Smoked Beef Brisket: Feeding the Active Writer (Who’s Got a Free Day).

A while back I bought a 30″ charcoal grill with a side smoker.  At the time I thought that certain other problems were near the end and it was on sale ($79, plus free shipping on Amazon Prime) so I treated myself.  And there it sat, with the box not even open since I didn’t have time to do anything with it.

I can’t find the one I got on Amazon now, but this one is close (and on sale now, although not as good a deal as I had before):

(You can click on the link to see the product listing).

Well, I finally pulled the thing out and assembled it.  I found a whole beef brisket at the store–a pretty expensive chunk of meat, but I did the math and, well, it will probably be cheaper over the course of the week than my usual fare.

So today I fired it up.  Hardwood lump charcoal (don’t care for briquettes) and apple wood pieces for smoke and got the fire started.  While the grill was heating, I trimmed the excess fat from the brisket. To season, I mixed equal amounts of coarse ground pepper, coarse kosher salt, and garlic powder in a mixing bowl then put them into a shaker.  I shook the seasoning from about 2 ft above the meat to let the seasoning “spread” and give me a moderate dusting over the entire brisket, flipping it to get both sides..

When I was done preparing the meat, I checked the temperature of the grill–about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  This was higher than I wanted but despite fiddling with the venting, I wasn’t able to get it lower with the lid closed.  So I decided to proceed.  I put the meat on the grill and…my remote readout leave-in meat thermometer was dead.  Well, it had been quite some time since I’d used it.  So I ran out to the store to pick up a replacement.  Came back.  Temperature in the grill had risen to 325.  Not what I wanted but…not much I could do about it.  However, once it had been running for a couple of hours, the fire burned down enough to get closer to my darget temperature.Note for future.  build a smaller fire to start with.  You can always make it bigger if needed.  This also means that this project is not a “start it, go away, and come back later to see if it’s done” event but something that requires frequent checks to ensure the temperature is where it should be.

In any case, I inserted the thermometer into the thick part of the meat, closed the lid again, and went away to do other things, while coming back frequently to check.

From time to time, I found that it stopped smoking.  When that happens, I open the firebox and drop in a chunk or two of apple wood, then close up so I can get more smoke.

Once the internal temperature of the meat reached 160 I removed it from the smoker and lightly dusted both sides with crushed rosemary:

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It already looks pretty good right there, but we’re not done yet.  I wrapped the piece up in peach butcher paper:

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And placed it back on the grill to continue smoking.  Temperatures somewhere in the 200’s as I didn’t really have better control of it than that.

After about another four hours of cooking, the internal temperature reached 190.  I opened the smoker in preparation for removing the brisket to let it rest  (you can see the leave-in thermometer):

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Let it rest 45 min before unwrapping and slicing.

After resting and unwrapping, we end up with this:

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And sliced:

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I was a bit nervous about cooking to such a high internal temperature–and that was at the thick part of the meat.  The thinner sections would be even higher–because in my past experience that usually left the meat dry and rather tasteless.  But the meat here was tender, juicy and full of beefy goodness.

I served up a couple slices on a low-carb tortilla with a small bowl of low-carb barbecue sauce (several recipes for that elsewhere on this blog) for dipping but truth to tell it didn’t need it.  The meat was more than capable of standing on it’s own.

So, not exactly an “active writer” recipe since it basically took all day (11 hours from first lighting the grill to slicing the meat) but definitely worth the effort and will feed me for some time.


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