Thursday, July 9, 2009

Smoked Brisket

July forth was just around the corner and I wanted to come up with a menu that accomplished a couple of things I wanted to cook something outside, it was a perfect cookout holiday and I didn't mind spending a few hours doing it. We were all going to be home from the time that the parade ended until the fireworks began. Slow cooking something on the grill was perfect.

I had never smoked a brisket before, I have made them a few times in the winter when slow cooking is great inside but on the grill in early July isn't something that I have ever done. I had to find a Brisket that was usable for my family, we were all a lttle tired and there was no way to have guests. I wanted about 2 1/2 pounds of Brisket with about 1/4 inch of fat on the top. You need enough fat to keep the meat moist plus the pan drippings make a great addition to the meat and the sauce later. Because I went to the grocery store after work on July 3rd (at about 8:00pm) I had to take what I could get. What I found was 3 pounds of meat with a very thin fat cap. Because of the way my luck runs sometimes the brisket I wanted was the only one in the case without a price. I had to call a store manager to figure out the price for me. Later I thought about how much he must love me, the annoying guy that needs a particular cut of meat at 8:20 the day before a holiday. Anyway he did take care of me and I picked up some bay scallops while I was there, they turned out well. I decided to do a spice rub similar to what I did on the smoked ribs a few weeks ago, since the meat would cook for a much longer time and absorb more of the flavor from the smoke I simplified it a bit, this one had:

2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tsp Cumin

That couldn't have been easier... I mixed the spices together before we went to the parade the next morning (about 7:00 am) and wrapped the brisket in plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator to rest for a few hours. To prepare I wrapped a shallow pan with foil (I am still cleaning up the pan that I used as a drip pan for the ribs) then took the brisket out of the wrap and set a couple of slices of bacon on top... I wanted to make up for the small amount of fat on the meat its self. About noon I lit the grill and got it ready to smoke, spread the coals to the sides and put about a cup of wet wood chips on each side, I used cherry smoking chips for this. When it was going I pored about 1/2 a bottle of beer into the pan for added moisture. I closed the lid and checked it every hour after that.

As I checked it every 45 minutes to hour I checked the heat of the closed grill and tried to keep it the temperature of an oven, maybe 325. I basted the meat with the drippings to make sure that it stayed moist. I also added about 8-10 coals to each side of the grill and maybe a cup of wet woodchips. and once I added some more beer to the tray. A little after 5 it was done, yes a little more than 5 hours of cooking time, that time would vary depending on heat of the grill and the size of the meat. I just knew this was perfectly done, but could also tell when the meat was tender when I poked it with a fork.
After it came off the grill I set the meat to rest for about 20 minutes and pored the silky pan drippings into a bowl with some commercial bbq sauce to make that beautiful sauce that you see above. We served this with a little pasta salad and some slaw.

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