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Red Meat

Smoked Brisket Baby

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SERVES 6-8
DIFFICULTY difficult
PREP TIME 10 – 15 minutes
BRAAI TIME 8-10 Hours
RATING

A slow cooked smoked Brisket is probably one of the most challenging cuts of meat to cook properly and to keep moist and tender. If you can master this – it’ll separate you from the boys, and to boot, you’ll be turning a cheap cut of meat into something glorious.


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METHOD

  1. Simply put all the ingredients into a pot and heat it up. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and pour it into a bottle. Lasts about a month in the fridge. Before we even get kicking, I have to clear a couple of things up: Cooking brisket is not of the “Click, Cook, Serve” mindset. You have to pay constant attention to the fire, the smoke and the temperature. Think about it – you’re about to dedicate 8-10 hours to cooking a hunk of meat – the last thing you want to do is pull it out the Ketla an hour or so after your mates have arrived, only to discover that lack of attention to the cook has resulted in a dry in-edible cut of meat that’s only good for the dogs. This is one of the only times that I’m going to suggest that you use a meat Thermometer. Every brisket is slightly different, and requires slightly different actions. The thermometer will help you know when to take the brisket out and wrap it, and when the meat is just at the right temp to break down the collagen. Before you even start cooking, make sure the meat is at room temperature. If it’s not at room temp and you put the meat on the grill, – you’re fighting the refrigerator for the first part of the cook. Now a little secret: The built in Thermometer on the Ketla sits at the top of the lid – if you understand just a little about science – you’ll get that heat rises, and that it makes sense that the gauge in the lid doesn’t reflect the heat at meat level. For the brisket, you’re looking to cook at around 135°C / 248°F – this is the go-to temperature for cooking slow-cooking cuts of meat like brisket. Where I’m going to tell you to cook the brisket, the temp on the grid is actually 20-25 degrees cooler than what the built in gauge will tell you. Sshhh… don’t tell anyone.
  2. Apply the rub to the trimmed brisket by pouring it all over the meat and gently pressing it onto the flesh. Let it rest and come down to room temperature for about an hour.
  3. Fire up the Ketla, close both vents and, using only the inner burner on low, get the temp up to 150°C / 302°F.
  4. Place a fireproof container filled with water on the grid to help retain humidity in the Ketla.
  5. Now the difficult part. Over my time of cooking on the Ketla, my biggest focus has always been adding back the smoke into a gas barbecue/braai. I’ve experimented with barbecue / braai planks, smoking chips, compressed oak logs, sawdust – you name it – but for the long cooking cuts, so far I’ve discovered that nothing works as well as compressed logs. Put the compressed log into the Ketla to really dry out (takes about 15 minutes). Break off a piece about 6/7 cm long. Place the Ketla smoke box on the centre of the grid, then place one of the those Hookah pipe instant light charcoal tablets in the smoking box and light it. Let it burn for a couple of minutes, then gently place the 6/7cm length of compressed log on the tablet – watch it begin to smoke. If you’re in the USA, check out http://www.mojobricks.com/
  6. Place the brisket (meat-side down) on the grid close to the hinge (normally known as the hotspot) with the point facing towards the centre of the grid, fat side on top. Place the remote meat thermometer into the thickest part of the Brisket. Close the lid.
  7. Now you have to have real patience. For the next three hours, make sure that the Ketla bellows smoke, and that the temperature on the gauge hovers around 150°C / 302°F. (Remember, at the back of the grid at grid level, it’s actually running at about 125-135°C / 257 - 275°F). Adjust the vents as necessary, and only open if you have to add more smoke or water into the fireproof container to retain humidity.
  8. At the 3-hour mark, and roughly every 30 minutes or so from this point onwards (and only if the brisket is beginning to look dry), spritz a bit of water over the brisket.
  9. If the smoke has gone out at this point, don’t worry, and don’t add more. Most of the good smoking has already occurred by now.
  10. At 6 hours we should be getting through the stall. The Stall – what is this? Most cuts of meat only begin to get really tender when the collagen begins to melt and the fibres begin to de-nature. The Stall is that terrible point where the internal temperature of the meat seems to sit at about 68°C / 155°F forever.
  11. When you get to an internal temperature of 80°C / 175°F,, wrap the brisket in butchers paper, open the vents, keep the inner burner burning on its lowest temperature, close the lid, and let the brisket do its thing for another hour.
  12. Watch the remote temperature gauge - the internal temperature of the meat should reach about 93°C/ 200°F / – and the brisket should feel tender and wobble a little.
  13. Finally, unwrap the brisket and thinly slice against/across the natural grain of the meat.
  14. Serve with sauce (if you think you need it).
  15. SERVE WITH: Pickles and Slaw DRINK WITH: Beer

INGREDIENTS

1 Brisket, trimmed and ready to smoke.

1 Compressed Log

1 Hookah Pipe Instant Light Charcoal Tablet

1 Small Water Spray Bottle

1 good Remote Meat Thermometer

1 small roll of Non-Waxed Butchers Paper.

For the Rub

6-8 tbsp. medium fine Pepper (it must be slightly coarse)

6-8 tbsp. medium fine Sea Salt (it must be slightly coarse)

For the Sauce (optional)

1 ½ cups of Tomato Sauce

¼ cup Water

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ cup White Wine Vinegar

¼ cup Coconut Sugar (or Treacle Sugar)

1 big splash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 shot of Sherry, Port or Madeira Wine

1 big pinch of Chilli Powder

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Coarse Black Pepper

1 Brisket, trimmed and ready to smoke.

1 Compressed Log

1 Hookah Pipe Instant Light Charcoal Tablet

1 Small Water Spray Bottle

1 good Remote Meat Thermometer

1 small roll of Non-Waxed Butchers Paper.

For the Rub

6-8 tbsp. medium fine Pepper (it must be slightly coarse)

6-8 tbsp. medium fine Sea Salt (it must be slightly coarse)

For the Sauce (optional)

1 ½ cups of Tomato Sauce

¼ cup Water

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ cup White Wine Vinegar

¼ cup Coconut Sugar (or Treacle Sugar)

1 big splash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 shot of Sherry, Port or Madeira Wine

1 big pinch of Chilli Powder

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Coarse Black Pepper

  1. Simply put all the ingredients into a pot and heat it up. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and pour it into a bottle. Lasts about a month in the fridge. Before we even get kicking, I have to clear a couple of things up: Cooking brisket is not of the “Click, Cook, Serve” mindset. You have to pay constant attention to the fire, the smoke and the temperature. Think about it – you’re about to dedicate 8-10 hours to cooking a hunk of meat – the last thing you want to do is pull it out the Ketla an hour or so after your mates have arrived, only to discover that lack of attention to the cook has resulted in a dry in-edible cut of meat that’s only good for the dogs. This is one of the only times that I’m going to suggest that you use a meat Thermometer. Every brisket is slightly different, and requires slightly different actions. The thermometer will help you know when to take the brisket out and wrap it, and when the meat is just at the right temp to break down the collagen. Before you even start cooking, make sure the meat is at room temperature. If it’s not at room temp and you put the meat on the grill, – you’re fighting the refrigerator for the first part of the cook. Now a little secret: The built in Thermometer on the Ketla sits at the top of the lid – if you understand just a little about science – you’ll get that heat rises, and that it makes sense that the gauge in the lid doesn’t reflect the heat at meat level. For the brisket, you’re looking to cook at around 135°C / 248°F – this is the go-to temperature for cooking slow-cooking cuts of meat like brisket. Where I’m going to tell you to cook the brisket, the temp on the grid is actually 20-25 degrees cooler than what the built in gauge will tell you. Sshhh… don’t tell anyone.
  2. Apply the rub to the trimmed brisket by pouring it all over the meat and gently pressing it onto the flesh. Let it rest and come down to room temperature for about an hour.
  3. Fire up the Ketla, close both vents and, using only the inner burner on low, get the temp up to 150°C / 302°F.
  4. Place a fireproof container filled with water on the grid to help retain humidity in the Ketla.
  5. Now the difficult part. Over my time of cooking on the Ketla, my biggest focus has always been adding back the smoke into a gas barbecue/braai. I’ve experimented with barbecue / braai planks, smoking chips, compressed oak logs, sawdust – you name it – but for the long cooking cuts, so far I’ve discovered that nothing works as well as compressed logs. Put the compressed log into the Ketla to really dry out (takes about 15 minutes). Break off a piece about 6/7 cm long. Place the Ketla smoke box on the centre of the grid, then place one of the those Hookah pipe instant light charcoal tablets in the smoking box and light it. Let it burn for a couple of minutes, then gently place the 6/7cm length of compressed log on the tablet – watch it begin to smoke. If you’re in the USA, check out http://www.mojobricks.com/
  6. Place the brisket (meat-side down) on the grid close to the hinge (normally known as the hotspot) with the point facing towards the centre of the grid, fat side on top. Place the remote meat thermometer into the thickest part of the Brisket. Close the lid.
  7. Now you have to have real patience. For the next three hours, make sure that the Ketla bellows smoke, and that the temperature on the gauge hovers around 150°C / 302°F. (Remember, at the back of the grid at grid level, it’s actually running at about 125-135°C / 257 - 275°F). Adjust the vents as necessary, and only open if you have to add more smoke or water into the fireproof container to retain humidity.
  8. At the 3-hour mark, and roughly every 30 minutes or so from this point onwards (and only if the brisket is beginning to look dry), spritz a bit of water over the brisket.
  9. If the smoke has gone out at this point, don’t worry, and don’t add more. Most of the good smoking has already occurred by now.
  10. At 6 hours we should be getting through the stall. The Stall – what is this? Most cuts of meat only begin to get really tender when the collagen begins to melt and the fibres begin to de-nature. The Stall is that terrible point where the internal temperature of the meat seems to sit at about 68°C / 155°F forever.
  11. When you get to an internal temperature of 80°C / 175°F,, wrap the brisket in butchers paper, open the vents, keep the inner burner burning on its lowest temperature, close the lid, and let the brisket do its thing for another hour.
  12. Watch the remote temperature gauge - the internal temperature of the meat should reach about 93°C/ 200°F / – and the brisket should feel tender and wobble a little.
  13. Finally, unwrap the brisket and thinly slice against/across the natural grain of the meat.
  14. Serve with sauce (if you think you need it).
  15. SERVE WITH: Pickles and Slaw DRINK WITH: Beer

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