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Entries in Brisket (10)

Sunday
May292016

Review: Qwik Trim Brisket Trimmer

I'm a big fan of trimming my brisket before cooking. This gives me a huge surface to apply seasoning and frankly I don't like dealing with the fat on my brisket while eating it. I've been trimming my brisket now for a few years despite incurring a significant injury while doing so. See my previous post "How Not to Trim a Brisket".

 

Rather than risk another injury like this, I jumped at a chance to acquire the new Qwik Trim Brisket Trimmer that promises to simplify the trimming process. I ordered it right away and received it just a few days before I needed to trim a couple of brisket flats for a party.

It's really a pretty simple concept and protects the pitmater from the inadvertent slip of the trimming knife. I rinsed the brisket flats and was eager to get started.

 

You can see the concept in action in this photo.  It turns out that it works great for the large, cold, hard fat on the underside of a brisket.  However, it doesn't work as well on the softer, thinner layers of fat.  I trim both from my brisket, so I still had to use my trimming knife to get the end result that I prefer.

If you're a pitmaster that likes to leave that thinner layer of fat on your brisket, then the Qwik Trim could be a good option for you.  But, if you're a fan of trimming all of the fat you'll still have some work to do with a trimming knife.

Cheers,
Braddog 

 

Sunday
Mar012015

Butcher Paper Brisket

Over the past few months, I've been reading about this technique on the interwebs.  I've tried wrapping my brisket in foil before, but frankly I prefer to cook it unwrapped.  Now keep in mind, I'm not cooking for competitions or trying to cook a brisket in a short amount of time (usually).  However, there are times when I'd sure like to be able to do one in less than 12 hours.

So this past weekend, I decided that I would cook one brisket on Saturday using the butcher paper method.  If that was successful, I'd cook one on Sunday morning for my annual Daytona 500 gathering.  If it wasn't successful, I'd still have time to cook one overnight on the Big Green Egg.  Seemed like a reasonable plan, all except for the $45 practice brisket.

In general, wrapping your brisket (or ribs, etc) after a couple of hours helps the meat finish sooner.  There is some science behind this around how connective tissues break down etc, but frankly if you're reading this because you're looking for the science behind the process you should stop now and move along to another blog.

Most often, you'll see folks wrap brisket in foil.  But recently the notion of wrapping in  butcher paper has become popular. Part of the theory is that the paper provides the same benefit in terms of helping the meat finish sooner, without the braising effect of foil.

So, I prepped my brisket:

Cooked indirect at 325 degrees for 4 hours

At 4 hours, I wrapped in butcher paper.  Didn't check temp, but wrapped when the bark had the right "look" and placed the brisket back on the cooker.

I probed the brisket through the paper and when I thought it felt tender and the temp was 200 degrees plus, I pulled it.  Total cook time was about 6 hours.

Here's the brisket as I unwrapped it:

Sliced.....

The results?  It just wasnt' tender enough.  You could say that I should have cooked it longer.  Maybe, but it was also dry and if I'd cooked it longer it would have been even drier. 

So the jury is still out for me.  I don't think this is a viable option for the Big Green Egg.  I'll try it again on the Backwoods Smoker and see if different cookers have different results.  Stay tuned for more.

Cheers,
Braddog 

Monday
Nov142011

BBQ Tip: How Not to Trim a Brisket

After spending last weekend surrounded by awesome pork shoulder at the Kentucky BBQ Festival, I was ready for some brisket this weekend.  So I was up and at it early on Saturday morning, trimming 3 packer cut briskets for the Backwoods cooker.

Just as I was finishing up the last one, the knife slipped and got into my left thumb.  Now I'm not saying that I "sliced" my thumb, it was really more of a chopping blow when the knife slipped.  I jumped up, said a few choice words, and thought, "I'm sure it's just a flesh wound".  But when I bent my thumb and saw the gaping wound, I knew I was headed for the hospital.

A quick double-check with my wife to confirm my own diagnosis and a panic text to my neighbor and fellow pitmaster to finish up the brisket, and I was off to the ER.  I walked into the ER slightly before 7:30 in the morning and by 9:00am, I had 4 stitches and a tetanus shot.

So here's my advice to all you BBQ'ers.  Slice "away" from you when trimming your BBQ meats.  Here's the proof that I know what I'm talking about.

 

Before treatment During treatment The final result

 The good news is it was a sharp knife and a clean cut.  I should be healed up and ready to cook for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately my career as a hand model is over.

Cheers,
Braddog 

Monday
Jun202011

Brisket on the Big Green Egg

For me, BBQ has traditionally been pork.  Ribs, pulled pork, pork steaks, etc.; it was always pork.  I had always heard and read about the elusive brisket and based on the horror stories on the interwebs, I never even tried to cook one until I bought my Big Green Egg.  Since then, I've had a decent amount of success cooking briskets for my friends, family, and co-workers.  So I thought I'd share what I've learned since I first tackled what is arguably the hardest piece of meat to cook well. 

  • Packers, flats, & points:  You'll typically find brisket sold in one of 2 ways; flats or packers.  A packer cut brisket is packaged in a cryovac package and usually runs 10+ lbs.  It's actually 2 cuts of beef, the brisket flat & point.  The bottom side of the package will reveal a thick, hard, white fat covering.  This gnarly looking piece of meat covered in fat always intimidated the heck out of me.  You'll also find a brisket flat, which is the leaner of the 2 parts of a brisket.  It will have the same covering of fat, will cost a little more per pound, and typically goes 6-8lbs.  (note: we won't talk about "corned beef" briskets that you can find in the grocery stores)
  • Trim the Brisket:  I often cook brisket flats for my family, but the packers are awesome and what most folks cook for BBQ competitions.  Either way, trim that brisket.  I hate to get a brisket sandwhich in a BBQ joint and find a huge ribbon of fat along one side of the meat.  Additionally, any seasoning that you do to a brisket won't penetrate that fat layer.  If you're cooking a packer, don't try to seperate the 2 cuts.  They'll come apart much easier after they come off the cooker.
  • A Large Brisket Flat
  • Rub &/or inject:  After the brisket is well trimmed, apply your rub &/or injection.  I don't typically inject, but I do apply a generous rub to the brisket.  I like a combination of fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt, but there are lots of good brisket rubs on the market.  Note:  some folks like to slather their butts &/or brisket with yellow mustard.  I used to, but frankly I've abandonded the practice and find that I don't miss it at all.
  • Indirect Cooking:  Set your cooker up for indirect cooking.  On the Big Green Egg, that means platesetter installed feet up and temperatures steady at 250 degrees.  I like to put a disposable aluminum pan between the platesetter feet and the cooking grate to catch as much of the extra drippings as possible.
  • Brisket Flat Finishing on a BGE
  • The Stall:  Like a pork butt, a brisket will reach approximately 160-170 degrees internal temperature and go into a stall.  During this time, the connective tissues in the brisket are breaking down and the magic is happening.  Once the process is complete, the temp will begin to climb again.  When it hits ~195 degrees and a temperature probe slides in easily with little reisisance, the brisket is done.  Frankly, this thing is going to look like a meteorite when it's done but don't let that fool you.
  • Burnt Ends:  At this point, if you've cooked a packer cut brisket it's time to seperate the flat and the point.  You should be able to take a long knive and easily cut through the vein of fat that seperates the flat from the point.  The point is fattier and once removed, cube it, sauce it, and return it to the cooker.  The extra fat will continue to render from the pieces and the sauce will carmelize.  The sugar in the sauce will darken until the pieces look "burnt", but trust me they aren't and they are good eatin'!
  • Sliced Brisket, Ready to Serve
  • Rest, slice, & serve:  I find that a brisket benefits even more from a little rest period than a pork butt.  I like to let it rest for at least a half hour.  During this time, the juices redistribute throughout the meat.  I typically slice with an electric knife and serve.

It's true that it's harder to get a perfect brisket than a perfect pork butt, but even the briskets that miss the mark are awesome.  So don't be afraid or intimiated by that hunk of fat covered meat in your butcher's meat case.  Take it home and give it a shot, it's totally worth it.

Cheers,
Braddog 

 

 

Saturday
Apr232011

Competition Practice: Brisket

I'm preparing to compete this year for the first time.  A few weeks ago, I began practicing with chicken and I feel pretty good about the results.

Today, I decided to work on brisket.  So I headed out this morning and picked up 2 brisket flats.  I know that most teams are cooking packers, but balancing practice with feeding my family, I decided to go with flats.

I trimmed them thoroughly and applied a notable BBQ rub and put them in the cooker at ~10:30am.  After 3 hours in the smoke they had reached 165 degrees.  So I wrapped them in foil and let them go until they reached ~200 degrees & I felt like they were done based on the resistance when I probed them with my Thermapen.

I let them rest for about a half hour and began slicing.  These were probably the best briskets that I've done in terms of their moisture & consistency.  I think I'll continue to work on the rub and flavor profile, but I was really pleased with the end results.

Here are the obligatory photos: 

IMG_0485

IMG_0487

IMG_0490

 

 

 

 

Cheers,

Braddog

Monday
Feb152010

Daytona 500 & BBQ....2 of My Favorites

I've written about this before, but as usual I cooked for the Daytona 500 and had a few folks over to enjoy the race. 

This year, I decided on brisket.  I hadn't yet used my home made Magic Dust on brisket, so I trimmed up a couple of flats and liberally applied the rub that Mike Mills uses at 17th Street Bar & Grill.

Everything began just fine, but I ran into a snag when I awoke to find my cooker was only running about 160 degrees.  I didn't waste any time trying to fan the fire and get it restoked.  Instead, I disassembled the cooking setup and relit with my MAPP Torch .  I figure I saved a half an hour by going this route rather than waiting for the fire to rekindle via increased air flow.

Turns out, the overall cooking time was longer than I had planned due to this little problem.  And, we didn't have brisket until sometime around the second caution flag.  However, the Magic Dust was very tasty on the brisket and I was pleased with the overall results. 

My only regret is that since the brisket ran late, I caught a lot of grief from my guests.  But it sure didn't stop anyone from putting away the BBQ.

Cheers,
Braddog

Saturday
Aug152009

Brisket Fail

Like most bloggers, I like to post about my successes. However, this weekend I didn't fair so well and had a brisket that was a bit of a disappointment.

I'd been reading about a "quick brisket" (and a "quick pork butt"). The recipe claimed that you could cook at a higher temperature than normal and by cooking in an aluminum fan with a little beer you could turn out "fork tender" brisket in just 5-6 hours. These were the steps that I followed.


  • brisketfailCook indirect at 350* in an aluminum pan
  • When the meat reaches an internal temp of 140* cover with aluminum foil and add a can of beer to the pan
  • When the meat hits 170*, uncover and let the bark form until the internal temp hits 190*


I followed these steps, but what I ended up with was more like pot roast than BBQ.  The meat hit 190* in about 3 hours but it was far from tender.  I backed the temp down to 250*, and the meat temp fell back to ~180*.  I let it cook for several more hours until it was tender.  But as I said, it was more like pot roast than I'd hoped for.

But you know what the best part of a BBQ mistake is?  You still end up with something that's pretty tasty.  I enjoyed roast beef sandwiches for a few days after this effort.

Cheers,
Braddog

Monday
Jun292009

Review: Dickey's Pit BBQ

While noodling around with Google Maps on the iPhone, I discovered that there was a BBQ joint not far from my office that I hadn’t tried yet.  So on Friday, I set out to give it a try.

DickeysBBQThe place is called Dickey’s Pit BBQ and it turns out that they are a rapidly growing chain.  I hadn’t been there before, but my previous experience in a BBQ chain wasn’t all that great.  So with a little apprehension I stepped up to the counter and ordered my lunch.

They serve the usual BBQ fare of pulled pork, brisket, sausage, chicken and ribs.  I ordered the two-meat platter of brisket & pulled pork with a  couple of sides and a glass of sweat tea.  The food came out quickly and it looked promising enough, but it didn’t much of a smoke flavor and there was little to no additional flavor in the bark.  Having said that, the meat was tender and the portions were generous. 

The side items were probably my favorite part of the meal.  The green beans with bacon and the BBQ beans were very tasty.  And, I can’t say no to a hunk of sweet cornbread.  I also enjoyed their sauce which is served warm from a steam table by the salad & drink bars. 

Overall, it’s the best chain BBQ joint I’ve eaten at and they do have a pretty large presence across the country.  So, if you run into one of their locations I wouldn’t shy away from eating there.

 Here’s my breakdown:

  • BBQ - B
  • Side Dishes - A
  • Atmosphere - A
  • Value - B
  • Overall – B+

Cheers,
Braddog

Monday
Mar302009

Review: Michelbob's BBQ Rub



Over the past few years, my parents have officially become snowbirds. That means they spend 6 months per year in sunny Florida. Those would be the same six months that I'm battling cold temperatures and wind while trying to perfect my BBQ technique. 

Recently, they began to sing the praises of a BBQ establishment in Naples, FL, called MichelBob's. Now I've never been to the place and I can't substantiate their claims about having the best ribs in America. However, my folks did send home a bottle of their rub/seasoning so I thought I'd give it whirl.

I tried the rub on a brisket that I cooked on the Big Green Egg on Sunday. I found it to be a little saltier and have a little more garlic than my standard brisket rub. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. As the brisket finished up, it formed a nice bark and the was very tasty. In fact, I think enjoyed it even more the next day.

I hope to get to Florida to try their BBQ Ribs first hand, but until then I will definitely continue to enjoy their rub. I wouldn't mind giving their sauce the once over, but alas no one has come forward with a bottle of that!   8>)

Cheers,
Braddog

Tuesday
Jan202009

Review: Plush Pig BBQ Saloon

plush-pigDue to changes in traffic patterns I recently altered my route on my commute to work, only to discover a BBQ restaurant that I’d previously overlooked.  The crazy thing is that this place is only a few blocks from my office.  So, today a co-worker and I ventured out in single digit temperatures to have lunch at the Plush Pig in St. Louis, MO.

Now in an urban environment, I didn’t really expect to find great BBQ.  This is partly because I didn’t smell the smoke as I approached the front door.  However, when I opened the door my spirits lifted because there was the unmistakable aroma of wood smoke in the air.

The Plush Pig is similar to a lot of BBQ joints these days.  Wood floors, corrugated tin, and knick knacks on the wall seem to be the de facto décor.  A large board prominently displays their wares.  It’s not as extensive as some places, but they certainly had plenty to offer.  Pulled Pork and Texas Brisket were available as lunch specials so I ordered up the brisket plate. 

When I eat BBQ at a restaurant, ordering is always a critical point in my assessment of the place.  There’s only one correct answer to the question I always ask.  But I tentatively inquired about whether they had Sweet Iced Tea and again my spirits were lifted when I received a positive response.

As I said, I ordered the Texas Brisket lunch plate.  This was served with corn on the cob, choice of one side (I chose BBQ beans of course) and a piece of grilled sweet bread.  I’d prefer that they not apply sauce to the meat when serving it, but it was minimal and had a good flavor.  Additional sauce was on the table for those that prefer a healthier application.

I have to say that everything on my plate was very tasty.  The brisket was sliced thin and had a nice smoke ring.  The portions were generous and the prices were reasonable.  You can bet I’ll be dining here again and if you find yourself in St. Louis or Columbia Missouri, I’d highly recommend the Plush Pig if you’re in the mood for BBQ.

Here’s my report card:

  • BBQ - A
  • Side Dishes - A
  • Atmosphere - B
  • Value - A
  • Overall – A-

Cheers,
Braddog