1. A well-smoked meat will have a thick crust. Pellets of black pepper or other spices indicate a rub has been used. Intense, smoky flavor resides here.

2. Cooking brisket slowly at a low temperature encourages the intramuscular fat to melt into the meat and create a silky texture.

3. Brisket “snot” forms when fat melts into the crust. It adds a sweet, sticky coating that is best experienced with fingers, not forks.

4. A pink to red colored smoke ring appears when an adequate amount of smoke is introduced and cooking temperatures are kept low.

5. A “sugar cookie” coating can form when a sugary rub caramelizes and combines with well-rendered fat.

Food stylist: Erin Quon
Prop stylist: Kristen Butler