The Perfect Beef Brisket

November 25th, 2017

IMG_0005 (1)

My Son, Michael, decided to forego the Thanksgiving turkey this year in favor of a smoked beef brisket.  We are so glad that he did.  The recipe came form Myron Mixon, winner of more competitive barbecue contests than anyone else in the world.  My husband David has smoked brisket before.  See the technique here.  Some recipes for smoking a brisket can take up to 18 hours.  But the recipe suggested by Myron Mixon in his cookbook Smokin’, can be done in 6 to 8 hours after the initial marinating time.

IMG_0001

Instead of cooking the brisket low and slow, the meat is injected, marinated, spice rubbed and cooked at a constant temperature of 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  The pan is then covered with aluminum foil and put back in the smoker to cook for another 1 1/2 hours or until the temperature reaches 205 degrees. From this point you wrap the pan in a  blanket, put it in a large cooler, and leave it to rest for 3 to 4 hours.

IMG_0033

Our brisket weighed about 6 pounds. Just a note on the cut of brisket you should use.  Butcher shops usually break the meat down into two pieces.  The first cut is called the flat and is what most grocery stores sell because it is leaner.  But the second cut, called the point, is rounder and fattier and has more flavor.  This is the preferred cut.  Also notice in the above photo the toothpick in the end.  There is another one on the other end.  Michael put them in the meat when it was raw to show the direction of the grain.  When cooked it is less obvious. To slice a tender brisket, it is important to slice it against the grain rather than with the grain.

IMG_0007

The recipe below is for a 15 to 20 pound brisket.  Since ours was much smaller, Michael felt the beef injection and marinade should be reduced.  The cooking time may also be less, although the resting time is quite flexible.IMG_0020

Michael served the brisket with a local barrel aged beer from Southern Peak Brewery called Midnight Conductor.  With hints of chocolate and dark fruit, it was the perfect accompaniment.  Next up, some delicious side dishes.

PERFECT SMOKED BEEF BRISKET

Ingredients

For the beef injection and marinade:

  • 1 quart water
  • 3 tablespoons beef base

For the beef rub:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated dried onion

We used a double recipe of the rub to ensure the meat was coated in rub.

For the meat:

  • One 15-20 pound whole untrimmed brisket, preferably USD Prime

Tools:

  • 2 aluminum pans
  • Injector
  • Blanket

Directions

For the beef injection and marinade:

In a large stockpot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the beef base and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat. If reserving for a later use, let the liquid cool then pour it into a jug or bottle. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

For the beef rub:

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients thoroughly. You can store this rub in an airtight container indefinitely.

For the meat:

Trim your brisket. Place the brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum baking pan. Inject it by eyeballing 1-inch squares all over the brisket and injecting half of the beef injection in those squares. Flip the brisket over, fat side down, and pour the remaining injection/marinade over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. 30 minutes before you are ready to cook the brisket, heat a smoker to 350 degrees. (You can also use a gas grill, but you’ll need to prepare it for smoking.)

Remove the brisket from the marinade and discard the marinade. Using your hands, apply the beef rub all over the meat. Place the brisket in a clean aluminum baking pan, place the pan in the smoker, and cook for 2 ½ hours at 350 degrees. Remove the pan from the smoker and cover it with aluminum foil. Put it back into the smoker and cook for another 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees or until the temperature in the point end of the meat reaches 205 degrees. Remove the pan from the smoker and wrap the pan, still covered with aluminum foil, in a thick blanket. Let it rest at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Unwrap the pan, discard the foil, and remove the brisket, taking care to save the the accumulated juices. Set the brisket aside. Strain the juices of all grease, and pour the juices into a medium saucepan. Warm the juices over medium heat, and allow them to come to a simmer.

Meanwhile, slice the brisket against the grain; try to make the slices as consistently sized as possible. Place the slices on a warm platter and pour the juices over them. Serve immediately.

Printable Recipe

Crock Pot Pork Stew Agrodolce

November 19th, 2017

Pork Stew Agrodolce

The days are counting down until Christmas; Christmas Tour that is.  My home will be on the tour with three other homes in my neighborhood on December 2nd.  All of this means that Thanksgiving has barely registered as I have been pulling out the Christmas baubles.  Thankfully, we will be having Thanksgiving at the kids’ home, so much of the responsibility is not on my shoulders.

When I am busy, I like to rely on my Crock Pot for meals.  This pork stew has the addition of raisins and vinegar which give the dish a sweet-and-sour (agrodolce) tang that is very pleasing.  The recipe comes from one of my favorite Crock Pot cookbooks, The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.

Pork Stew Agrodolce

The pork was very tender and it was delicious with Basmati rice.  I substituted dried cranberries for the raisins.

Christmas Mantel

We will get our tree after Thanksgiving but all of the rest of the decorations are in place.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.  Christmas will be here (for some of us) before we know it.

PORK STEW AGRODOLCE

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
2 large celery ribs, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup golden raisins (I used dried cranberries)

Pat the pork dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the pork, without crowding the pan.  Brown the meat on all sides and transfer it to the slow cooker.

When all the meat has been browned, reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onions and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden.

Add the wine and vinegar and bring it to a simmer.  Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the carrots and raisins.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the pork is tender.  Serve hot.

Great with rice or polenta.

Printable Recipe

 

Chicken Saltimbocca and Farro Salad

August 14th, 2017

Chicken Saltimbocca

I am overrun with herbs.  I’m not complaining.  I just have to make dishes that will take advantage of the fresh bounty.  The sage is doing so well this year.  I immediately thought of Chicken Saltimbocca; that Italian dish made with chicken, Prosciutto and sage.  I found a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis for rolled chicken with prosciutto, spinach and Parmesan and added extra sage.

Herbs

You can see all of my sage to the right of the basil.  The balcony looks a little messy right now.  We have had a week of rain and clean up has been neglected.

Farro Salad

I also made this Giada recipe for Farro Salad using my cherry tomatoes and lots of herbs.  Keeping up with summer produce is a challenge for many with large gardens, but well worth the time.  I am limited to container gardening.

October Beans

We found these beautiful October Beans at a roadside stand the other day.  I couldn’t resist them.

October Beans

They are even beautiful when shelled.  Fresh October Beans cook in about an hour.  I simmered them in water with a slice of bacon, some onions and chopped sage.  I didn’t get a picture of the final product but they do lose their beautiful color, although the creamy goodness makes up for the beige color.

You can find the Chicken Saltimbocca here.  The Farro Salad recipe is here.

We are off next weekend to enjoy a complete Eclipse of the Sun on Monday in Highlands, NC.  The area will be crowded with people coming from all over to enjoy the experience.  Part of our family will be joining us.  We have rented a house and have been advised to bring all of our food because the one grocery store in Highlands will not be able to accommodate the demands.  Will keep you posted.

Pork Carnitas For a Rainy Day

May 25th, 2017

Pork Carnitas

Dinner was from the freezer and pantry tonight.  We have had four days of constant rain that have made me depressed. Pictures tonight are horrible without natural light. Maybe when the sun comes out again I will feel better, but I certainly haven’t been in the mood to cook.  Pork Carinas

The carnitas were in a freezer bag from a previous meal.  The meal was wonderful in spite of coming from the freezer and pantry.  You can find the recipe for the pork carnitas here.  The final run under the broiler makes the carnitas crispy. The recipe for the rice is here. It is basmati rice flavored with cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon.  I opened a can of black beans and flavored them with oil, vinegar and orange zest.

The sun has come out today and I have hopes that my enthusiasm will return.  Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend.

Herbed Brown Rice Stuffing

March 28th, 2017

Herbed Brown Rice

Brown rice has never been a favorite in our house.  But its nutritional value is so much better than white rice.  I was going through my stash of ancient Gourmet Magazines the other day and found this recipe for Herbed Brown Rice Stuffing to accompany a roasted chicken.  We had just gotten home from our 6 weeks in Florida and cooking was not high on my “to do” list. I put the rice on to cook (It takes 40 minutes), headed for the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken and finished the additions to the rice when I got home.

Herbed Brown Rice Casserole

The boring brown rice was transformed with the addition of roasted red peppers, chopped vegetables, bacon, tomato paste, parsley and chicken broth.  Plus, we had enough to go with our pork chops for the next night.

New York 2

I lost a friend last month.  So many memories.  We went on a girls’ trip to New York City a few years ago and posed for this picture in the “Friends” fountain in Central Park.  Karen (center), you will live on in our hearts always.

HERBED BROWN-RICE STUFFING ( Gourmet Magazine May 1992 )

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 rib of celery, chopped fine
1 small green pepper, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and puréed in a food processor
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion greens
4 cups cooked brown rice

In a heavy saucepan cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until it is crisp and transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.  In the fat remaining in the pan cook the onion, the celery, the bell pepper, and the garlic over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the red pepper purée, the tomato paste, and the broth, and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is thickened.  In a bowl stir together the vegetable mixture, the bacon, the parsley, the scallion, the rice, and salt and pepper to taste, transfer the stuffing to a baking dish, and heat it in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until it is hot.  Serves 4 to 6.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.