Ed absolutely ROCKED his first brisket! All that book learnin' really came in handy.
Above you'll see the six pound brisket just minutes after it came out of its resting place. After it had been smoked for almost six hours, Ed took it out of the smoker, wrapped it in foil, and put it back in the smoker for two more hours. After that, he placed it in an insulated cooler for another two hours.
I had the honor of cutting the first slice.
I've gotta tell you...it smelled divine. Ed seasoned it only with kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. I pulled off a crispy nub even before I started slicing, and it was super tasty.
When I initially trimmed the brisket the night before, Ed instructed me to leave a quarter to a half-inch of fat on it. You can see that layer of fat in the two photos below. Once it was on our plates, the thin strip of fat easily peeled away. The few pieces that clung to the meat enhanced the taste. If you're not aware of this little fact, let me fill you in.
In addition to the tasty fat, a smoked piece of meat will have what's called a "Smoke Ring". You can see it in the photos above and below. The smoke ring, usually pink or red in color, becomes easily visible on the edge of the piece of meat and is what happens as the meat absorbs smoke, usually until it reaches about 140 degrees internally. The slower you cook the meat, the more smoke the piece of meat absorbs. The smoke flavor comes from what kind of wood or pellets you use. It happens whether you slow or fast cook the meat.
It is said that the sign of great barbecue is the presence of the prized band of rosy red around the edges. If that's there, you have arrived.
I'm going to come right out and say, having tried brisket at several barbecue joints across the country, that Ed has completely arrived with this piece of brisket. On. His. First. Try. It was truly amazing.
Perfectly seasoned with a gorgeous crust, each thin slice fell effortlessly off the knife. It was so incredibly tender and flavorful - and this was before putting on his homemade barbecue sauce! The meat just fell apart.
I served it sliced, but it can easily have been shredded or chopped like some 'cue joints do it.
This was an entirely successful and delightful smoked meat meal. We served it to my mother and friend Kim the way they do it up in Texas - with a stack of Texas Toast, sliced white onions, BBQ sauce warmed up in a squeeze bottle, baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad.
We stuffed ourselves.
Here's the recipe for the barbecue sauce that Franklin Barbecue uses. They bottle it, sell it, and put it on the tables in their restaurant. But you don't have to go to Austin to get it, you can whip it up in your own kitchen. Doesn't get easier than that.
REGULAR BARBECUE SAUCE
Makes about 3 cups
1 3/4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershite sauce
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and warm gently over medium heat, stirring occassionally. There is no need to bring the mixture to a boil, as the idea is just to warm it enough to melt and integrate the ingredients. Once you have done that, remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar, bottle, squeeze bottle, or however you want to store it. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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2015: He Really Is A Carpenter
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