Thursday, June 27, 2013

Eating Out a Fresh Taste of a New Season

Summer's greetings intrepid readers!

So as I've previously noted, the season has changed!  And with it, we find new excuses to escape outside to burn animal flesh that we somehow didn't feel justified embarking upon when the weather was slightly less fucked.  There's nothing I prefer more than being able to experience alcohol poisoning AND a severe sunburn.

And how better to burn yourself to a crisp, than to take a 16 pound beef brisket to task over your lovely smoker?  I mean, who has lived until you have to discover how to make fire not so damn hot to be able to cook your expensive meat hunk in the stately manner that you want?  Nobody, that's who.  Now let's look at that beautiful bitch in the raw.

Ain't she purty?  That's a home made rub, mostly consisting of salt, garlic powder, paprika, some dried chiles, black pepper and a wee bit of thyme.  We trimmed a couplefew pounds of fat out of her and slapped on the rub while we made the...

FIRE!  This is a 12-16 hour cook.  So a good coal bed is important before you get started.  It's also wise to go ahead and set up a drip catching system in your cookin' chamber, because this baby is gonna bleed sauce all day.  Okay, just one more.  It was a helluva fire.

Okay, it's hella sexy.  But we're calming down.  Making embers and setting up for low and slow cooking in heat that could cook the meat by itself.  The heat is really just for the wood flavor if you've got a big black iron smoker in mid-Fres-ummer.  So get 'er going and then chill that badboy out.  While you're fighting your well set fire, maybe look at injecting your brisket with some beef broth and a few spices, maybe some bay, thyme, scotch whiskey, you know, whatever.

That's nice.  Sorta like pre-cook plastic surgery.  Slapping 30cc flavor tits on your brisket before you put it to the fire.  Wait, fire?  Sure we can do just one more.

Ain't it pretty?  But now, we must take our carefully tended patient, all pumped full to bursting with extraneous juice and meander it towards our hopefully smokey, yet 180 degee smoker.  We were lucky to get it down to 250 for the opener.  Your mileage may vary.

And now comes the waiting and the drinking.  Or the drinking and the waiting, depending on your priorities.  Mine of course, lean towards the latter.  So in the meaty slab goes, to be gently tickled by my mesquite charcoal until she meanders up and towards 150 degrees.  That's gonna be hella important right after this picture.

Yup, that's what she looks like at 150.  And here is where we throw on the Texas crutch.  I'm sure there are 50 names for wrapping a big hunk of smoking meat in tin foil so that it'll continue to gain heat even as the water starts to evaporate from the muscle, which is primarily why an untended meat primal takes all damn day and night rather than just the lion's share of a day.  And here's a super secret!  Don't take that dang foil off until it's done!  We stripped ours at 185 and watched the meat drop back into the 160's and park there for an hour.  Use direct heat to stiffen up the bark after the cooking is done friends.  Learn from my three hour mistake.  But even then, my mistake looked like this...



And here's what she looked like after another 3 hours of proper cooking and a good rest.

Here comes the slicing...the drunk, drunk, slicing

And just a little proof that I can cut more than two, juicy, perfectly smokey and tender slices...

And so friends, I wish you a happy opening to summer!  No full recipe for this one.  Just the advice to put together your own rub, tend your fire carefully and watch the thermometer in the slab until she gets around 201-205 degrees and don't take that damn foil off!  However you do it, it's a wonderful experience to have a beef entrĂ©e for three full days for 4+ people at less than $2.50 per hungry mouthface.

Happy Summer Fresnish peoples near and far.  Now make with the cooking!