Thursday, January 15, 2015

When it is done right, I enjoy a Texas style Brisket, especially with a a California Old Vine Zinfandel! Read how now!

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a California Old Vine Zinfandel and BBQ. I enjoy a Texas style Brisket, especially. In a Zin you get certain characteristic that play off well with Brisket.

Zinfandel is ripe and rich, sometimes even port-like Blackberry; Ripe Raspberry and Plum. Plenty of Alcohol, Generally Zins ripen well, with plenty of sugar, causing ample of alcohol that you can often smell the “heat” in the wine’s bouquet. There is Spice/pepper, Tobacco leaf and hints of Cedar and those ripe tannins.

Let’s get into the Brisket…

Wikipedia defines Brisket as follows:

...a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef primal cuts, though the precise definition of the cut differs internationally. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue

FYI - The Brisket is below the Chuck and above the Shank part of the steer…

I enjoy cooking brisket. When it is done right it is a very enjoyable piece of meat. One thing I have always liked to do is cook hot and fast. I have had good success with getting the meat tender however is the thing I hunger after almost as much is that thick, crispy black bark on the outside.

Occasionally, I sometimes I go tropical and wrap it in 'Banana Leaves' and that thickens the crust to a chewy consistency that is pretty unique especially with a dash a pineapple but that's a metro approach to rocks! It's the Florida thing, you know...

But essentially, I've been applying mustard to the meat before my rub and getting a real nice bark that way. By the way, EVOO and mustard don't add much flavor; the mustard works better for me. I use fruit juice, beer, cider, garlic mop….

Also lately, I apply a paprika too (hot because of the smoke effect) and customize a chili rub along with some EVOO and the mustard, which I like these days as well.

…Just so you know you will still get bark with just the rub if you cook low and slow.

I don’t recommend foil. Leave that off all together. But keep it handy just in case… Generally, wrapping in foil will steam the outside creating a soft bark or crust. Foil is really to prevent burning…

In the smoker I keep a Pizza stone handy. Sometimes I replace the water pan with a pizza stone. I keep the temperature low and cook slow. Be aware with the Pizza stone the chances are it will cook a little bit faster. The brisket needs to be cooked fat side up.

It’s important to keep an eye on things or the crisping is going along. I plan to take it off after 10-11 hours or 190 degrees internal temperature to 203 degrees. It is not easy to get it to that temperature cooking at only 205-240. So you need to cook at 275 – 285 degrees or a little higher if you can without burning the meat… By cooking like this you will get good bark on it as well.  But at the higher temperature the total cooking time should be 6-7 hours. So keep an eye on it.

Yet there is a charred flavor that can only be obtained on an open flame. Which is the only drawback I think, of a smoker. It’s a flavor that could be overlooked. So to crisp and get the charred flavor again it is gotten by cooking meat slow, directly over an open flame. When the fat from the meat drips on the hot coals it causes the coals to flame up. And the fire from the flame chars the fat on the meat; which often requires you to move the meat around.  It’s a lot of work but you get that open pit flavor.

Enjoy and Cheers!




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