Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BBQ - Texas Style!

Mindy here. Last week was spring break here in Texas, so we spent the week at the ranch. And time at the ranch always means keeping the gang well fed. They work hard, play hard, and want to eat hardy. So I aim to please.

One thing my men can't seem to get enough of is barbecue. Now, growing up in Michigan, I thought barbecue was anything you cooked on the grill. Later, I thought it was anything drenched in bbq sauce. Then I moved to Texas and learned that barbecue--real barbecue--is smoked BEEF brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage.... Now I know there are some who think bbq should be pork. With all due respect, they're wrong. These Texans know what they're doing when it comes to meat. Especially beef.

By the way, this is one of those prepare-at-least-a-day-ahead dishes. So here we go.

First thing you need is a beef brisket. There's the big slab-o-meat that comes in the cryovac packaging, called "Packer trimmed" but they have a THICK layer of fat across the back. You do want a layer of fat, just not that much. Which means you have to trim and trim and trim.

Then I discovered the "market trimmed" version. Much better. And no trimming involved.

So you want to season up that meat real nice. Everyone has their favorite kind of "rub." Oh, and just for the record, I don't rub. I sprinkle and that's it. I don't "sop" either. I simply season my meat with a generous portion of kosher salt, garlic powder, pepper, and some of Emeril's Essence (does anyone else find that a strange name?) Remember, this is a thick cut of meat, so don't skimp on the seasoning. You want it to permeate the whole thing.

My fire in the smoker box is looking pretty good. I use both charcoal and wood. Sometimes I only use charcoal. I had some nice mesquite pieces on hand, so I added those. Just remember to keep your fire stoked. You don't want big flames, but enough to produce some heat in the cooking chamber.

Note:  At home I have a vertical, cylindrical-type smoker, so my fire goes in the bowl at the bottom. Still, I have to make sure the coals are ready before I add the meat to the top portion.

Place your brisket in the smoker box, fat side up.

Just look at that smoke swirling around. That's some good flavor there.

You're going to let that stay on the smoker a minimum of four hours. I recommend four to six, but you can go longer. This day, I think it stayed on for ten hours because I was so busy enjoying the beautiful weather.

I didn't want my ribs to cook quite that long, so I waited until the brisket had been on a couple of hours before I added them. Season 'em up the same way and slide those piggies beside the brisket. Yes, I use pork ribs.
After a few hours, the outside of both meats will get a nice, somewhat dry-looking, coating. And don't worry about them being cooked all the way through before you take them off. I'll get to that in a bit.

After they've had enough time to absorb some of that wonderful smoke flavor (don't forget to keep stoking your fire at least once every hour, hour and a half), remove them from the smoker and wrap in at least two layers of heavy duty aluminium foil. If it's not heavy duty foil, you'll want to use more layers. Then place the foil-wrapped meat in a 200 degree oven overnight.

Depending on when you plan to serve the meat, you can leave it in a warm oven or put it in the fridge or freezer, after it's cooled, that is.

Doesn't that look good? I was so busy drooling that I forgot to take a picture of the ribs. I also forgot to get one of the brisket all sliced up, but you'll want to slice it relatively thin.
I like my brisket au naturel, like my SIL on the left. However, some folks prefer a little sauce, like our buddy, Jim on the right. And, of course, no barbecue meal is complete without some pinto beans. But that's a recipe for another day.

Happy eating, y'all.


  1. I want a smoker now. SO BAD... I'm going on line and finding directions on how to make one.

    And I'm not even close to kidding. Dave would go APE over this. And I love making men happy.


    That didn't sound EXACTLY right, but you know what I mean!

    Okay, smokers... And Mindy's right, right, right about wanting a fattier cut of meat (my Italian friend was astounded and angry when the butcher gave her big ol' pork butt for pulled pork, but she's now a believer... And we pulled some major pork for graduation parties! Weddings~!!

    But worth it.

    I do love pork 'cue' too. I love me some tender hog.

    But I won't debate because if I stop by a 'cue joint, brisket is always my #1 choice, because I've never been able to make it as good as they do.

    I need a smoker!!!(Not Dave. I mean, I've got a smoker, but I don't mean a cigarette smoker and the guy should STOP but that's like spitting in the wind or tugging on Superman's cape.)

    A wood smoker.

    Mindy, thank you for a true taste of Texas!

    1. You're welcome. And ya wanna know something? My smoker here at the house was my Mother's Day present last year. Maybe you should plant that little seed now. I'm just sayin'.

  2. Hey -- BBQ veggie style means tofu burgers. Yum!!!! And thin slices of potatoes and onions layered up in tinfoil along with some seasoning! Double Yum.

    1. Yeah, I know the whole slab-o-meat thing totally goes against your grain, Kav. But hey, can you put some bbq sauce on them tofu burgers?

  3. Yummo, Mindy!!! I don't have a smoker but have always coveted my friends' Green Egg! I also have a favorite barbecue place in town. :) I enjoy a good Boston Butt in the crock pot, but it's just not the same. I really should invest in a smoker. I don't think I'm as industrious as Ruthy, who will build one, I'm sure!

    By the way, Ruthy, the only problem with your comment is that you love to make MEN (plural) happy--just make it "my man" and you're okay. LOL

    1. But Missy, if you have sons, the man becomes plural. Right Ruthy? Though that comment did sound pretty funny.

      Missy, I would love a Green Egg. Maybe when I get that first million dollar contract....

      And I had to laugh at your comment too. You enjoy a good Boxton Butt in the Crock Pot? So what constitutes a good Boston Butt? :-)

  4. Oh, I love me some real Texas barbeque!

    A smoker is definitely on the wish list.... So Ruthy, after you've practiced making yours, you can come out here and make one for me.

    When we moved to Kansas City from Michigan, we were introduced to real KC barbeque (different than Texas, but just as good). When my SIL and her family came for a visit, we wanted to take them to the best BBQ place we knew of (because in Kansas City there's one on every corner), but they weren't too enthusiastic.

    You see, they're from Michigan. Why would you go to a restaurant just to get food cooked on a grill?

    They were educated that day :)

    1. The poor souls. You've got your work cut out for you there, Jan.

  5. We have an electric smoker. It is sooo easy to use. You can add wood chips for the smoked flavor. I have always wanted to try a brisket, but had no idea how to go about it. I think I'll go get one today! Might as well throw on some ribs as well, right?

    1. Donna, I've seen the electric smokers. Do they really do as good a job? I imagine they're loads easier.

      And have no fear on that brisket. It'll be melt in your mouth yummy.

    2. It works great. But keep in mind I don't have the other kind to compare it to.
      I bought the brisket, can't wait to try this!

  6. Mindy I love this. The only BBQ I make is cheating. I cook the pork chops, shred them and cook in bottled BBQ sauce. Still tastes good to my northern tastebuds.

    1. As long as it tastes good to you, Mary. However, you owe it to yourself to try the real thing sometime:-)