A date and a tough brisket

On Friday night I took Elise out on a date. I woke up on Friday morning, got ready for work, kissed Elise goodbye and told her we were going out to dinner that night.

My wife loves Italian food so I planned on taking her to Vespaio. We got to the restaurant at a quarter to nine and there was a two and a half hour wait. We turned around with no back up plan. We ended up at the Tree House Italian Grill on S. Congress. Elise had the roasted pork loin and I had the veal saltimbocca. The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. We should have waited until midnight to eat at Vespaio.

On Saturday we shopped for deck furniture.

I woke up early on Sunday set on smoking my first brisket. For many years I have sought true culinary enlightenment. I am a die hard Texan. I have never smoked a brisket.

I bought a small brisket the last time we went grocery shopping because the cut of meat looked so nice. It also provided me the opportunity to learn to smoke a brisket.

I did a little research last week and found what seemed like a great way to smoke meat. We don’t own an electric burner or have any spare terracotta pots so some supplies were needed.

While shopping on Saturday I looked for pots, grates and burners. I couldn’t seem to put together the smoker. We held off on shopping makeshift smoker supplies as we were deck furniture shopping. I decided to hold off on Sunday morning to get my supplies.

I woke myself early on Sunday with a vision. It wasn’t necessary to buy anything. I could make my own electric smoker. I wrapped my electric crockpot in foil and put it on the bottom of our gas grill. I ran an extension cord and plugged the crockpot in, put wood chips in crockpot, cranked it up and waited. I put the brisket in the grill and monitored the temperature with the remote thermometer that Steve and Joanne gave me for Christmas.

A few hours later, no smoke. An hour later, no smoke. My temperature was perfect but no smoke. I didn’t want to bake my brisket. If I did I would have done it in the oven and not out in the 100-degree outside heat.

My brisket needed smoke pronto. I hopped in the truck and headed to the ol’ HoPot. My plan was to buy a chiminea or a vase-like terracotta pot that would pipe smoke from its top. I would then use some sort of tubing to channel the smoke into the gas grill. I figured this would require some complex engineering, beer and duct tape.

I walked into HoPot and realized that this project would 1) be too involved 2) relatively expensive and 3) look pretty white trash. So I took the money I would have spent and put it toward a pre-assembled Char-Broil smoker. Man, that thing smokes.

Earlier that morning I rubbed the brisket with salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, garlic, fennel, brown sugar and coffee. I was envisioning the perfect brisket.

My first smoked brisket looked great but it was tough. Now it is my goal to smoke a tender, melt-in-your mouth brisket. I’m completely open to suggestions…

Smoke ring

3 Replies to “A date and a tough brisket”

  1. get a bigger brisket, with the fat still on it, and smoke it fat up… so the fat drips through the meat.

  2. marinate longer, put in in a zip lock with a bit of vinegar and your other seasoning; cook 1 hour for every pound at 200 degrees; keep it mopped with worcestershire, vinegar, onions, butter, lemon; moist meat makes tender meat. never smoked one, so that will vary results. do you have garage band on your ibook?


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