Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BBQ Brisket

While a post roast is rather flexible in that either fatty or lean brisket will work quite well, a fattier piece of brisket will work much better on the BBQ. If you can find it, the ultimate cut of meat for this is Wagyu brisket. Wagyu is a hybrid of the breed used in Japan for the famous Kobe Beef. This meat has far more marbling than other beef and that quality will serve well for the dry heat of the barbeque. Failing that, look for a fatty piece of ordinary brisket.

The cooking process and cooking time will depend somewhat on what equipment you have for barbeque. If you have a true southern style pit smoker, well... I wish I were you!! If you have such an elaborate piece of equipment, I assume you would know a little something about barbeque, so simply put on a good rub, like the one below, and cook it on a nice slow heat for many hours (the time will depend on the size of your brisket but at least 4-6 hours - I am not so familiar with the time frames for this). If you have another type of barbeque, there is still a way to get a result very close to true barbeque. The problem is that most household BBQ’s are designed for hot and fast cooking, which is exactly the opposite of what you want for brisket. A charcoal grill will work better for this purpose than gas, especially because running a gas grill for 2-3 hours puts you at high risk of running out of propane part-way through. But the basic idea is that the coals will burning at the sides of the grill with the meat in the middle, so it is not directly over the heat. It will be subjected to a somewhat higher temperature than is ideal, but I find it works extremely well, especially if there is a lot of fat.

Dry Rub
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence or other blend of dried herbs
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp coriander
2 ancho chiles, seeded and ground
1-2 pasilla chiles, seeded and ground
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp demerara sugar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika

½ cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup dark beer
1 Tbsp dry rub
1-2 tsp soy sauce
black pepper

Barbeque Sauce

½ cup steak sauce (from July28, 2010 post)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp dry rub

Again, all the amounts and proportions for the dry rub are very approximate, I do all this by eye and taste, and it will also depend on the size of your brisket. You will need enough rub to coat the brisket, with two tablespoons left over to add into the mop and the barbeque sauce.

Combine all dry rub ingredients. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the brisket then thoroughly coat the brisket with the rub, massaging the spices into the meat. Refrigerate at least overnight, 24-48 hours would be even better.

When ready to cook, set up the barbeque. Pile the charcoal on either side of the grill and light. Make sure there is plenty of excess coals for later as they will die out before the brisket is done. Now our barbeque is set up with hinges at each side of the grate so they can be lifted up to add more coals without removing the entire grate. There are also dividers that can keep coals on the sides so they do not fall into the centre of the grill. You will still be able to do the recipe without these aids, it will simply be a little less convenient.

When the coals are ready, place a foil drip pan in the centre of the barbeque, then put on the grate and place the brisket over the drip pan and put the cover on. A 4-lb piece will likely take at least 3 hours, and each batch of coals will last about 1 hour. If you have a chimney starter you can light the coals before adding them to the barbeque, but this is not necessary as long as the coals are not fully burned out. Just add the fresh charcoal to the still glowing coals and the new ones will catch.

Make both the mop and the barbeque sauce. Simply combine all the ingredients for both the mop and the sauce.

After the first hour of cooking, begin using the mop. This mop is almost more of a vinaigrette and will add back much needed moisture, as well as cool down the cooking brisket, so it doesn’t burn. Baste the brisket with the mop every half hour after the first hour of cooking. Cook until the brisket feels very soft and yielding. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes then slice against the grain and serve with barbeque sauce ON THE SIDE ONLY and coleslaw. This reminds me that in the previous post I failed to mention that brisket should always be sliced against the grain, including for the pot roast.

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