Tuesday, September 1, 2009
How to Smoke a Brisket - Another way, Marinated
Yesterday, I blogged about a terrific recipe from Steven Raichlen's HOW TO GRILL book for Smoked Brisket. I am cheap, cheap, cheap. I refuse to buy a trimmed brisket flat for nearly twice the price of a whole untrimmed brisket. Also, I try my best to buy meat when it is on sale. I have 3 whole briskets in my fridge now, even after cooking these earlier this week. I simply was not going to go out and buy a new trimmed brisket when i could easily trim this myself. So, I was able to follow Steven's recipe, and you can get those details by clicking HERE. AND, I was able to have half a brisket I could prepare a different way.
I let Steven have the flat (as per his recipe). SO, I had the thicker half of the brisket. It also has the point, and has veins of fat running through the meat. It is a little tougher to cook than a flat. many people will slice the point away (the top of this section), leaving a piece similar to the flat I talked about yesterday.
But I didn't. I wanted the thick piece. I had plenty of time to cook, and I wanted to experiment a little. I am not a competition BBQer. I am not cooking for pride, I am cooking for friends and family. i cook to entertain. Those people will politely listen to your cooking technique, and you can actually watch their eyes glaze over while you explain nitrates in meat and where a smoke ring comes from. What they really want is to taste your efforts. they want taste, tenderness and juicy meat. They don't care if you break the rules, or cheat a little bit to achieve a great tasting, very tender and extremely juicy piece of meat.
So, in the opinion of BBQ/Smoking purest, I broke the rules, cheated and manipulated my way to a great end result... To my guests, they left impressed. Here's what i did...
I used a terrific product, Cajun Injector to inject the meat. The package I bought had the needle and syringe, as well as a jar of spice, plus a Honey Praline flavored butter. For this size piece of meat, I was only going to use about 4 tablespoons (two syringe fulls). So, instead of contaminating the leftover marinade, I poured what I needed into a bowl and loaded the syringe from the bowl. The jar says it will keep in the fridge for several weeks (gosh, I hope I am going to cook some meat between now and when it goes bad).
Injecting is very easy. Stick the needle in as far as it can go, push in the plunger 1/2 inch. Pull the needle out about half way, push the plunger in another inch. Find another spot on the meat, repeat, refill the syringe when you need to. Just work your way around the meat, getting as much liquid in as you can.
The meat practically oozes liquid out of every pore. It is best to let the let rest for at least an hour in the fridge before you start adding a dry rub (cause if you do it right away, it is more likely a wet rub). As it was, the rub was sucked in much faster than with the meat I blogged about yesterday.
BTW, speaking of rub, I used the same rub Steven instructed me to make yesterday. I doubled that recipe (more meat), but I also cut open the little jar of spices that came with the meat injector and added those spices to the rub. Blended tastes great!
OK, into the smoker, low and slow... 225 degrees, I used Mesquite wood (if I had any Pecan, I would have used it, but Mesquite is great for Brisket). It took about 15 hours to get to an internal temperature of 185. The whole time, I used a mop sauce of beer and vinegar (and crushed red peppers). I mopped every hour for the first two hours, and then only twice more when I replenished the coals.
As to which was better... Honestly, tough call. I do think Steven's piece of meat was the choice meat, less fat to dodge, and certainly easier to reach temperature as the flat is... flat and even. The injected piece was certainly tender and moist. the smoke ring was smaller, but that does not affect the taste at all, just bragging rights and aesthetics.
I guess, bottom line, If I were just cooking a flat, I would cook without marinating. If I were cooking an entire brisket, I would inject again. Either way, these tasted great!
So take a look at today's finished product and yesterday's...you can judge the looks (and when you dream, visions of brisket dance through your head)...