Posts Tagged ‘brisket’

Texas Food Blog – Part 3 – Epilogue

August 23, 2008

I’m back in LA now. It’s funny…I almost miss the humidity….almost…not quite, who are we kidding? I got off the plane and actually shivered…in August. I was like: “WOO-HOO…it’s chilly!” It was like 75 degrees. The flight back didn’t go quite as smoothly as the flight there. Oh, I knew it might be Hell but I really tried to make it as easy on myself as possible. You see, it was just Mags and I by ourselves this trip. Sean was there on the way up but left early. Maggie had been so good on the way there that I felt pretty confident going in. I really wanted to be prepared, though, so I left early and my parents dropped me off so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the rental car crap with a ton of luggage and a 7-month old.

Photobucket

At the airport, it was pretty empty. The lines for security were short…the security guys were helpful in the only way that southern boys can be. All: “Yes, ma’am…No, ma’am…Can I help you with our bags, ma’am?” I made it through with flying colors and they helped me put my stroller back together. I managed to go get something to eat and some bottled water for Maggie’s formula on the flight. Got my seat changed so that the person unlucky enough to have drawn the “window seat next to a 7-month-old baby” card could sit on the aisle and actually be able to escape in the event of an emergency. Even better, when I got on the flight, the one empty seat on the flight was in the row across the aisle and the now lucky man was able to move and give us the whole row to ourselves.

Photobucket

Oh, sure, the poor dude who happened to sit in the seat in front of Maggie couldn’t recline his seat back because of her carseat. Luckily, he bore an uncanny resemblance to Mohammed Atta.

Photobucket

For the first half of the 3-hour flight, Maggie was a perfect angel. There were a few other babies that were fussing a bit on the way up but I had timed it correctly and fed her the bottle on the ascent. She drank the whole thing and then happily sat back and played with her toys. I was momentarily taken aback when Maggie decided to ‘squeeze one out’ right after her bottle, but with a confident swagger, I threw her on my hip and inched my way to the potty and changed her before anyone noticed the stench. The seat belt light was still on and the flight attendants made a big point out of making an announcement pointing that fact out as people started to line up at the johns. (Yeah..sorry…shitty baby….gonna chance it.) It was a little bumpy. She was bouncing and sliding all over that pull-down changing table in the john. We managed though and made our way back to our seats. I was sitting there mentally patting myself on the back for having this awesome baby who LOVES to fly.

Photobucket

She continued to be a little sweetheart, flirting with everyone around us and cooing and gurgling. Then, about 90-minutes in…she got a little crease between her eyebrows and stuck her bottom lip out. I reached simultaneously for her pacifier (mute button), yellow duck (lovey), teething cookie (snack), Mylicon gas drops (maybe it’s gas), Children’s Tylenol drops (maybe it’s her teeth…or lack, thereof).

Photobucket

I started counting: 5…4….3….2…..1…..

Photobucket

AAAAGGGGHHHHHH…….AAAAAGGHHHHHHHH……COUGH…AAAGGHHH!!

She had just had a shit…I figured it wasn’t gas but I dosed her anyway. She had just ate…but I gave her the teething cookie. I dosed her with Tylenol because she’s been teething and I just assume she’s in pain. The pacifier and duck were insurance. Nothing worked. She kept screaming. I was starting to get looks. Yeah, you know the looks I’m talking about. You’ve given them. I’VE given them…in the old days B.M. (Before Maggie). The last shit ANYONE needs on a crowded flight is a screaming baby. Even the mom who had an infant who had been fussy and a toddler who kept running up and down the aisles gave me a dirty look because SHE had just managed to get her baby to sleep and now MY baby was going to wake it up. That’s how loud Miss Thing was for the next fucking hour.

I walked up and down the aisles….got lots of great advice too. “Maybe she’s teething?” Yeah….no shit…you think? “Maybe her ears hurt?” Mmmm hmmmm…didn’t think of that. “She’s just tired.” Yeah..well, aren’t we all. So….walked and walked up and down the aisles for an hour. If I sat down even for a second…the wailing started again. I threw her up in the air. I kissed her belly. I’d get her giggling for a minute and then she’s start that infernal wailing again. The Mexican guy behind me who didn’t speak a word of English but was very fluent in ‘baby’ kept making funny faces at her and that kept her happy for a while, God bless him. Mohammed Atta kept readjusting his pillow and impotently pushing his recline button.

I felt us start our descent. I sat back down and shoved the pacifier (mute button) into her mouth and held it there while her eyes bulged for the next 30 minutes until we landed.

Photobucket

Thankfully, Sean was there waiting with a luggage cart and flowers in the car. There were even more flowers at home. He just shrugged and smiled and said: “I got you flowers. I knew you were worried about the flight.” Awwww….sniff….I love this man. He deserves a good home-cooked meal, I thought, as I surveyed the pizza boxes and Chinese food containers in the fridge. I wonder what I’ll make, thought I, as I gathered empty beer bottles in my arms and shuffled over to the recycle bin.

Photobucket

Barbecue…definitely barbecue…brisket and ribs. I bought the meat at Gelson’s. I really like their meat and they’re always willing to cut if for me the way I want it. I also decided to forgo the steaming ahead of time and just smoke them for 6 hours. (albeit with a foil pan filled with beer below the meat). The brisket needed to smoke for at least 12 hours. So, first thing in the morning, after Maggie had her bottle and was happily ensconced in her swing in front of Spongebob Squarepants, I started my fire. I’m going to spare you the whole fire-starting lesson this time. Suffice to say, I just used Kingsford charcoal and hickory chips wrapped up in foil packets, as demonstrated in my previous BBQ blogs. 2 packets of chips for the ribs in the first 6 hours and then 2 more packets for the next 6 hours so the brisket would get that nice, pink ring to it.

So…starting with the brisket, try to get one with a good fat cap on it. It’s harder to find than you’d think. People LOVE dry-ass meat here. Jesus. If you’re going to the trouble of smoking something for 12 hours…fucking eat the fat, why don’t you. Suck it up.

Photobucket

I like to score the fat a little bit with a knife to allow it to render properly and to facilitate the spice penetration. For spice, of course, I’m using The Chachere on both the brisket and the ribs. But use whatever your favorite dry rub is and coat both the ribs and the brisket well at least a day before you plan to smoke. Score the fat on the brisket. Pull the silver-skin off the ribs in the manner that I demonstrated in my spareribs blog.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Now, I’m using an offset smoker where the fire is in a box to the left and the “pit” is the barrel to the right where you put the meat. I’m placing foil roasting pans filled with beer underneath the ribs. I’m putting the brisket IN a roasting pan filled with beer coming half-way up the meat for the first 6 hours to braise. Then, when I pull the ribs off at 6 hours, I take the brisket out of the braising liquid and move it over to the side of the grill where the drip pans are and then I baste with the beer for the next 6 hours.

Maggie is in her cowgirl outfit waiting patiently for this whole process to end.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Keep the temperature between 175 and 250 degrees….no hotter. Preferably as close to 200 degrees as possible. Add or subtract coals throughout the day to regulate the temperature. See my spareribs blog.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I pulled the meat from the fridge at about 9am to come to room temperature and started my fire soon afterwards. At 11am, I put the meat on and place a smoke packet on the fire. I checked the meat once an hour, being careful to do it quickly and not let too much heat out when I opened the smoker. After 3 hours (2pm), I place another smoke packet on. At 6 hours (5pm), I pulled the ribs, which were falling off the bone. I moved the brisket over to wear the ribs were, closer to the fire, and I added another smoke packet. At 9 hours (8pm), I added the last smoke packet and then I started basting the brisket with the beer/juices that it had been braising in earlier plus some sauce. I like a bit of black char on my brisket but not on my ribs, so I sauce earlier for the brisket. Again, try to keep the lid closed and check only once an hour. It’s nice to have a thermometer on your smoker that records the internal temperature of the smoker without you having to open it to see.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I made a barbecue sauce this time from scratch…not because I’m a snob…but because I was out of bottled sauce and didn’t feel like going to the store. It’s really good sauce, though. I got it from Saveur magazine:

Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground mace
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. paprika
¼ Cup white vinegar
½ tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 Cup ketchup
1/3 Cup dark molasses

Sift together allspice, cinnamon, mace, pepper, curry powder, chili powder, and paprika into a bowl. Stir in vinegar, then add hot sauce, ketchup, and dark molasses and mix until very well blended. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sauce may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks or in freezer for up to 6 months.

Don’t brush this sauce on until the last hour of cooking (for the ribs) because it will burn because of the high sugar content. You DO want to bake it on a little because it’s sticky.

Photobucket

Photobucket

We can’t possibly eat all of this ourselves. Luckily, Brian and Sara and JT were able to join us this evening. Sarah brought an amazing cardamom cake. I LOVE anything cardamom. I made some corn muffins with green chili and cheddar, grilled up some corn and threw together some beans with bacon and Louisiana Hot Sausage.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

JT had to work and couldn’t make it until later. Luckily, he was right on time for the brisket, which was finally finished at 11pm.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Mmmmmm….Sara’s Cardamom Cake…I’ve been eating it all week for tea:

Photobucket

Plenty of leftovers to go!

Photobucket

So, back to Thomas Wolfe and his assertion that you can’t go home again: Mmmmm…no, you can’t…not really. But that’s ok. You can bring a little bit of home with you…albeit, to a much better climate. All you need is good food…good friends…and a lot of love. Isn’t that home? It is to me.

Sara’s Cardamom Cake (She’s Swedish…so this is in metric, bitches…suck it up.)

100 g butter, room temperature
2 1/2 dl (or 1 cup) sugar
3 eggs
4 dl (or a little less than 1 3/4 cup) flour (i used 1/3 white whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp freshly ground cardamom
2 dl (or 4/5 cup) gräddfil (i used mostly sour cream, and a Tablespoon or a little more of creme fraiche)

Stir butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time while stirring. Carefully stir in the flour blended with baking powder and cardamom, and finally add the gräddfil (or sour cream/creme fraiche mixture).

Pour the batter in a big buttered and floured form with capacity of 2 liters and bake at 350 F for approximately 45 – 50 minutes or until the cake feels dry.

FINI

Advertisements