Here is a classic bbq rub that I really enjoy:
1/3 cup paprika.
1/4 cup brown sugar.
3 tbs black pepper.
3 tbs salt.
1 tbs any specialty salt of your choice.
1 tbs cumin.
2 tsp celery seed.
2 tsp garlic powder.
2 tsp onion powder.
1 tsp cayenne pepper.
I apply a generous amount of the rub and make sure that the whole cut of meat is covered.
Let’s talk about the brisket itself and what to look for when shopping. Beef brisket comes from the chest area of the cow. It is typically a tough cut of meat that requires slow cooking for a tender outcome. A brisket can vary quite a bit in size depending on the size of the cow and how your local butcher is selling his cuts. Some butchers sell the whole brisket, while others will cut it into smaller parts. For the crowd that I usually cook for, I prefer a modest 6-8 pound brisket. There are countless varying opinions on what to look for when buying a brisket, so I will be sticking to what my experience has taught me, as well as what has obtained, for me, the best compliments on the meal. A whole brisket typically has two parts, called the point and the flat. The parts are fairly self-explanatory when you look at a whole brisket. The point is the much thicker, triangular-shaped end, which transitions into the thinner, more rectangular shaped end. Contrary to the opinions of many other chefs, I prefer working more with the flat. There is a lot more fat in the point, which gives plenty of flavor, but if the brisket is untrimmed, there is plenty of fat left on the flat part for great flavor. I have found cooking with the flat to be much more consistent, and the compliments that I have received have been a lot better when I use the flat. The points that I have worked with have a lot of fat throughout the whole cut, which makes for a mushy outcome that a lot of people end up spitting out! Trust me, it’s not fun to spend a good twelve hours or so preparing a meal, only to watch people spitting half of it out on their plate! Don’t get me wrong, I still got compliments on the flavor, but the texture left a little to be desired. I have found smaller, whole briskets that were fairly uniform in thickness, and they turn out great. I try to avoid the humongous briskets where the point is about twice the thickness of the flat. That is where I run into problems. Unless you’re cooking for a very large crowd, you will not need a brisket that big, anyway. Even if you have a large crowd to feed, I would recommend smoking several smaller briskets. They handle much easier and produce a better outcome.
Let’s move on to preparation. This is probably the easiest part of the whole process. You want to start this early enough in the morning, so you have plenty of time for smoking the brisket before supper. I usually smoke a 6-7 pound brisket for about 10 hours. I’ll touch base a little more on this subject later on. I usually do not trim anything off of my brisket unless there are some discolored or dried edges. Go ahead and trim those off. I do not use any marinades prior to smoking a brisket. I use a dry rub and apply it just before I start my fire. Then, by the time I start my coals and let them ash over about halfway, the rub has had about 30 minutes or so to adhere to the brisket. It should look like this:
That’s it! Let it sit and go start your coals!
There are many different smokers, grills, and homemade cookers that you can use to smoke a brisket.
Now is the time to start your charcoal. Once your coals are about halfway through ashing over, and you have good heat coming off of them, go ahead and add some wood to the fire. There are currently six types of recommendable wood that I have used when smoking any type of meat. I have used apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, sycamore and oak wood. I have had good results smoking with all six of these woods. Hickory, mesquite, and oak produce a nice flavor, but also produces the smokiest flavor of the these woods and you have to make sure to not overdo it when using these types. You can actually get an overbearing smoke flavor that overpowers the meat. I would recommend a fire of about 3/4 charcoal and 1/4 wood when using hickory, mesquite, or oak. My favorite so far is apple or pear wood. While these types are not as easily obtainable (I happen to have two of these trees in my yard that have lost branches – they found their way to my cooker!) it is my favorite to smoke with. Apple or cherry wood produces a mild, desireable smoke flavor. I love the flavor put into the meat when smoking with either of these woods. Typically, any tree that bears fruit will produce a desirable smoke flavor. I usually cut the wood into chunks about 6″ long by 3-4 ” wide.
Cooking the Brisket
Now comes the fun part! Make sure your grill is hot and clean, and go grab the brisket. No matter what type of cooker you are using, make sure that the brisket is not too close the fire. You want to smoke with indirect heat or else the brisket will cook too fast and it will not turn out right. For more ideas on where to place the brisket while cooking, check out BBQ Smoker.
When you place the brisket on the grill, make sure that the fat side is up. What this does is allows the fat cap to melt down through the meat, keeping it moist and adding great flavor. I let the brisket smoke like this for 4 to 5 hours to give it a nice, smoky flavor. Now go grab some heavy-duty aluminum foil or an aluminum pan big enough to hold the brisket. I douse the brisket with some Worcestershire sauce and then pour a couple of beers on it. Beer will add flavor and moisture. Alcohol tenderizes meat, so this will help the texture as well. Now make sure the brisket is covered well and let it cook for another 5 to 6 hours.
If you have kept your heat around 225-250 degrees this whole time, you should come out with a tender, great-tasting brisket that pulls apart with a fork. The brisket should be noticeably tender after cooking for about 8 hours. I would recommend checking it at this point. If it still seems pretty tough, you need to get your heat to around 300-325 degrees for the remaining two hours.
If you are cooking your brisket in an oven, make sure you have a pan with a lid on it and a rack to keep the meat from swilling around in the juices. Put your rub on the brisket, put it on the rack in the pan with the fat side up, and let it set for about 30 minutes to let the rub adhere to the meat. Next, pour a couple of beers on the brisket and cook it covered for about 8 hours or until desired tenderness at around 225-250 degrees. Add a bottle of Worcestershire sauce about halfway through cooking.
That’s it! You now know how to smoke a beef brisket! I hope you enjoy this brisket recipe. Serving Suggestion:
Braising Made Easy
An example of a braised meal.
What is Braising?
Braising is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavor. Braising of meat is often referred to as pot roasting, though some chefs make a distinction between the two methods based on whether additional liquid is added.
Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to break down the tough connective tissue collagen in meat, making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Many classic braised dishes such as coq au vin are highly evolved methods of cooking tough and otherwise unpalatable foods. Pressure cooking and slow cooking (crockpots) are forms of braising.
A successful braiseing mixes the flavors of the foods being cooked and the cooking liquid. This cooking method dissolves collagen from the meat into gelatin, to enrich and add body to the liquid. Braising is economical, as it allows the use of tough cuts of primarily beef, although any tough cut can be successfully prepared this wa,y and is efficient, as it often employs a single pot to cook an entire meal.
Familiar braised dishes include pot roast, beef stew, Swiss steak, chicken cacciatore, goulash, Beef Short Ribs, and coq au vin.
Salt runs rampant through our diets these days due to an abundance of processed foods. I am a big fan of cooking with salt unless absolutely not necessary. That being said, I have used this mix for years and have never had any complaints. Many people are suffering from high blood pressure and are trying to reduce their sodium intake.
I love salt. I mean I really love salt to the point that if the food isn’t salted it isn’t worth eating. Did I tell you I LOVE salt.
I am trying to season my food with herbs and spices to give it more flavor so I discovered these recipes for a homemade herbal salt substitute–no, lets call it a homemade flavor enhancer!
BUT, There is more to seasoning food than adding salt. Sodium chloride or salt has an important function in our bodies, however many of us consume more than we need. The recommended daily value of sodium is about 2400 mg and for reference, one level teaspoon of salt has 2300 mg of sodium. Sodium’s purpose in our bodies is to regulate fluids, muscle contraction, nerve impulses, and blood pressure. If you consume too much sodium, your body will retain too much fluid around your cells increasing blood pressure. High blood pressure is a contributing factor to heart attack and stroke.
Flavorful Salt Substitute
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon powdered orange peel
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons onion powder
4-½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 ½ teaspoons citric acid powder
1 teaspoon ground dill weed
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon powdered lemon peel
½ teaspoon dried cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients in an electric blender, and grind them until they turn into fine powder. Store this flavorful salt substitute in a spice container with appropriate size holes, and keep it tightly sealed in a dark, cool location. With this tasty blend, those on a salt-free diet won’t miss regular table salt.
Spicy Salt Substitute
6 teaspoons onion powder
3 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons ground oregano
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 tablespoons mustard powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Combine these ingredients in spice shaker, and store it in a cool dry location. Use it to enhance the flavor of foods in place of regular table salt.
Zesty Salt Substitute
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
1 ½ tablespoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground dill
Place all ingredients in a blender, and grind them until they turn to fine powder. Place this zesty salt substitute in a spice shaker, and those who must eat salt-free foods can use it on their favorite fare to enhance the flavor without adding sodium to their diet.
Hello everybody! Welcome to the first of I hope many tips, tricks and suggestions used by professional cooks and chefs throughout the culinary industry.
Todays tip is one everybody has made, even me! It’s all about the infamous hiding tomato paste. All of you at one time or another have made recipes that call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste. The leftovers usually end up in the fridge, with the intent of you using it later that week. However, ‘later that week’ never seems to come around, and the lowly half or two-thirds can of paste continues to get pushed around in the fridge until the next time you are looking for something else, or spring cleaning. I’ve done it, so have you, BUT! There are ways to prevent this from happening. In this article I’ll tell you some of the ways to prevent this ever again including my favorite.
The first way, and probably ezest, is to empty the leftover paste on to a small sheet pan in one tablespoon measures, freeze and place in a zip lock storage bag. Then you have premeasured amounts ready for soups, stews and sauces.
The second method, which is basically the same as the first is using an old plastic ice-cube tray, spray lightly with Pam(i use the olive oil flavor here) and fill each cube with the tomato paste. It’s about the same one tablespoon. Again, remove from the tray when frozen and place in the zip lock bags.
The third method, which I like if you are going to use it, but not for a couple of weeks is putting the left over paste in a small jar with a tight-fitting screw on lid. This will keep the paste fresh for about two weeks.
The fourth method is the most expensive, but also the easiest to do. Buy the tomato past in a tube! That’s right, you can get at your local grocers, or on-line. This is the method I use, It has an unopened shelf life of up to two years, and is double concentrated, no muss, no fuss, use what you need, pop the rest in the fridge till you need it again. This is my favorite
I’ve used it for about ten years, and they have 8 or 9 different flavors, including garlic, roasted tomato, spicy tomato, anchovy, and others.
That’s it for todays tip, stay tuned for more tips, tricks and suggestions from me, Chef Bob