Monday, July 7, 2014

Brilliant Brisket

Good evening everyone! If there’s a downside to being an amateur chef / cooking hobbyist it’s that when it comes to family gatherings or events, you’re sort of expected to wow the crowd with a dish. Luckily, we enjoy cooking so contributing to a gathering isn’t a chore – it’s something we enjoy.

That being said, there’s still a challenge of making up an impressive enough dish. This past weekend, we had family over for the 4th of July holiday – which as you may or may not be aware, is a traditionally BBQ heavy holiday. Simple BBQ wouldn’t be enough – oh no, I wanted to impress. The solution? Smoked brisket. And, oh boy – did it deliver.

The Recipe: Oklahoma Joe’s Smoked Brisket
Original Recipe From:

What You’ll Need:
3-5 Lbs Brisket
¼ Cup Kosher Salt
¼ Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Spanish Paprika
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Celery Salt
1 Tablespoon Lemon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
4 Cups Hickory Wood Chips
1 Cup Apple Juice (Plus one food grade spray bottle)

First and foremost – it may seem like you’re using your entire spice rack for this rub (and you very may well be) but trust me when I say the finished product makes this bit of early effort well worth it. Don’t scrimp or cut out any aspect of the rub. Use it all, and you’ll appreciate it.

24 Hours Before the Meal:

Add the wood chips into a large container (large enough to fill with the wood chips with room to spare) fill the container ¾ full with water and add the chips. Press them down into the water and then seal the container. Allow it to rest overnight.
Typically, the instructions call for the wood chips to be soaked for 30 minutes to an hour, but I made the change simply due to the logistics of the meal. We were going to be cooking this brisket low and slow and once we started cooking, there wasn’t going to be any way to switch out the wood chips. So, whatever I used needed to last the whole 4 hour cook time. The solution was to oversaturate the chips, that way they’d take much longer to burn.

To prepare the rub, combine all of the spices in a medium bowl and mix well (I found a fork worked best) until evenly blended. Next, trim any excess fat from the brisket (there is usually a large fat cap on the bottom of a brisket – cut this off before you begin. Also remove any areas that appear to be unnecessarily fatty). Finally, rub the spice rub all over the brisket, making sure to evenly cover all sides and fill all voids within the meat. I used the entire bowl on my 3.5 pound brisket – don’t be afraid to pile it on. Wrap the brisket tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

To Prepare the Brisket:

Remove the wood chips from their water logged container and transfer them to a foil packet. Seal it tightly (I would also recommend using heavy duty foil and double wrapping the packet. Remember: we want smoke, but we don’t want the chips to burn if we can avoid it. The more precautions you take, the less likely “burn” will happen). Once wrapped, use a paring knife to poke several holes on the top of the packet. Place the packet directly on the burner of your grill (beneath the grate) and then set the grill to high and bring the temperature up to 500 degrees.

While the grill is heating up, remove the brisket from its plastic wrap and insert a probe thermometer into the center of the meat (into the thickest part) – if it has an alarm, set it to alert you at 180 degrees.

Once the grill is good and hot, clean the grates and reduce the heat to the absolute lowest setting. (On the side where the wood chips reside – turn the other side off). Leave the lid open for a few minutes so the grill temperature falls into the 200-220 degree range. Place the brisket over the foil packet of wood chips (which should now be lightly smoking). Make sure the wire to your thermometer isn’t touch the grates (feed it through the side of the grill of wherever there’s a handy vent) and close the lid. Resist the urge to open the lid or otherwise check on the grill for the next hour.

Seriously. No opening it. No checking. Nothing. The thermometer will tell you if something has gone awry.

After 1 hour, lift the lid and give the brisket a spritz with the apple juice. Close the lid and allow the brisket to cook for another hour. Two hours in, lift the grill lid, spritz the top with apple juice, flip the brisket and spritz again with apple juice. Close the lid and allow another hour to pass before spritzing the brisket with apple juice one final time. Close the lid and monitor the thermometer until the brisket reaches 180 degrees.

Once it hits that golden temp, remove the brisket from the grill and wrap it in aluminum foil (leave the thermometer in the meat!). Place the brisket on the “cool” side of the grill (IE the side where the burners are off) leave the other side on the lowest setting. Close the lid and leave the brisket alone until it reaches 190 degrees internally. Surprisingly, this won’t take very long at all (10-15 minutes). Once the temp reads 190 – remove from the grill and allow the brisket to rest for 10 minutes before slicing it thin and serving it atop fresh buns (and with your favorite BBQ sauce). Enjoy!

The Results:

There’s no picture of the finished result because 1) I forgot and 2) it was so good it didn’t last long enough to photograph. This was, hands down, one of my favorite things I’ve made on this grill. The spice rub plus hickory smoke combo was simply delightful and the brisket was moist and flavorful – it had elements of sweet, elements of spicy – a true culinary delight. There’s a bit of prep and a lot of patience involved…but this dish is SO worth it!

That’s all we have for you this evening. We’re back tomorrow with another brand new recipe, in a week that will feature quite a bit of content going up. Until then,


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