If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

First Time Brisket

Two briskets were donated to me for deer camp chow.  I was originally going to do them in my smoker
but I haven't created a way to smoke for a long time at higher temps.  I needed at least 8 hours at 225.
I could do that with propane but that's a lot of propane and it's expensive.
So I rigged up my propane BBQ grill to get the job done.

I took the grates out of my grill.  I have an adjustable splatter guard on my grill so I used that and laid it directly on the burner elements in the bottom of the grill.  Next I used some metal and formed two pockets on each side of the grill.  I filled these with charcoal and lit it via WPT (wicked propane torch).
While the coals were busy ashing over I filled a pan with apple juice and place it on the bottom between the two charcoal pockets.  It would sit directly under the brisket. I took one of the grates I had removed earlier and placed it in the center section. 

Any grill can be converted like this.  I used two pieces of flashing for the pockets. Just bend them into an L shape and use the grill as the opposing side.  Use any piece of metal for the bottom as well.  Except for treated metals.  Galvanized and the like.  Be careful of aluminized metals as well.  I suppose if you don't have any metal around you could rig this with aluminum foil.   You could also steel some of mommas bread pans for charcoal pockets if your brave enough.  I stold one for the apple juice tray.  She won't know until she reads this and I will have it back in the cupboard by then. LOL

I had two briskets one of them was supplied with it's own rub.  Thank You Texas!
The other, thank you Grover, I created my own rub using Tony Cechceros cajun seasoning, chilli powder, seasoning salt and a touch of fresh ground blackpepper.  I rubbed them first with a dab of olive oil then rubbed the seasonings liberally all over them.

I trimmed the briskets so there was only about a 1/4 inch of a fat cap on them.
Let them come up to room temperature and sent them on their merry way.

This picture was taken at 12 noon.  The temp had stabilized at 235 ish.  I'll be honest you really have to watch your temps with this set up.  Adjust air flow as needed.  I just propped the lid up when it became to hot with a chunk of steel.  Every hour on the hour for 6 hours I would put a new batch of hickory chunks directly on the coals.  These were soaked in water so they didn't burn up as fast. You can see them in the pic above.

Just about every hour or hour and a half I would add more charcoal
Instead of leaving the lid up while the black burned off the charcoal.(I didn't want the fumes to contaminate the meat)  This usually takes 5-10 minutes.  I used the WPT.  I had the charcoal nice and grey in about two minutes.  Minimizing heat loss to the meat.
Here is hour number 2

Every hour I would flip the brisket and mop it with a mixture of orange juice, apple juice, honey and sugar.
This kept it moist and the sugars combined with the rub on the meat made for a very nice bark.
Hour number 3

The dripings/splattering you see on the right side metal is not from the brisket.  This piece I used as a drip guard in my smoker.  Again on the hour I flipped, mopped and added wood or charcoal.
Big Brown Dog was there as usual.  He loves to cook!!!

Hour number 4

By hour number 5 it looked the same so I stoped taking pictures.  The meat was in it's holding stage.  This is where you need to break it.  Patience is a virtue.  Internal temps leveled off and it seemed as though nothing else was going to happen.  It looked and smelled done.  It felt done.
It wasn't finished yet.  You need to break down the collagens inside the meat.  Time and temp is the only thing that will do this.  Let it ride. As long as your moisture levels are good you can smoke away.
All of this information I gleaned off of the internet by the way.  I am a true first timer at brisket. 
I took everybody's experiences and used them.  It's hard to trust when the meat is screaming at me that it's done.  I am a push tester for meat.  I don't use thermometers I just push on the meat with my finger.  The firmness of the meat tells me when it's done.  This was telling me done.  So I trusted all of you folks out there and I was not let down.  After hour number 6 I quit adding hickory chunks.    During the whole process I kept the temps between 200 and 235 with an occasional spike up to 300 if a piece of hickory caught fire.
At hour number 8 Texas came over and we brought one in the house.  He carved off a piece and pronounced it done.  As you can tell by his name he is not from Ohio.  He knows BBQ!
I was secretly estatic when he said it tasted good.  "Nice job Bushman"
I wrapped them in foil and placed them back on the grill to finish out.  I would let them set on the grill while the charcoal burned out.  I let them stay out there over night.  It's just as cold as my fridge.
They will stay encased in their tinfoil sarcophagus until I deem them ready for sacrifice on Sunday afternoon.
Tune in for the deer hunting posts.  It will probably end up a mini-series.  Final pics of the brisket will be seen on those blogs.  All in all it was a successful smoke.  With the help of all of the internet info and Texas I think it went well.  Although Big Brown Dog just doesn't have the stamina for a 10 hour cooking sessison.

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