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Smoked Brisket With Caramelized Vidalia Onion Barbecue Sauce
Anyone who knows barbecue knows brisket. It is truly the big daddy of barbecue. Now I just treated myself to a brand new Weber Genesis grill and boy I am loving it (more on that later). But I would never cook a brisket on it. No, never. This tough piece of beef, basically it is a pectoral muscle, needs low, slow, smoky, love. Wow, odd snippets of Barry White just popped into my head…oh yeah…looooow…slooooow…baby!
Now the brisket is versatile. It is used as corned beef, pot roast, cut up for stews, pastrami, and is really big in a host of Asian dishes. For me, it is the true king of barbecue and I know a gaggle of guys who, by their own admission, just cannot make it. I don’t know what their issue is, but even some BBQ joints that I have been to serve up smoky, chewy, jerky-like, shoe soles, calling it brisket.
Yes, I have had my mishaps; once I made a brisket using too much mesquite wood and well, it tasted something like an isopropyl alcohol filled astray. I once used the leaner cut of the brisket and made shoe leather. I was determined to learn and at least brisket isn’t priced like tenderloin. It is cut just above the first shank for goodness sake; not a pricey piece of meat.
That cut in the picture above is not a whole brisket. I mean, it is totally brisket, just not the entire muscle. Brisket is typically an 11-14 pound piece of meat. There is only two of us here and I would have to give away a lot of that smoky goodness. I mean, I could spend 17 hours smoking that huge chunk of meat, but there was coleslaw to make. Whole brisket is actually two muscles with opposing grains. The “flat", or “first cut", is the lean cut. It has little marbling and fat. It makes for good pastrami. No one wants fatty pastrami. The second part is the called the “second cut", or “point". It is the most marbled and has more fat. It is the collagen in it that literally melts when slowly brought to temperature making the meat moist. The cut you see there is the second cut. Check out that large surface area of pretty fat. That my friends keeps the meat from drying out when subjected to long, slow, cooking.
Now I do have to confess that making a tasty brisket takes some patience. You will need to smoke this cut for about 1 1/2 hours per pound. The collagen melts at around 185 to 190 degrees-f. You don’t want to go much beyond that temperature though otherwise you will have jerky. Not to worry, at cooking temperatures ranging between 215 to 225 degrees, the temperature of the meat rises slowly. Once it hits 185 degrees, you will fall in lock step with Pavlov’s pooches in the salivation department, just anxious to get that meat out of the smoker and into your belly!
Like my ribs, I start my brisket with a dry rub which is pictured above. I rubbed it liberally with Dijon mustard to hold the spices then I mix and apply chili powder (thanks Krysta!), hot paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, lots of brown sugar, oregano, cayenne pepper, celery salt, and black pepper. And I do mean liberally. Then using cling wrap, that doesn’t cling to shit, I wrap the meat and refrigerate overnight. Remove the meat 1 hour before smoking and bring to room temperature.
I use wood all the way with barbecue. That smoke prep above is a bucket of hickory wood chunks and the charcoal is hard wood charcoal. Hard wood charcoal burns hotter, and faster, but much cleaner with much less ash. I used one 10 pound bag of hard wood and about 3 pounds of hickory for this application.
My patience is rewarded! Just look at that smoke ring. As you can see, it is juicy too!
I got the recipe for the caramelized onion barbecue sauce at Garrett’s Table
And leftovers were thinly sliced, gently warmed, topped with provolone cheese, and sauteed onions for a really great sandwich!
i don't do the smoker thing and i wish i did or could but it's just too much of a job for me and i just have my super duper hot gas grill.
you'll just have to send me some.
But this brisket totally makes up for your absence. Love the vidalias. They're like...my cousins.
FK: Thanks. Aren't those BGEs great? I've done some really good pizza on them.
Courtney: Thanks. Briskets are good stuff. Well worth the time and effort.
Claudia: Thanks. It was excellent, especially the sandwiches. No, Beck made German chocolate cake to go with.
Nik: Sorry about that. I was under a deadline and you know what, when you program computers all day, sometimes you don't even want to look at one when you get home. Gotta love the Vidalias. You should really try that sauce.
Elle: Thanks. The cling wrap, it's probably just me, but I get frustrated with it clinging to anything other than itself.
JS: Thanks. We do so love our BBQ!
But dang. We need a little foodie exchange over here.
And the sandwich looks almost as good!!
Krysta: Consider yourself now having a standing invitation to any of my barbecue. How's that? I still have more of your chili spice, but I'll hit you up when I'm out. You need to bottle that stuff, really!
Judy: Thanks! You know what, as many times as I've made brisket, I never thought of making those sandwiches. This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!
Lisa: Thanks for stopping by and joining in. I like the convenience of the gas grill but nothing says barbecue like a smoker.
Heather: S'up girl? That's right, beans and slaw, homemade of course. I'm down with the foodie exchange, especially with all that good stuf you're cooking up there in the Pacific N'West. African dishes and whatnot!
Kittie: Thanks. For me, burgers and drumsticks is grilling. BBQ has to have some smoke! :-)
low, slow, smoky, love
I can totally hear that in Barry White's voice. )" alt=")" class="middle" width="15" height="15" />
I love the darkest part, the outside ring. Love. And I'm a big fan of putting it on a sandwich above all else. Wonderful job, Don!!