In an impulsive moment I bought a brisket.
I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was unwilling to admit it. So when the kid at the butcher shop asked if I wanted a whole one, I said sure. I then staggered out of the butcher shop with 12 pounds of brisket, but fortunately that was balanced out by the consider number of dollars I left at the butcher shop.
I got that big slab of meat home and looked at it. I’d never seen such a thing. I thought a brisket was a nice rectangular slab of uniform thickness. This was 5 inches thick on one end as it tapered to point. There was fat 2 inches thick in spots. What do I do with this thing?
Being a modern fellow I turned to the internet . I quickly found a video showing how to separate the point from the flat and I was off and running.
I trimmed the excess fat from the point and the flat and trimmed them up. Debbie and I cooked the fat down…
and made suet for the birds.
Debbie mixed sunflower seeds in with the suet while it was still liquid.
The meaty trimmings we ran through the meat grinder and made hamburger.
It was so ridiculously delicious that we’re thinking we’re going to start buying cuts of meat and grinding our own burger.
I took the point, put a dry rub on it overnight, and then smoked it in my Jay Rosswurm Signature Big Stone Cooking Area for 8 hours.
As has been the case this year, it was so cold outside that I had trouble keeping the temperature up in the smoker. So after smoking it for 8 hours, I wrapped the brisket in foil and finished it the oven for 3 hours at 300 degrees so I was sure it cooked through.
It was mind-boggling delicious. Rich, tender, and smoky. That’s only half the point above. We devoured the other half in a frenzy before I remembered to take a picture.
With the flat I made corned beef. I cured the beef in brine and spices for 10 days in the refrigerator, and then braised it on the stove top for 3 hours with cabbage and potatoes.
I’d only ever had grocery store corned beef, which I love, but it’s mainly just salty. This corned beef is spicy, not salty. Not ‘hot’ spicy, but redolent of cloves and cinnamon and allspice spicy.
By happy coincidence the corned beef was ready on St. Patrick’s Day, so we enjoyed it with a couple of Killians!
Rinse the brisket and pat it dry.
Rub it with a mix of salt, chili powder, and sugar. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, etc, as you like.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day unwrap and smoke with indirect heat for 8 hours or so. Use a mix of woods for smoking for a rich, complex smoky taste.
If, like me, your smoker doesn’t hold the temperature at 250 degrees or so, finish the brisket, wrapped in foil, in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
Allow the brisket to rest for 15 minutes to an hour or more, and then slice thinly across the grain.
Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt petre
1 cinnamon stick (crushed)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon peppercorns
8 allspice berries
12 juniper berries
2 bay leaves (crumbled)
1/2 teaspoon ginger
You can play with spices all you want, but don’t mess with the ratio of water, salt, and salt petre unless you’re fond of botulism.
Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Then let it cool to room temperature.
When it’s cool put the brisket in and put a plate on top to keep it totally submerged. Refrigerate for 10 days, checking it every day to make sure it’s still submerged. Give it a a shake or a stir when you check it to circulate the brine.
After 10 days, remove the brisket and rinse it.
Put the brisket in pan and cover it with water and a few onions, carrots, and celery and cook on the stovetop for 3 hours.
Add some cabbage and potatoes after about 2 hours if you like.
I’d of been much better off if I had consulted with my high school buddy Jan Ernst who works at the meat counter at Egolf’s IGA and is a magician with a knife and a piece of meat.