Sunday, March 11, 2018

Brisket Intervention: A Guest Post

The other day it occurred to me that the first-ever post produced here at Grill Knuckles HQ was a brisket cook back in 2009. In the years since, there have been pounds upon pounds of meat; huge piles of charcoal; countless bags of chips; gallons of beer consumed. But there have only been 3 briskets. Three. And I wasn't wild about any of them.

Fortunately in the years since that first post, I have also met many good friends who know their way around a backyard grill. Dave has offered to do a guest post here in hopes of upping the global brisket game.

What follows is his excellent guide. And please check out his excellent blog:

Three Tips for Better Smoked Brisket

Smoking a whole packer brisket can throw folks for a loop.  Here are a few tricks I use to turn out great briskets on a very consistent basis.

Tip #1: Shop Around.

If you start with a better brisket then you will end with a better brisket.  I avoid Select grade briskets at all costs. There is no point in making a challenging cook even harder by starting with a lean brisket.

If I cook a Choice brisket then I will go for Certified Angus Beef.  In general CAB is considered to be at the top 20% of the Choice grade.

These days I am smoking Prime briskets and can really tell a difference in the finished product.  I did some shopping around and discovered that my Costco sells Prime brisket for $2.99 a pound. That’s cheaper than the local grocery stores sell Select brisket!

If you can’t find a deal on Prime brisket in your town then go with Choice and check out this article about wet aging a brisket.

Take some time, shop around and buy the best brisket that you can afford.

Tip #2: Trim Hard, Smoke Easy

A brisket contains two different muscles and has a massive fat layer between them.  The two muscles (flat and point) are different sizes and have different fat content.  It can be HARD to try to get these two muscles done without undercooking one or overcooking the other.

I finally got smart and figured out that if I took the time to separate the point from the flat then I could cook them separately and give both pieces the attention they need.  

Another advantage of separating the two muscles is that you can get rid of a lot of the fat that is just going to get your barbecue dirty.

I can get both the flat and point onto my 22 inch kettle at the same time. Now it is no big deal if the flat is done before the point as I deal with each muscle on its own.

Tip #3: Cook it Until it Loves You

The most common way that people screw up a brisket is by giving up.  They try smoking it “low and Slow” for hours on end and after 10 hours or so realize that they have a dry, chewy hunk of beef.  It turns out though that a dry, tough brisket is one that hasn’t been cooked long enough.

Forget about going low and slow on a brisket.  Use some heat and smoke your brisket at 285-325F.  Don’t be afraid to wrap it in aluminum foil after a few hours to speed up the process.  Get the meat up to an internal temperature of at LEAST 200F. By using high temperatures and foil you can get a brisket up to 200F in 5-8 hours.  
Don’t quit cooking the brisket until you can slide a meat thermometer though with little resistance.  

I hope these brisket tips will help you the next time you decide to tackle this beast!  If you want more brisket tips or just need another barbecue blog to follow then come on over and check out!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fried Rib Roast

Right around Thanksgiving this YouTube video showed up on my Facebook feed.

How to Deep Fry a Ribeye with Alabama Boss

It really did open my eyes. The thought of frying a big piece of meat like that had never occurred to me. And the look on the guy's face at the end led me to believe he was having a near-religious experience.

On a recent Saturday, I rounded up some enterprising carnivores and we decided to try it for ourselves. Providence (at least Harris Teeter) was smiling upon us. We got a 9 pound rib roast on special. Normally $12.99/lb, we got it on special for $8.99/lb.

Using a long knife we created a slit in the roast so we could slide the stand through the center. The knife actually only went about 2/3 of the way through but it was enough to create the necessary channel. We then rubbed the roast with a mixture of salt, pepper and garlic powder. The guys in the video injected the roast. We decided to skip that step.

According to the video the goal was to get the peanut oil to 350f and cook the roast 3 minutes for every pound to get to medium rare. Nine pound roast? We did a 27-minute cook.

It was 14 degrees outside, so we mostly huddled in the kitchen. Mike was good about monitoring our progress.

Time's up! We pulled out the roast and wrapped it in foil. We brought it indoors to keep it from becoming a beefsicle.

It looked mighty tasty
In addition to this being a science experiment, it was also a social affair. So we weren't totally locking down all of our variables. For example the oil got way too hot on us and we had to let it cool in order to start. We also figured that one container of peanut oil would suffice. You can see that the very top of the roast is a different color. That's because the end was just above the oil line. Well. These things happen. 

Perhaps most importantly, we took it as gospel that 3 minutes per pound would get us to medium rare. We never backed that up with a meat thermometer. We just rolled with it.

And what we wound up with was quite rare, as you can see. So we all gobbled up healthy portions red meat like savages and then threw it back in for a scientifically, estimated period of time. In this case, 10 minutes.

That seemed to deliver medium rare, which led to more eating.

Speaking of eating more. When you have that quantity of hot peanut oil going, you have to take advantage. And advantage we took. On standby we had a variety of foods to fry.



Green beans:

And Corn:

Looks like a fun day, doesn't it? It really was. I think everyone really had a good time. But what about frying 9 lbs of beef in peanut oil? I would say that the novelty made it worth while. We all really had fun, as I said. And the outside fried, salty beef crust was indeed something special. But will it change how I prepare meat? Nah. The meat didn't cook uniformly and it just wasn't as good as a grilled steak, in my opinion. 

What I will say is that I don't really like green beans all that much. But these were really tasty. We used the same salt, pepper and garlic powder combo on them after they came out of the beefy peanut oil and they may have been gobbled up fastest of any of our foods.

And cleaning up a bunch of peanut oil isn't really all that much fun. So let me be clear that it was some primo male bonding. And some really good eating. But it isn't going to replace how I cook any of these foods on a regular basis. But it does make for a good story. Thanks for the inspiration, Alabama Boss.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Slow Cooker Venison Chili

Been thinking I need to tell the story of the buck I killed back on October 13th.

Meanwhile I made some chili yesterday that was pretty tasty and I wanted to put down the recipe and process before I forget.

An internet search brought me to this recipe at, which I modified into this:

  • 1 pound ground venison.
  • 1 pound ground spicy venison sausage.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 small green peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can cannellini beans
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans
  • 2 (10 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • Olive oil
In a pan with hot olive oil brown venison and venison sausage. Add onion and garlic until onions are partially cooked. Put it all in a slow cooker on low with the rest of the ingredients and cook for six hours or longer. 

Serve with shredded cheddar and some hot corn bread (simply used a box mixture).

This was too spicy for my kids. I specifically left off any cayenne pepper or anything that might cause them to object. But something about the flavor of the chili powder or the spicy venison sausage itself made them balk. I liked it however, and am very happy to have a go-to that can help me with the freezer full that I have at the moment.

Meanwhile, here's to leftovers!