August 02, 2003

Brisket Experiment

Today I did a BBQ brisket. I'm tried a new method, hanging the brisket up in the smoker rather than laying it flat. I had seen this on some cooking show and am always looking for an excuse to try something new because it means I get to use the BBQ. Also, Michael has returned from his summer vacation, so Carol and I are having a BBQ in his honor.

Final Brisket
Details on the prep in the extended entry

Cryovac Brisket The brisket, as you'll find it in the store. It's either referred to as "untrimmed" or "packer cut" (as of this writing, $1.51 per lb). This brisket was 11.21 pounds. You can see a chef's knife with an 8 inch blade for size reference. Notice that the top of the brisket is almost entirely covered in a 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of fat. 6 AM.
Rubbed Brisket Here's the brisket, rubbed with my standard BBQ rub and attached to a bacon hook. It's ready for the BBQ.

I've attached the bacon hook to the heavier end, which is known as the "point." The other portion is called the "flat." The point has a layer of fat dividing it in half. It tends to be more tender, but also, well, fattier. 6:15 AM

Brisket in the Smoker Here's the smoker with the fire at "ready to cook" temperatures and the brisket in the smoker. As you can see, hanging a brisket has one huge disadvantage in that it takes up a good amount of the smoker. It does look like I could fit a total of four briskets in, however.

I'm also not entirely sure it is going to stay on the hook without falling off. 6:45 AM

You can probably also just make out the two temperature probes. These run up and out the top vent of the smoker to a remote transmitter. I can check the temperatures while remaining in the house. 142 and 135 degrees in the middle and top of the smoke chamber. 7 AM.

Put together the beans (which will go on the fire later), sauce, and Ceasar Salad dressing. Made croutons. 251 and 257 degrees -- trying to keep the temperature between 250 and 275. 8 AM.

Brisket and Beans Internal meat temperature 140-150 on the flat. Smoke chamber 249 and 240. Restoked the fire and placed the beans in the smoker. I'm using a combination of mesquite lump charcoal and small split logs of almond wood. Note that during the cooking the firebox lid is shut -- I've just got it open to get the bed of coals re-started.

The meat has been cooking for just over 4 hours now. You may be able to tell how much it has shrunk already. Note that the juices and fat from the meat will be directly dripping into the bean pot. 11 AM.

Brisket and Sausage Internal meat temperature 160 on the flat. Smoke chamber 250 and 255. I've got sausages hanging in the smoker now, they should be done in another hour or so. Meat's been smoking now for just over 7 hours. I expect another two hours or so before we can eat it. 2 PM.

Final Brisket
Pulled the meat after 9 hours -- it had hit 170-180, which isn't really fully done for brisket. Let it rest for about half an hour and then carved it. Could have used more time, but we were all hungry. Did have a pretty good smoke ring on it (that's the red/pink you see on what is actually the outside of the meat), and it certainly tasted great. The experiment works! 5 PM.
Posted by dowdy at August 2, 2003 06:38 AM