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Beef Brisket Take 2

Last year (almost a year to the day I find), I posted Smokin’ Chick’s Beef Brisket. I smoked another one recently-my husband says it was the best brisket he’s ever had!  He said the same thing  last time.  I guess I’m 2 for 2 on brisket.

Some people are intimidated by a brisket or any cut of beef that is known to be tough.  Low and slow with plenty of moisture is the way to cook those cuts.  My brisket was 8.33 pounds.  It was smoked on the grill just under 3 1/2 hours, then in the crock pot on low for another 8 or 9 hours.  It pulled apart quite easily and was very moist.  The rub gave it a nice coating and flavor that required no sauce (but I use sauce anyway).  If you don’t want it pulled, make sure you slice the meat against the grain and not with it.

Smoked Brisket Part 2 (7)

Just off the grill.

For the rub you will need:  allspice, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard and ground ginger.  Place the brisket over 2 sheets of plastic wrap, layered over each other at right angles.  I just sprinkled the spices over both sides of the brisket liberally and rubbed them in.  Wrap the brisket tightly and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.  Smoked Brisket Part 2 (8)

Smoked Brisket Part 2

Small piles of coals are for later

Pull the meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grill time, to relax the muscle fibers.  Prepare the coals and soak the wood you will be using for the smoke.  I used apple wood chips (I purchase the wood chips from Lowe’s if I don’t have any oak or cherry wood chunks from the trees on our property).Smoked Brisket Part 2 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the coals are hot, sear each side of the brisket 3-4 minutes to seal in the brisket’s natural moisture.  Opposite the coals, on the coal grate, place a foil pan filled with a liquid.  For this brisket, I used cranberry juice.  Once it is seared, move the brisket to the opposite side, fat side up, add more coals to the main pile and close the lid. 

Seared on both sides

Seared on both sides

The temperature peaked at 325 degrees F.  I had all vents on the lid and the kettle wide open.  If the temperature gets above 325, adjust the vents to regulate the temperature.  The more open the vents, the more oxygen and air flow gets to the coals.  Closing the vents a bit will decrease the oxygen and air flow, thus decreasing the temperature.  Once the temperature dropped below 250, I took the brisket off and wrapped it in foil to further cook and then cool. 

After 3 1/2 hours on grill

After 3 1/2 hours on grill

Smoked Brisket Part 2 (12)

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

I was saving the brisket for a later time, so it went in the freezer for a couple of days.  I took it out the day before I was putting it in the crock pot to thaw in the refrigerator.  For the crock pot, I kept the brisket in the foil, opening it, but forming a bowl from the foil.  I poured enough water around the bowl to provide enough moisture for a lengthy time in the crock pot, but not so much it would get into the foil bowl.  I did not want to take my brisket for a swim!  The brisket slow cooked between 8 and 9 hours.

Out of the crock pot

Out of the crock pot

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Grill Smoked Turkey Breast

Thanksgiving Dinner

Success!! If you saw my previous post titled Watch this Space, then you know I was planning to put our Thanksgiving turkey breast on the grill. I was not just successful, I was very successful. Best smoked turkey I have ever eaten!

I started this the night before, putting a 4.85 pound whole turkey breast in a brine.  A whole turkey breast is the bird without the legs, wings and thighs attached.  It still has a cavity.  Basically, a headless, legless, wingless bird.  It can be bought frozen or fresh, with or without giblets, neck, heart and liver.  I bought a fresh breast and purchased a couple of legs and livers, giblets and a heart for my stuffing (stuffing is what I eat, not filling or dressing).  For the brine recipe, see Beer Can Turkey.  I added ice to the brine after it had cooled slightly to bring the temp down quicker.  By the time I had gotten to the brine, I had already baked three pies, had the stuffing ready to go and made cranberry sauce.  I wasn’t in the mood to wait for the brine to cool so I could add the turkey.  I don’t know why I didn’t add ice before.  More water is added later anyway.

I cleaned out the grill the night before Thanksgiving (almost sounds like a Clement C. Moore poem).  Maximum airflow is a must.  I dumped a huge pile of coals on one side of the grill with a smaller pile next to it.  I also had a small stash of oak pieces available.  I did not have the wood soaking in water.  I just threw those right on the coals at the beginning and as needed later on in the cooking process.  When all of the coals in the big pile were nearly gray, I moved the smaller pile over to get those going.  Then I moved those on top of the big pile right before I put the turkey on.  I had plenty of heat for most of the cooking time doing this. 

 

 

 

 

 

 As you see in the lower left hand corner of the second picture, there is a foil pan.  I filled this with orange juice and water for my steaming liquid.  It caught the drippings from the turkey as well as the juices from the citrus fruits I added to the cavity of the turkey.  I stuffed the cavity with a quartered lemon, lime, half a small orange, 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed and a one inch piece of ginger, quartered.

Ginger, oranges, lemons, limes and garlic to be stuffed into the turkey breast.

Aromatics stuffed through neck of breast after it was placed on the rack on the grill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once everything was ready, the foil pan was filled, the rack placed on the grill and the turkey breast placed on the rack with one of the legs to support it (a turkey torso will not stay upright on its own.  It needs support-the leg worked well).  Then the lemons, etc. were stuffed in through the neck and a probe thermometer was inserted through the lower part of one side of the breast (if you do this, make sure it is not touching a bone and the end is still in the meat).  I added a couple of pieces of wood and closed the lid.

Ready to smoke!

Target temperature for poultry is a minimum of 165 degrees F. 170 is a better temp to shoot for.  It took about 3 hours and 40 minutes to achieve 168 degrees F on Thanksgiving Day where I am.  Outside temperature was in the upper 40’s to the low 50’s the entire time I was smoking the turkey.  It may have gone quicker with higher outdoor temps.  I added more wood twice and 8 briquets once.  The first time I added wood and briquets, I also covered the breast with heavy-duty foil to prevent further browning.  See below to understand what I mean.  If you have never had or seen smoked poultry, you might be surprised at the appearance.  But don’t be put off, wait until you see how it looks underneath!

Right off the grill.

 

Turkey leg.

            

Let the turkey rest 15-20 minutes before carving.  Resting allows the juices to be reabsorbed back into the bird.  Carving too soon results in crumbly, mushy slices. 

Perfection!

The only thing I will do differently next time:  I will take the legs off much sooner.  The smaller one was quite crispy!  The turkey breast was perfection!  Excellent smoked flavor, very juicy.  Definitely will do this again.  It helped make my Thanksgiving Dinner plate look like a work of art!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Asian Inspired Chicken

Delicious!  That is how I  describe this chicken.  A moist, tender, melts in your mouth, sweet and salty all at once, taste bud happy piece of meat.

You will marinate the chicken overnight or 6 to 8 hours before grilling.  The longer meat marinates, the juicier it will remain through the grilling process.  The recipe makes enough to marinate about 2 pounds of chicken. 

Ingredients: 

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp ground pepper

1 1/2  tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup each:  cooking sherry, soy sauce, vegetable oil (I used safflower)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix very well.  Place chicken in a resealable plastic storage bag and pour marinade over.  Seal tightly, removing as much air as possible.  Turn the bag until all of the chicken is coated.  Refrigerate until about 1/2 hour before grilling, turning once to be sure all parts of the chicken spend time in the marinade.

To grill:  Prepare coals for indirect cooking (see http://wp.me/p1ExcU-1B).  Make a small pile of charcoal near main fire, close enough for the main fire to heat the coals without lighting them.  These will be added to main fire before putting the lid on the grill.  When coals are ready, spread and put the cooking grate on the grill.  Drain the chicken, discarding the marinade (if you would like to save some of the marinade for basting, you will have to bring it to boil and boil for 2 or 3 minutes before using.   Marinades may contain bacteria that must be removed before using as a baste.  You should follow this rule as a safety precaution, no matter what you are cooking).  Place chicken directly over the high heat coals to sear, turning after 5 minutes to sear the other side.  The second side should take less than 5 minutes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When all visible pink is gone, move to chicken to opposite side of the cooking grate, with the thicker section of the chicken closest to the fire. 

 

Place reserved coals over main fire (those would be the mostly black coals in the picture above) and put the lid on the grill.  The vent cover will be directly over the chicken.  This allows the heat to spread out over the chicken before venting.  If the vent cover is directly over the coals, the heat will escape.  The chicken should be ready in about 25 or 30 minutes with the lid on the entire cooking time.  I served the chicken with foil potatoes and Fresh Express Pear Gorgonzola salad.  Delicious!

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Grilled Fruit

This was something new for me.  I had never grilled fruit before.  I’m not sure I have ever even eaten grilled fruit.   But, there is a first time for everything.  I had been contemplating trying it out for a while.  I finally tried last week and success or failure, I planned to let you know how it turned out!

This was a spur of the moment decision, so I grilled peaches and bananas, both of  which I happened to have. 

Prepare the grill for a medium to high heat.  The fruit will be grilled over direct heat.  I didn’t need a lot of coals.  Around 20 were plenty.  When the fire is nearly ready, slice the peaches in half, removing the pit.  The bananas do not need any preparation.

The peaches went on first, cut side down.  I decided they needed a little more time than the bananas as they are a firmer, fleshier fruit.  About 2 or 3 minutes after the peaches are on, put the bananas on the grill.  I turned the peaches over after they started to soften, around 6 minutes or so.  You can see the charring on the peaches in the photo.  This is due to the natural sugars present.  Sugars char when put to heat.  It’s not burnt and does add flavor.  I drizzled about a tablespoon or so of lime juice and honey over the peaches, allowing the liquids to pool in the space left by the pit.  The bananas can be turned around 5 minutes after putting them on.  Again, make sure they are softening before turning.  Total cooking time for the peaches will be around 12 or 13 minutes, the bananas 10 minutes.  The peaches will be soft all the way through, the bananas will feel “mushy” or like a thick custard.

After removing the peaches from the grill, you can leave them as they are or dice them up.  As you dice them or cut them as you are eating, remove the peel.  It will slide off quite easily.  Serve them still warm with vanilla ice cream, pound cake or as I did, with the bananas.  They were very tasty.

 

 

 

Slice open the banana peel to reveal a soft (but not falling apart), moist banana.  Cut into chunks and serve with ice cream, cake or with the peaches.  Slice it lengthwise and create a warm, grilled banana split.  I sliced mine lengthwise and added pieces of a dark chocolate bar (while the banana was still very warm.  The chocolate melted and became a yummy, gooey mess!), marshmallows (that my daughter roasted on the grill) and some coconut.  A delicious treat!

Pineapple would be another great fruit to grill.  I’m sure there are plenty more that would withstand grilling.  Try some yourself and let me know the results!

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!