Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan (preferably a high-quality metal pan) with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, melted butter and hot water. Whisk to combine. (Adding hot liquid to the sugar will dissolve some of the sugar, which will help produce a shiny top crust on your brownies.)
In a large mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, baking soda and salt. With an electric mixer, mix for 1 minute, or until smooth.
Add the sugar mixture and mix on low for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until smooth and combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the flour until no dry streaks appear. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Adding the chips helps produce a shiny top crust.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until set. Let cool before slicing. Enjoy!