Continued from Page 3
This bit of chicanery is now euphemized among its practitioners as ‘steeping.' Maybe they should call it ‘Texas tea" and bring out the doilies and crumpets! To the experienced taster, braised brisket has the same texture as pot roast and loses much of its natural flavor. I find nothing wrong, however, with a back yard barbecuer wrapping his completely cooked brisket in aluminum foil to hold it until serving time.
After about 8 hours, check the internal temperature of the briskets with a bimetal thermometer. Most beef is edible after 125 degrees - for a fine steak - but the troublesome brisket needs to get as close to 185 degrees and you can stand. At that temperature, most of the interspersed fat has melted and mellowed the surrounding tissue into a reasonable facsimile of tenderness. Paul Kirk, Baron of Barbeque, teaches grilling around the country side. He says that he tests for tenderness by inserting his thermometer probe laterally into the brisket. If it enters and exits easily, he considers it ready to remove.
Even after the extra effort in selection, the trimming and seasoning and the long term cooking process, the brisket demands still more than any rational fare for the grill. It still must be sliced in a particularly peculiar fashion in order to be rendered edible.
I am no slouch with a blade, but when I watched Texas native, Charlie McMurrey, Jr., dissect a brisket at a cook-off in Cookesville, TN, I recognized immediately that I was in the presence of a master brisketeer.
First, he removes the fat from the top side - that is the side that was on top during cooking. Then, starting on the flat end of the opposite side, he starts through that layer of meat, continuing slicing toward the nose end until reaching the internal layer of fat. He removes the fat separating the two layers of meat, separates and sets the top meat layer aside. The grain in this layer runs differently from the bottom layer and brisket needs to be cut across the grain to be chewable. It is instructive, at this point, to look closely at the directions of the grain.
He continues trimming and scraping away the fat. Then he places the top layer on the bottom - with the grain of both aligned. He is able, then, to slice both layers thinly across the grain. Brisket begins to dry quickly, so have everything else ready to serve.
A finishing sauce is optional. A simple one for a starting place is: 1Qt. Catsup, 6 oz prepared mustard, 3 T. Apple cider vinegar, 1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce, 3 T. Brown sugar, juice of 1 lemon, ½ lb butter, ½ t. Salt, ½ t. Black pepper, 1/4 t. Ground cloves. Simmer until well blended.
Serve with ice cold Lone Star or a hefty Burgundy.
The absolute treasure of this whole exercise is that, once you have done it, you have nothing left to prove and you never have to cook a brisket on the grill again! On, now, to the good and tender stuff! Hmm.... Rib roasts, sirloin roasts, pork loins...!!!
© 1998 by Smoky Hale
C. Clark Hale
8168 Hwy 98 E.
McComb, MS 39648
Smoky's 5th basic position for really great barbecue'n.
'According to Smoky' is © by C. Clark Hale
who is solely responsible for its content. Comments
should be addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org