Zakary Pelaccio writes in “Eat with Your Hands,” that three restaurant workers came up “with this profound merging of Southeast Asia and the American South.” He makes a dry rub with red chilies, peppercorns, and lime rind, rubs it on a whole brisket, then adds a garlicky, gingery paste made with Asian fish sauce and coconut milk and refrigerates the meat for up to 48 hours. He smokes it over hardwood charcoal (not pine, cedar, hickory, or mesquite, which will overpower the meat) for 12 to 14 hours. When the meat is done, it is tender when pierced with a skewer. “This is not your Jewish grandmother’s brisket,” he writes, “so don’t expect it to fall apart.”
2 cups dried red chilies, such as cayenne
2 cups whole black peppercorns
Grated rind of 4 limes
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the chilies for 3 to 4 minutes or until they take on a dark color, pressing them with a spoon against the pan. Do not inhale the toasting chilies. Transfer to a plate; cool.
2. Toast the peppercorns for 3 minutes, swirling and shaking the pan until they crackle lightly and release their aroma. Transfer to a plate; cool.
3. Working in batches in a spice grinder, grind the chilies and peppercorns to a powder. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lime rind and salt; set aside.
PASTE AND BRISKET
2 tablespoons palm or brown sugar
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
20 cloves garlic, peeled
10 small shallots, peeled
1 piece (2 inches) young fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 cup well-stirred coconut milk (preferably Aroy-D brand)
1 whole untrimmed brisket of beef (about 12 pounds)
1. In a food processor, combine the sugar, fish sauce, garlic, shallots, and ginger. Pulse the mixture until it forms a paste. Add the coconut milk and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
2. In a deep container or bowl, rub the brisket with the dry rub, coating it all over. Then rub the meat all over with the paste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or for up to 48 hours.
3. Heat a smoker to 190 degrees with hardwood. Smoke the brisket for 12 to 14 hours, monitoring the temperature the entire time and keeping it within 10 degrees of the target temperature. The meat is done when a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the meat goes in and out easily or when a meat thermometer registers 150 degrees in the lean, flat part of the brisket.
4. Use large spatulas to transfer the brisket to a platter. Let it sit for 20 minutes before carving. Adapted from “Eat with Your Hands”