Sunday, September 26, 2010

Smoked Ribs & Brisket

Hank and I finally invested in our very own smoker. Now is really the time to buy one too, there's definitely some good deals to be had. I think we went to 3 different places (I like to shop around) before we bought this one, which happened to be the last one the store had in stock. Anyways, we christened it this past week with ribs and brisket. Here's the lowdown:

The night before we prepared the rubs, both had the same basic ingredients with some different ratios. Feel free to use your favorite rub or expand on this recipe. I really wanted to taste the smoke flavor in the meat so I was concerned about going too crazy with the rubs, basic was the way to go I thought.

Black Pepper Brisket Rub
(printable recipe)

1/2 c fresh coarse ground pepper
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. paprika

Brown Sugar Rib Rub

(printable recipe)

1/4 c brown sugar
3 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt

Rub and wrap the meat, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning prepare the smoker. You'll need a bit of charcoal, wood chunks and chips, and either water or marinade for the water bath.

Start by soaking the wood chips in water, they'll need to soak for at least 30 minutes before being used.

Get a small charcoal & mesquite wood fire going and work on it until the smoker reaches 250 degrees. At this point put in your water or marinade and brisket (fat side up). The brisket will take about 1 hour per pound and you'll need to monitor the fire and keep it at 250. It helps to have a charcoal starter (chimney) going to prepare additional wood chunks to add to the fire. Also be sure to check the vents, add additional soaked wood chips as necessary to facilitate more smoke, and keep the water bath filled. Time the ribs (also about 1 hour per pound) so that everything will be finished up at once.

We smoked the ribs for about 2 hours, pulled them out, sauced them, and then returned them to the smoker for almost another hour. They turned out so good and super tender. I actually had to stick some of the bones back in to get these pictures. We had slathered one with this barbecue sauce and the other with a mustard sauce. Both very tasty, I had a hard time choosing a favorite.

Be sure to let the brisket rest 15-20 minutes before slicing into it. And speaking of slicing, remember to slice the brisket across the grain. This way the meat will pull apart easily with each bite. My dad demonstrated the slicing technique... (thanks Dad!)

Slice off the top layer of fat... oh gosh.

Then turn the brisket and slice across the grain starting at the tip. What a pretty smoke ring!

Keep slicing... stop to marvel at the fat that looks a lot like melting butter...

And finally snap one last shot before your family just about kills you for making them wait on your stupid photos.

The brisket was phenomenal, with a perfect peppery crust, nicely rendered fat, and moist, smoky interior. No sauce was needed, although I did dab a little of my bbq sauce on just a few bites. We paired all this with smoky barbecue beans, okra pickles (recipe soon!), and a cool cucumber salad with homemade ranch. It was a great feast for a Sunday evening and looking back I can say our smoker was definitely a good investment, it will surely get lots of use in the future.

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