I meant to post this a few weeks ago and just now getting to it.
Had a small get together with some friends. I decided to smoke a brisket and not to be out done, my friend decided to try his hand at smoking a brisket also.
The dinner was at his place. He had just acquired an MES 30 and an A-maze-n pellet tube smoker thing. He used cherry pellets. He had only smoked a couple of other meals prior, chicken and I think ribs once.
I used my offset with hickory mini splits.
We both purchased choice brisket from Wal-Mart, mine started out about 13.7lbs his was about 10lbs. He cut his in half so that it would fit in the MES smoker.
My brisket went on about 6am in the morning, and I pulled it about 5pm just before we left to head to his place. It stayed wrapped in the butcher paper and a couple of towels for the hour drive to his place in Tulsa. I'm not sure what his total smoke time was.
As soon as I saw his brisket, I knew something was up. It had a VERY pronounced smoke ring, on half of it. I started asking what he did to it, and he was being kind of cagey but I knew that he had a fake smoke ring. Later on that evening he confessed that he rubbed the one half with "curing salt". I pressed him for details, specifically, what the color of the salt was. He said it was white. So I think he used something like Morton's Tender Quick. The other half of his brisket he didn't rub with anything and just left it bare. Both of them cooked at the same time, in the same MES 30 smoker.
Below you can see the differences between our 3 different types of brisket:
1) MES with no salt rub
2) MES with a curing salt rub
3) stick burner with only kosher salt and black pepper
And yes, my brisket was the favorite of the evening. Very tender and very moist. My friend's own son even told everyone that my brisket was the best meat he has ever tasted. My friend did make a good first attempt. His non curing salt rubbed brisket tasted pretty good, but was not quite fully tender. It needed another hour or so. His curing salt rubbed brisket was very, very salty, too salty in fact. He was going to toss it at the end of the evening.
Anyway, even though it was somewhat by happenstance, I thought this showed a good comparison of the use of Tender-Quick/curing salt and how it produces a fake smoke ring, and how pronounced it is compared to a real smoke ring.