Monday, December 26, 2011

Beef Brisket

Cooking brisket according to most - myself included - seems to be the hardest to master, but you "will" master it if you keep working at it. The single most important thing in my opinion is to know when the fork truly does go into the meat like butter to confirm the meat is tender enough. I have known that simple test and used it for years and have to admit that I never really benefited from it simply because I was too anxious to call it finished and could not force myself to continue cooking it any longer. The last few cooks I have been able to do that and the fork truly does go in like butter and only then can you find any chance to have cooked a great brisket as opposed to an average one.

THE PIT - It's the recipe and the person cooking the meat that gets the job done and not what type or brand cooker you use. When I cooked this 16 Lb brisket on the Traeger Pellet grill I was not at all confident in being able to produce a top quality piece of meat, but I was wrong. This brisket is the very best I have ever cooked, which leads me to my next point. Many of the users of this type cooker will be the first to tell you that it's hard to get enough smoke on the meat for bbq with this cooker but I think they assume too much about other peoples preferences. There is absolutely no way to convince me that a brisket that was cooked every minute with smoke surrounding it will not have sufficient smoke flavor no matter what cooker produced that smoke. If I had to cook a contest tomorrow, I would have not problem firing up this same little pellet cooker to do my brisket on.

THE FLAVOR - Rubs are no doubt an important part of BBQ, but I've always thought that just about everything else involved in cooking bbq was more important than the rub, or in other words - a ho hum rub would not ruin a good brisket near as quick as a brisket that was not tender enough when you pulled it. For this Christmas Eve Brisket for the family my goal was not a BBQ flavor profile as much as a nice tender brisket that would pair up well with a good Au Jus and Horseradish sauce, so I decided to use Fresh Ground Pepper, Coarse Sea Salt, Garlic and Onion Powders. The results have me wondering why I would ever use anything else for brisket, even for BBQ.

THE METHOD - Mr. Myron Mixon of Jack's Old South, is the undisputed King of Briskets and has always advocated a much higher temp and faster cook for brisket and I definitely can vouch for the fact that he practices what he preaches because I have witnessed him on several occasions not even fire up his cooker till the wee hours of the morning after most others have already had their meat on for hours. I never felt like hot and fast was a good thing for BBQ so have always ignored it and never tried it, but due to the need to have our family Christmas Eve dinner at 5p.m. I decided to give it a try and could not be more pleased. I think I know why Myron Mixon has done so well for so long with Brisket.

THE REWARDS - Serve a great Brisket for company and your guest will be happy and that will make you happy. If there happens to be any leftovers try it for breakfast. I made a nice dish of grits, added cheese, eggs, and butter then baked. Added this brisket to the plate along with some Raisin bread and Apple Butter and oh, did that make one fine breakfast fit for a king and this time it was served on a Kings Birthday (His name is Jesus). Here's more details including times:

· 6:30 partially separated brisket which had all the thick fat kernels removed and fat cap trimmed down to 1/4 inch was placed on the smoker with temp set on "smoke" for 1 hr, temp outside was 40 and the highest temp on cooker for the next hour was 100. Rub was fresh ground black pepper, coarse ground sea salt, onion and garlic powder applied with meat cold that had been in fridge after injecting with Kosmos 15 hrs earlier, meat was only out of fridge long enough to apply rub before going into cooker.

· 7:30 I turned cooker up to 350

· 8:00 Cooker was running 325 but set to 350

· 8:30 meat was at 100 and already getting a great looking bark, was surprised the pit was holding the 350 and turned temp down to 325 and sprayed with apple juice.

· 9:30 internal temp was 136, sprayed with apple juice

· 10:09 meat temp was 160 –170 judging from both the point and flat

· 10:26 meat was transferred to full pan and a bottle of Stubbs Beef Marinade was added and pan wrapped and returned to cooker.

· At 11:41 internal 195 – 200 but NOT tender to the probe test on the flat but point was very tender.

· 12:30 is an estimated time where the internal was at 208 and seemed tender and I removed from pan and broth, separated point from flat, cubed the point, wrapped flat and cubed point separately in foil and towels and placed in cooler for 2 hours.

· 2:00 I sliced the flat and returned to foil and heated in 350 oven for 30 - 45 min till very hot, opened foil to vent and let cool some then wrapped in towels and placed back in cooler.

· 4:30 broth from original pan was strained and refrigerated during the resting time above and I added some Worcestershire and water to the defatted broth and boiled for a few min for the au jus and made some horseradish sauce.

· 5:00 Served

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