Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Smoke My Meat

Contrary to popular belief there are few things in this world that are worth the wait. There are even less things that are a worthy reward for a hard days work (other then a paycheck!). But yesterday we were all treated to one of those rarities.

By “we” I mean family members and assorted hangers on who are hanging at the beach with us here in South Carolina and by reward I mean one hell of a smoked beef brisket. Mrs. Bloggerman and I had talked in the past about smoking meat and this week's beach vacation seemed like the right time to finally try it. If it didn't come out then there was always the pizza shop up the block or even better the 120 item seafood buffet next to it!

The following are the steps and pictures I took during my misadventures. I took my cues (no pun intended) from this recipe. We started with a 4.75 lb first cut beef brisket and the night before I took it out and spread deli mustard over the meat. I could have gone with cheaper yellow mustard here since it's only used to 1) help the rub stick on and 2) create a crust for the meat but we didn't have any in our limited supplies. We used a “Kansas City” pre packaged rub. It wouldn't have been my first choice but it came out very well and there was enough of it to really work a good hefty layer on top. I took the brisket and wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it to bed in the fridge overnight.

The next morning it was time to get the grill together. From what I can tell when you try this out you should use gas or electric (ala Alton Brown) because it keeps a constant temperature, but we had a basic charchol grill and even then it wasn't a fancy kettle grill. Think the type of thing you'd find at your local park next to the picnic tables, so there was some regigering needed. Number one rule of smoking is indirect heat. With the grill so small I had to figure out a way to keep all the charcoal on one side. I solved this with a disposable cake tin. It held 12-15 briquettes easy. I lit those up and let the lighter fluid burn off. Then I took the soaked wood chips (I used hickory...later I found out that I probably should have used mesquite) in a smaller tin on top of the briquettes. The next challenge was to figure out how to keep the smoke and heat in the grill. I solved this by taking a large disposable roasting pan and draped tin foil over the sides. This kept most of the smoke inside and circulating around the meat.

Each hour I replaced the charcoal and every two hours I replaced the wood chips and gave the meat a spritz with apple juice. Because I was cooking fat side up the juice helps keep the top moist and also helps create a nice crust. This insures that the fat drips down in to the meat as it heats up and melts which in turn keeps the meat moist.

After 7.5 hours of cooking I took it off the grill on to a cookie sheet and wrapped it up in tin foil for a 30 minute nap. We sliced it up and paired it with a green salad, baked beans, roasted veggies, and some cole slaw/cabbage salad.

Overall I was very pleased with my first attempt at smoking. I really am looking forward to trying it again. Although this time I 'm going to use a gas grill so I can enjoy my day a little bit more. I'm also looking to try some beef ribs for which I'll need more cooking surface space so when we get back I'm going to use my Propane Taxi Groupon and get my $2 tank and get cooking. Who's coming over?

smoking , a set on Flickr.

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