Monday, August 3, 2009

Barbecue Beef Brisket at Home
My husband's family has worked out a system to share the hosting duties for holidays and other family get-togethers. As part of that, we have agreed to host the summer get-together and hope for a nice day so that we can enjoy the deck and the kids can play out in the yard and a water balloon fight or two.
Usually, everyone brings a dish or two so that the hostess doesn't have to cook everything, but as we live the farthest away, the others sometimes opt to come over the day before and stay in a hotel. That makes traveling with food a bit more difficult, so I offered to make all the food for the meal to make things easier on them.
Now, to make things easier on myself, I opted to make a dish that needed to be cooked earlier in the week, and then could simply be reheated the day of the party.

I found a lovely beef brisket at our local Sam's Club. The meat man hesitantly warned the Foodie daughter and me that there was a fair amount of fat on a brisket, as apparently he has found that women tend to fear fatty meats. We just looked at one another and said, "flavor!" Not to worry, dear readers, the fat was removed after cooking, but it did its job of basting the meat as it slow-cooked for ten long hours.
I also pulled a cup of homemade beef consomme out of the freezer and my own blend of Memphis BBQ Rub from the spice rack for this first step in making Barbecue Beef Brisket.

Memphis BBQ Rub

1/4 cup paprika

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 to 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (the more, the hotter the rub)

Two days before the party I got started. I generously coated both sides of the brisket and placed the meat, fat side up, in a slow cooker.
The beef consomme was added and this slow cooked for eight to ten hours.

About half way through, I turned the meat over and allowed it to continue to cook. When it easily tore, I knew it was ready. I took the brisket out, covered it with foil and allowed it to rest and cool for a bit before continuing.

Look at this gorgeous juice. I was not going to let this go to waste. After straining the fat off, I would use the remaining juice for the barbecue sauce for the brisket.

After the meat had cooled enough that I could easily handle it, I pulled it before cutting the long strands into bite-size pieces with my kitchen shears.

The pulled beef had been separated from the fat and was ready for the sauce. That would have to wait for the next day, however as I was quite tired.

I started off with the usual players for the Whiskey Run BBQ Sauce and added that to the meat stock and juices that were happily simmering away on the stove. Since I changed out the recipe, it was necessary to adjust the other ingredients also.* For instance, the balance of sweetness was thrown off, so more brown sugar was needed. In addition, something was missing, a certain umami, and I found that a splash or two of soy sauce rectified that issue. Finally happy with the sauce, I could turn off the heat and let the sauce cool before adding some to the beef in the fridge and bottling the rest.
*As this sauce reduces by about half as it cooks, it is important to wait until the end before tasting and adjusting to taste.

Finally the sauce and the meat meet and can heat in the slow cooker the day of the party.

As I had indicated earlier, the Foodie daughter and I had decided to make things easy on ourselves by making some things ahead and by purchasing some items at the store.
Our favorite deli mustard potato salad and cole slaw were nice sides for the barbecue and required little effort on our part.

Don't you wish you were here?

Really, don't you? This barbecue beef brisket was very good and it got rave reviews.
Fresh fruit from the produce department of the grocery store complemented the delicious homemade brownies that the Foodie daughter made and the Honey Vanilla Pound Cake that I made.

All in all, it was a beautiful and enjoyable day. Hopefully the food was just as good.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

The barbecue looks qibswedyk!

Kathy said...

I do wish I was there. Brisket is a big bad weakness. It's why I almost moved to Texas.