Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Experiment

Last fall I bought a gas grill, I wanted to get it before another Chicago winter set in.  Kris, the kiddos and I packed up one afternoon to head across what seemed like a never ending trek of suburbs surrounded by corn fields to pick up the grill she found for me on craigslist.  I wanted it for the ease of cooking out in the winter, because I miss cooking out and the charcoal grill... well it isn't so much fun to light in a blizzard even if there isn't a blizzard it is hard to light in the dark, you know after the 3:45 sunset.  I do have to say that I was a little nervous about a couple of things.

1. Would I be able to get the same depth of flavor from propane as I did charcoal or charwood?

2. Would I be able to slow cook anything?

The answers are"pretty much" and "YES!"  I found that the flavors I get are just fine, maybe a little bit is lost from not cooking over actual burning wood but I think I have the ability to make up for that by seasoning and cooking food well.  As for slow cooking I was very happy!  this weekend I made a smoked beef brisket.  I started by going out a buying a "smoker box" which is a metal box with holes in it.  Imagine how much fun Mr. Man had while I was looking at metal boxes for all of 25 minutes.  Anyway I picked the $15.00 model  to put in my grill that I wouldn't pay more than $30.00 for.  Really this stuff all makes sense in my head, but looks funny written down.

I was lucky to find 2 pound Brisket at my normal store it had about a 1/4 inch thick layer of fat on it, you want about that much... if you can't find one with that you can add a few strips of bacon to the top,  yeah Bryan is back on the health food kick.  I did the simplest of rubs on the meat just Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder and set it on the counter to temper for about half an hour.  While that was waiting I soaked cheery wood chips in water and Tequila for the same time. While those were resting and soaking I made my mop sauce, the ingredients

1/2 cup Tequila
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBS Stone Ground Mustard
Juice from one Lime
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

Put the Brisket into a shallow pan (I used a disposable pie tin, because throwing that away is so much easier than washing it).  Fill the smoker box with wet wood chips and put under the grate on low heat.  Set the meat in your pan on top of the grate so it only gets indirect heat..  You want to spent about 3 hours cooking this 2 pounds of meat, cooked too quickly and brisket is UN-Chewable!  So give it time.  Every half hour go out and spread some of your Mop Sauce on top, after a while use mop sauce and pan drippings.

You can only tell if it is done by poking it
If it feels like you are trying to poke a hole in a monster truck tire with a fork,  it is going to take a while.
If it feels like you are trying to poke through the steaks that you ate in college, you are getting there
If the meet feels like it is about to fall apart on your fork... done!

You probability want some BBQ sauce for this you can use your favorite from the store, if you are feeling all fancy try this one:

1 cup Ketchup
1 Heavy TBS of Molasses
1/4  cup Bourbon
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder

Heat over medium stirring occasionally until sauce starts to thicken, maybe 20 minutes or so.  you do have three hours so unless you are catching up on your soap you have the time.  In the picture I am serving with my Grandma's baked beans, (I came across a family cookbook a couple of weeks ago).

So how was it, well I am happy and sad to say it was wonderful, smokey and subtle with a depth that I didn't expect.  Happy because it worked so well, sad... well I really did like the old kettle grill but maybe it is time for the rusty old guy to go...
There it is, my new toy "smoker box" seems like
a fancy way to say metal box to me but it worked!


  1. Cheers to your new smoker box and a great brisket!

  2. That brisket looks divine! Please come bbq at my house!

  3. The marinade is quite interesting. I'm curious as to what it tastes like.

  4. This looks perfect, Bryan! I know my sister changed over to gas and loves it. I'm going to tell her about your smoker box.
    Tequila in the marinade sounds interesting too!

  5. I've always wanted a smoker box and now I really, really want one!
    I think I need to go shopping, thanks Bryan