Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Heat is On

(Sticky to the top through Saturday)

One of the minor frustrations stemming from my financial situation this summer has been the inability to afford a brisket to barbecue. It used to be a cheap cut of meat, but people have "discovered" it, and its cost is rising faster than a San Diego Condo.

Well, a friend of mine, a local reader of this blog who shall remain anonymous (per their request), has generously donated a brisket to me. It's not as big as the ones I get from the store, but it's of an obviously higher quality -- this person's source for meat rocks.

So last night, I started marinating it. Friday I'll pull it, apply the rub, let is rest overnight, and get to smoking on Saturday. I thought I'd update you all along the way.

Last night, I put the brisket in a stock pot, and added to that:

1 medium yellow onion, small dice
10 cloves garlic, peeled
cracked pepper to taste (lots)
5 sprigs rosemary
1 bottle minus one glass red wine (I used an Oregon wine from Girardet, Grand Rouge, it's patterned after a Cotes du Rhone.)
1 six-pack 5 4 bottles porter (I used MacTarnahan's Black Watch, Black Butte is also good)
32 oz. berry juice (a blend of cranberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup worcestershire sauce

So it definitely has a Northwest twist to it.

UPDATE: Friday Aug 03

Stage two is now under way. This afternoon I removed the brisket from the marinade. The outer layer of the whole thing went from the bright cherry red of meat to the purple-red of the wine. It's beautiful, but most of that will disappear into the smoke ring tomorrow.

The brisket I've patted dry, and applied a dry rub -- 5 parts turbinado sugar, 2 parts kosher salt, with a mix of herbs and spices: white pepper, paprika, ground sundried tomato, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, mustard powder, ground rosemary, ground oregano, ground cumin, ground sage.

I've strained the marinade, setting aside the rosemary twigs separately from the onions and garlic. I have plans for all of that stuff tomorrow.

UPDATE: Saturday Aug 04

At 9:30 this morning I fired up the smoker. While the charcoal was getting ready, I put the leftover marinade in a baking pan and placed it on the lower rack, to let it come up to temp with the smoker. Meanwhile, I removed the brisket from the fridge and let it rest, adding a little more dry rub to the top. When the smoker reached 275, I set the brisket on the top rack over the pan with the marinade. The rosemary from the marinade went in the firebox, along with alder and apple for the smoke sources. Throughout the day I'll be adding more of all three, though the rosemary will now be fresh, not that from the marinade.

1:30 PM

I just committed what is probably some form of heresy for Texans and true believers in their style of cooking brisket, but I discovered it a while back, and it really takes my brisket to another level: Setting the brisket to the side, I've lifted the drip pan up to the top rack, and have set the brisket into it. For the remainder of the time cooking it, it shall be braised (the sumberged bottom side) AND smoked (the exposed topside).

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