Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hog Town Creek Smoked Brisket

The brisket I smoked yesterday was heavenly and I could almost hear Peggy Lee singing "Fever" when I took my first bite.

Before I forget, this is how I cooked it:

I prepared Java-Cinnamon Spice Rub from the excellent cookbook on cooking grass-fed meats, "The Farmer and the Grill" by Shannon Hayes ( Her recipe is superb as is the rest of her cookbook. Buy it.

2 T. ground coffee
2 T. chili powder
2 t. black pepper
2 T. sea salt
2 T. ground cinammon
2 T. unrefined, or partially refined sugar

Rub the spices all over whole brisket pressing the spice mix into the meat and fat. Wrap the brisket in clear cellophane wrap and refrigerate for 2 days or more.

Remove the brisket and bring it to room temperature when ready to cook.

I get started at 4 a.m., though 2 or 3 a.m. would be better. Allow an hour to crank up your wet smoker before putting the brisket in the smoker. I usually do this stage with minimal sleep and go back to sleep once the meat is cooking.

Prepare the wet smoker by lighting the coals in a chimney coal starter. Do not use any lighter fluid. Let the coals go to full flame and, as they begin to settle down, add them to the coal pan 3/4's filled with briquettes.

Fill the smoker's liquid pan in the smoker with 1 liter of Coca Cola, fragrant spices/herbs, topped off with water. Place brisket on top rack fat side up and cover. After fire burns down some, add oak or hickory. I use fallen limbs and twigs from my back yard trees. Soaked chunks or chips would work. You want a healthy head of smoke. I add wood and stir my coals as needed during the smoking process so that I can maximize the smoky flavor. Check your liquid every two hours or so to be sure it does not boil away.

I smoked my brisket for about 8 hours. I removed it and put into a heavy cast iron casserole and poured some of my favorite barbecue sauce over the brisket. I use the famous sauce from Archibald's Barbecue in Northport, AL (I buy it by the gallon when traveling through Tuscaloosa.). It is not available in markets so, if you are not able to buy it in person in Alabama, use a vinegar-ish red sauce or make your own. I would not use a sweet sauce. Depending on your tastes and your guests, apply just a small amount of sauce for Texans and more for everybody else.

Set your oven or grill to a consistent 225, maybe 250 degrees and cook the meat another 4-6 hours depending on your schedule. Cook the covered brisket until about 45 minutes before serving.

Remove the brisket and let it sit at least 30 minutes. Many let is rest longer from one hour to 2-4 hours. Others carve at 160 degree temp.  Carve with an electric knife and always cut across the grain as you slice.

Apply sauce as you see fit at the table. Bring the brisket to the table and sing a few bars of "Fever" as your guests serve themselves.

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