Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

We Have Takeoff!

Ever since I bought my smoker – and, truth be told, for a long time before that – I’ve wanted to make restaurant quality brisket. Brisket, to me, epitomizes what true BBQ food is all about. It’s just a tasty, hearty, succulent meat that, when prepared correctly, just makes your mouth water. So, I decided to jump in the deep end and see if I can swim. With my first run on my new smoker, I decided to give a 4.5-lbs piece of brisket a shot. Results after the jump.

4.5-lbs brisket
1-1/2 tablespoons garlic salt
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon onion salt

The marinade was very easy to make – you just throw everything in the bowl and mix it together. After trimming the brisket every so slightly (I had a few high points of fat that I wanted to remove), I put the brisket in a bowl, pour the marinade over the top and seal it up. This concoction went into the refrigerator overnight (it worked out to about 15 hours when all was said and done). I also started soaking some hickory in water during the overnight.

The next day, I removed the brisket from the bowl and allowed it to come to room temperature. The remaining marinade was used to fill the water bowl on the smoker and I also added about 1/2-cup of red wine for flavor. I then topped off the bowl with some boiling water. The smoker was started around 11:30am and allowed to warm-up. She was smoking pretty good and at about 150oF at 12pm. The brisket was placed on and away we went.

My wood ran out a few times over the course of the day, but I had enough in reserve to make it. Interesting side note here – I had read a lot about how it was difficult to place more wood in the Brinkman Electric Smoker during use and I have to say that I did not find that to be the case. It was not the most convenient access point, but I found that a large pair of tons and some heavy gloves made placing the wood fairly easy.

After about 5.75 hours, the internal temperature of the brisket had risen to 186oF. I pulled it off and allowed the brisket to sit on the counter under tin foil for 1/2-hour before cutting it. The meat was pretty soft (note to self: buy a good knife, your kitchen is full of crap utensils). The smoke ring was great. We added homemade mashed potatoes and broccoli to top of the meal. And, what goes better with BBQ than beer? A Sam Adams Summer Ale sealed the deal in that department.

Overall, I would say this first outing was a success. The brisket was soft and tasty with just the right hints of spice and smoke. My one complaint was that the brisket was not fall-apart soft. Next time I will probably allow the internal temperature to rise to 200oF or so to obtain a bit more softness. I also need to get a better knife – I had to cut a few pieces too thick in the middle just because my knife wasn’t sharp.

All Prepped and Ready

All Prepped and Ready

Overall, two thumbs up!

She's Ready!

She's Ready!

Smoke Rings

To Wash It All Down!

To Wash It All Down!

2 responses to “We Have Takeoff!

  1. Sam Jacobs 30-April-2010 at 3:52 pm

    Looks delicious! Did you save me some? Kristina & I got this carving set from Crate & Barrel as a wedding gift. I haven’t used it yet. as I’ve had nothing to carve. That’s what you need though. Not that expensive, but worth every penny (from what I’ve seen).

  2. Dan 30-April-2010 at 4:03 pm

    You’re definitely way too late for leftovers, but I will definitely do another one (or more) this summer. I’ll make sure you’re on the invite list for that. Looking at some spare ribs this weekend. The adventure continues.

    Thanks for the heads up on the carving set. We actual have a nice Henckel set, but I always forget about it. I’ll have to dig it out next time.

    Safe travels home.

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