Busy Time..

It’s been a while since I have had a chance to update the blog…..It’s been a busy summer. We are gearing up for our first family vacation to Florida in the next few weeks. We have just come off what for us has been the busiest couple of weeks of the year. Sam turned 2 at the end of June and we had family come in from all over. The weather at that time was perfect so we utilized the grill and tried a number of different things over the last few weeks…..it’s been pretty fun. I even attempted my first brisket and it for the most part turned out good.  I have done Everything from New Mexican Pork Tenderloin to Atomic buffalo turds.  Lately it’s been record heat here in St. Louis and we have really been trying to stay indoors as much as possible.
A few new things over the last few weeks….my first attempt at a true brisket and cooking for a crowd. Ali’s parents were in town for this one and who better to judge good brisket than people from Texas.  In Texas it’s all about beef. If you have ever been to a BBQ joint there you can find pork but it’s rare. I have never been a big fan of Texas BBQ for the simple reason to me I don’t think it has as much flavor as the other styles and you need loads of smoke and seasoning to “Help” get results. For the most part, Brisket that I have sampled has been on the dry side and further cemented my feelings on it.  On the other hand I can see how others feel the same about Pork…with all the injections and rubs used on shoulders and ribs. I still feel the actual meat has more flavor.
With that said….Ali purchased a 9lb brisket from Costco. There has been much talk online about the “Packer Cut” vs the “Flat” cut. The Packer is incorporates the Flat and the point sections and usually is left un trimmed. Here in Missouri it apparently is hard to find a true packer cut…most stores only stock the flat cuts and this was the story where ever I looked. To be honest I was not sure what I even had after we bought it…sounds stupid but really had no idea. From what I read….packer cuts are usually over 12lbs  and really are preferred for smoking as they don’t dry out as fast and generally produce a moist flavorful product. I was sure I had a Flat cut and we proceeded anyhow.
Prepping the brisket was the same as a shoulder or any other large roast. I used a seasoning that the in-laws brought up from Houston.  Here is a pic of the jar.

I slathered the brisket in mustard and applied a liberal dose of rub and wrapped it in plastic to hold overnight. The hard part was when to start the cook. All the info I was reading told me this would be an overnight cook but they primarily were talking about the packer cuts….I was sure I had a flat. I did not want to dry it out so the plan was a early morning start. I was completely burned out from the previous day and we had some spare ribs as back ups so that was that.
I ended up firing the Weber up around 6 am using the Minion method and tossed the brisket on the bottom rack and figured we would be eating around 6 or so.  
At about 1pm the ribs went on. I feel like I have this down pretty good and if the temps of the cooker do not fluctuate wildly the ribs usually turn out pretty darn good. I usually follow the 3-2-1 method and finish them over direct heat on the kettle. This helps to take away some of the moisture that the Steam/Foiling puts into the meat. It also has an effect on the sauce I use. The Tennessee Red Sauce tends to get a more complex flavor when you apply some heat to caramelize some of the sugars.  Highly recommend.
Anyhow…I was thinking that the brisket would not be done in time for dinner so I went ahead and foiled it along with the ribs. If you didn’t know…this does two things 1. It speeds cooking time by trapping the residual heat that’s in  brisket already and 2. It holds in the moisture that is being released by the meat.  In a way it’s almost like basting the brisket. Some feel that it makes the rub soft and mushy but I didn’t see any difference. Typical Brisket is cooked to 190F and while that seems high there is good reason. The reason for such high cooking temps is that it will give the meat a chance to breakdown all the nasty connective tissues and fats tenderizing the cut and transforming a horrible, nasty old cut of meat into a fine meal.
I was shooting for a dinner time of around 6pm…..the brisket it 188F around 4pm so I took it off and stuck it in the cooler to rest…still foiled of course.  Pulled the ribs off and prepared to feast around 6.

To my pleasure…..the brisket was amazing. Most of it anyway. There were a few flaws on my part. I think I should have let it smoke unfoiled longer instead of forcing the cook by wrapping the brisket. Even at 9lbs the rule of thumb at 225F is 1.5 hours per pound and mine was done in roughly 9 hours so it was a bit rushed.  Also cutting the brisket has a major impact on texture and taste. Slicing it should be against the grain for best results. The grain changes as you go so you need to pay attention. Let me clarify that the brisket itself had great taste and for the most part was not dry. The middle section was a bit chewy and my thoughts on that are that it didn’t spend enough time in critical temp zone to break down the tissues. Overall it was a success…..The Texans raved about it and that is a good test for sure. Ribs were fantastic as well……nothing new there!
Some Recent Items:
New Mexican Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Atomic Buffalo Turds
St. Louis Style Ribs

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