all those bad memories. Heck any pitmaster worth their salt has probably done most of these things to an innocent brisket, myself included. Which has lead me to believe that a lot of people who are really in to their Q probably haven't even experienced that perfect piece of Texas brisket! I know even my perception of what makes truly good Q has changed over time.
So here is what I think makes really good Texas Brisket.
1) Smokey Crust - How exactly it tastes and what it looks like is a preference, but the outer crust must have a rich smokey flavor. If it is it will be very dark if not black! Without crust there is no smoke flavor. Because the smoke really doesn't penetrate into the meat unless you are injecting it with liquid smoke, which is just wrong.
2) Tenderness - The brisket should be soft and juicy and should pull apart easily and be moist without any sauce needed. Brisket is loaded with fat and collagen that should melt to create a delicious tender beef flavor. But hitting this elusive target is like hitting a major league baseball. Each pitch or brisket is different, some briskets are bigger, some have more fat, some have more marbling, some get cut incorrectly, some just don't play nice. So each pitmaster or batter has his own superstitions and routines to make sure the brisket is a hit every time. Unfortunately, just like in baseball, every brisket is not a hit.
3) The Slice - To truly get a good brisket experience you are really looking for a slice that is about the width of a pencil from the lean side and the width of fat pencil on the fatty side. The meat should be tender enough at that thickness to be truly appreciated. If you have to slice it thinner then really it is just a cover up for tough brisket. This thickness also ensures that every piece of brisket gets a good dose of delicious smokey crust.
When the brisket is tender and juicy with a beautiful smokey crust and sliced thick you will then finally know good Texas-Style Barbecued Brisket! Our goal is to always make sure every plate of brisket is 100% on all these criteria.
No pitmaster anywhere has a perfect batting average, but the best are in the upper 90%. I will never claim 100% perfection on our briskets because well, I ain't perfect just like everyone else, but I will guarantee that you will never get a bad plate of brisket or we will take care of it for you and probably give you cake to make sure there were no hard feelings. So come by and watch us battle the briskets and enjoy the game.
So now that you know what good brisket is, do you know how to order BBQ brisket that is right for you?