How Joseph's Riverport BBQ Smokes Brisket

In "Shigging," we ask pitmasters to give us some specifics about how they smoke their meats. In the spirit of barbecue secretiveness and competitiveness, they're allowed to lie once.

This week, we're asking Stephen Joseph of Joseph's Riverport Barbecue (201 N. Polk St in Jefferson and a joint that's on Texas Monthly's list of the 50 Best BBQ Joints In the World) how he smokes his brisket. Behold: the answers you seek.

What's your smoker's name? Jethro

What kind of smoker is it? A.N. Bewley

How old is your smoker? 2 yrs. The previous pit was 19 years old until it burned up.

What's Jethro's brisket capacity? 27 briskets

What temp do you shoot for, when you're smoking briskets? 225-240

For how long do you smoke them? 16-18 hrs

Do you use a complicated rub? Keep it simple, stupid.

What's in the rub? Salt, black pepper, chili powder, garlic, paprika, cayenne

Do you inject or spritz? Absolutely not.

Do you jack around with the brisket while it's in the smoker? Flip it, turn it, any of that? No. Momma told me not to play with my meat.

How long do you let the brisket rest? 1-2 hrs

Brown paper or foil wrap? Foil, near the end of the cooking process.

What kind of wood do you smoke? Locally grown cypress from nearby Caddo lake

What's your personal preference: lean or fatty? Neither. I prefer the crispy edges!

Do you own any items that don't smell like smoke? No way.

If you could bottle the smell of smoked meats, what would you name this lovely perfume? Essence of Texas

How many times a day do people ask, "What's that smell?" when you're around? Too many to count

What kind of smoker do you have at home? None. We have a Weber grill that I have been banned from using. Don't ask!

If you were smoking meats at home for friends, where would you get the goods? Sam's Club or Caddo Packing in Marshall.

Many thanks to Stephen Joseph and Joseph's Riverport BBQ for putting up with our shigging this week. Do yourself a favor, and instead of trying to copy Joseph's technique, drive out to Jefferson and eat the hell out of his barbecue. You'll be glad you did.

Every day is a good day to eat smoked meats. So, get to it.

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