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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!