In Texas, beef brisket is the barbecue of choice. It is perhaps the ultimate example of taking a tough, gnarly piece of meat and transforming it into a super-tender delicacy through long, slow cooking. As with the pulled pork barbecue of North Carolina, the preferred method is to make a night of it, putting the brisket on in the early evening and letting it cook until daylight. But this also makes a very good pastime for a lazy Saturday, a great way to spend time hanging out with friends then ending the day with a spectacularly delicious meal. The sauce, which has a little kick to it, can be made up to a week in advance, and then kept covered and refrigerated.
Recipe courtesy of "Grill It!" by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, copyright 2008. Used by permission of DK Publishing. All rights reserved.
|1 beef brisket, 10-12 lb (4.5-5.5 kg)||1/2 cup cider vinegar|
|3 tablespoons olive oil||1/4 cup dark brown sugar|
|1/4 cup, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt||2 Tbsp. hot sauce of your choice|
|1/4 cup, plus 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper||1 teaspoon ground cumin|
|For the sauce:||1 teaspoon paprika|
|2/3 cup ketchup|
Light a fire well over to one side of your grill, using enough coals to fill a large shoebox.
Rub the brisket with the oil and coat it evenly with salt and pepper, pressing gently to make sure it adheres.
When the fire has died down and the coals are covered with white ash, place the brisket on the side of the grill away from the coals, being careful that none of the meat is directly over the coals. Put the lid on the grill with the vents open one-quarter of the way and cook, adding a handful of fresh charcoal every 30 minutes or so, for 8–10 hours. To test for doneness, stick a big fork in the meat and try to lift it up—if it falls off the fork, it’s done.
While the beef is on the grill, make the sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients (ketchup, cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, hot sauce, spices and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper) in a small saucepan and mix well. On the stove top over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors, then remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
To serve, slice the brisket thinly across the grain, and pass the barbecue sauce on the side.
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