Friday, July 6, 2012

Brisket for the 4th of July

I actually did this on the 3rd of July when we were expecting family (kids and grandkid!) Power was out so I could not blog but fortunately I could smoke. Here is an account of the brisket.

I started with a 6 3/4 lb brisket from Sams. I found it to be reasonably well trimmed (not a 1/2" fat cap like some previous purchases.) I again went with the coffee rub describd by Steve Raichlen and aso made up a lbatch of Red Eye BBQ sauce. Some day I may try something different, but for now these work well for me. I applied the rub about 8:00 AM. On the smoker I tried something a little different this time. I smoked the meat fat cap down with a couple strips of bacon on the top of each piece of meat.

Weather was hot - 80° in the morning and mid nineties in the afternoon. Sun was hot and wind was calm to very light breezes. It was not a good day to play outside but was an excellent day to smoke.

This cook will go on the mini-WSM and the brisket was cut in half into two approximately triangular shaped pieces to fit the 14 1/2" grates. Fire was using lump along with some mesquite, oak, box elder and apple for smoking woods. I lit some lump on a charcoal chimney and put that on a Minion lay at 8:45. At 8:55 I closed up the smoker and set the bottom vent to about 1/3 open. I'm also trying a new lid thermometer which projects a little further into the cooker than the last one. It should provide better readings. Grate and meat temperatures are using a Maverick ET-73. The stainless water bowl is about half full of warm water.

timetemp comment
9:05 AM158°/?/? grate/lid/meatMeat on! Shortly after putting the meat on temp spiked at 325° but a recheck indicated that the grate probe had slipped down and was just above the space between water bowl and cooker, just above the fire. Dome temp at that time was about 150°.
9:48244°/180°/102°Looks good.
10:14194°/170°/132°Dropping a bit too much, open bottom vent to about 1/2.
10:50206°/185°/154°Looking a little better.
11:54200°/?/170°Time to stir the pot fire. Added some more oak and 
1:02200°/170°/172°Open bottom vent full.
3:10280°/200°/185°Looks like the fire recovered and perhaps the water boiled out of the pan as well. Anyway, probed the meat and it seemed tender enough so I took it off.

Results: Everyone liked it. It seemed neither drier nor more moist than previous smokes. Putting the fat cap down probably matters more when there is no water bowl between the meat and the fire. It also could have been more tender, but slicing across the grain means that makes little difference.

What to do differently next time: Make more Red Eye sauce! Cindy used it up already. Need a double or triple batch I guess. I should try taking the meat to a higher temperature. Actually, since I had two pieces of meat, I could have taken one off and left the other on a little longer.

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