How Meat Church's Matt Pittman Smokes His Brisket

In "Shigging," we ask barbecue experts 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, for Shigging, I'm doing something a little different, and speaking with a competitive barbecue champion. I've heard that in these competitions, there's a lot of injecting and spritzing and that the strategy for smoking meats in a competition is different than when you're smoking meats for the masses. To find out whether or not those awful rumors were true, I spoke with Meat Church's Matt Pittman.

I met Pittman at Blues, Bandits and BBQ in Oak Cliff last year, and since that time, he's appeared on BBQ Pitmasters as a competitor, his line of barbecue rubs has taken off (he's filled 500 online orders in the last six months and his products are in 12 retailers across the country and also in some place he refers to as "Canada"), and his hair has somehow gotten even better. (The longer these interviews go on, the more I'm realizing that good hair has a lot to do with great brisket. See: Justin Fourton, Jack Perkins, Wayne Mueller.)

Last weekend, Pittman won Grand Champion in Springtown (1st in brisket, 1st in chicken (not that chicken counts as a meat), and 5th in pork ribs). He has tailgated at Cowboys games for the last 16 seasons. Long story long, dude has a history with smoking meats.

Enjoy Pittman's answers to my shigging. And smoke more meats this weekend than you have ever smoked before.

  What is the name of your smoker? June. Named after my granny who taught me to cook.

?What kind of smoker is it?  Jambo. Offset stick burner.

How old is it? She is 3, or 21 in BBQ years.

?What kind of capacity does it have? A barnyard; 1 cow, 2 hogs and a dozen chickens.

?At what temp do you cook your briskets? 275

?For how long do you cook them? Until they feel like butter when I stick em. A good brisket is like a real woman. They have to have a little bit of jiggle. 

Do you have a complicated rub, or do you keep it simple? My brisket rub is Meat Church Holy Cow. It is very central Texas since that is where my inspirations come from. Will Fleischman at Lockhart Smokehouse taught me to say that it is "straightforward" not just simple.

What's in your rub? Holy Cow is heavy salt and coarse cracked black pepper, paprika plus some other stuff. You'll have to get it at to figure out the rest for yourself.

Do you inject? Do you spritz? Injecting is against my religion. I do spritz these locks though. The best hair in BBQ doesn't happen by accident.

Do you mess with the brisket while it's cooking (move it around inside the smoker, or flip it or make out with it)? I don't touch the brisket until I wrap it. However, I do pipe Ted Nugent into the cook chamber so you know why it comes out badass.

For how long do you let your brisket rest? 2-3 hours. I want that cow to be more tender than your mother's love. 

Brown paper or foil wrap? Pink butcher paper. Yea, it's actually called pink.

What kind of wood do you use when smoking your briskets? Post oak and hickory.

What's your personal preference, lean or fatty? Fatty brisket needs loving, too. Plus, Daniel Vaughn is running around town eating up all the lean.

Do you own any items of clothing that don't smell like smoke? No. I'm saving all of them in hopes of figuring out how to bottle the smell for Meat Church cologne.

What kind of smoker do you have at home? I keep my comp rig at home alongside multiple Big Green Eggs.

If you were just smoking meats on the weekend at home for friends, where would you buy the goods? Rudolph's, Local Yocal or Costco.

Put Matt Pittman's meats in your face at Blues Bandits & BBQ this year on Saturday, November 15th. He'll be teaching a barbecue class at Premier Grilling in Frisco in November (BYO Hair Products). And keep an eye on the Meat Church website for a new rub coming out in a couple of weeks.

And remember: If you're not setting an alarm to wake yourself up at 3 AM to check your pit this weekend, you're a disappointment to Texas.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade