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Smoked Brisket with Coffee Beer Mop Sauce and Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce

Smoked Brisket with Coffee Beer Mop Sauce and Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce

Slow cooking this brisket on the grill develops a rich smokey flavor and gives you plenty of time to make the accompanying Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce.


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, preferably artisanal (optional)
  • 1 (6 to 8 pound) piece center cut brisket
Coffee Beer Mop Sauce
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 to 6 cups hickory or apple chips or wood chunks, soaked in water to cover for 1 hour, then drained
Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 to 6 shallots, minced (enough to make 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups Zinfandel, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup honey, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Make the rub and prepare the brisket
  1. Place the salt, brown sugar, paprika, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir to mix. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and generously sprinkle both sides with rub, about 3 tablespoons per side. The excess rub will keep for several months in a jar. You can cook the brisket right away, but it will be better if you let it cure with the rub for several hours, or even a day in the refrigerator.

Make the mop sauce
  1. Combine the beer, cider, cider vinegar, coffee, oil, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and whisk to mix. Season with salt to taste.
  2. Set up your grill for indirect grilling. If using a gas grill, place wood chips in a smoker pouch. Run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-low (300°F). If using a charcoal grill, preheat to medium-low. Just before putting the brisket on, toss 1/2 cup wood chips on each mound of coals.
  3. Place the brisket on the grate in the center, over the drip pan, away from the heat. If using bacon, drape the slices over the top of the meat.
  4. Indirect grill the brisket until tender, 5 to 6 hours. If using a charcoal grill, add 12 fresh coals and 1/2 cup wood chips to each side every hour. (The total cooking time will depend on the size of the brisket and heat of the grill.). Generously baste or mop the meat on both sides with the Coffee Beer Mop Sauce once an hour for the first 4 hours.
  5. Tightly wrap brisket in foil and continue cooking until very tender, 1 to 2 hours more.
Make the barbecue sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat until just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add all but 3 tablespoons of the wine and boil over high heat until reduced to about 2/3 cup.
  2. Reduce the heat and stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Gently simmer the sauce until thick and richly flavored, 10 to 12 minutes, adding the remaining 3 tablespoons wine after 6 minutes. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain, using an electric knife or sharp carving knife. Transfer the sliced meat to a platter. Spoon the Zinfandel Barbecue Sauce over the meat, or serve it on the side.

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