One of my goals for this year, is to become a more versatile cook. I have always had a grill, and love to cook out. I tried my hand at a propane smoker with limited success. It didn’t hold much and if the wood chips weren’t thoroughly soaked, everything came out covered in carbon.
So, I had my eye on a proper smoker for about a year, having decided on the kind I wanted at Magnum Custom Trailer. The one I wanted went on sale last week, and I got it and hauled it home.
I thought my first foray into real wood smoking would be something easy, like ribs. Alas, Richardson Farms had no ribs on Saturday, but they did have one very large brisket. Done.
Having been told that grass fed beef would be too lean for the smoker, I was determined to try it anyway, wanting to stay away from feedlot beef, hormones and antibiotics. This brisket had a fair amount of fat on the thick end. I contemplated cutting it in half, and saving the leaner, thinner end for oven braising, but decided to just smoke the whole thing.
I made a spice rub with sea salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, and massaged it liberally into the brisket.
I started the fire first thing in the morning, and I must say, there is little more satisfying that a morning fire. I wanted to make my coffee over it and cook breakfast over it, but I didn’t. I just waited until the smoker side was nearing 200 degrees, and I put the brisket in.
Controlling the temperature was a little challenging, first too hot, then too cool. I waited too late to put more wood on a couple of times, and had to re-stoke the fire. Over the course of the day, the temperature ranged between 180 and 220, and I got more consistent as the day went on.
I sampled the thin end after about 6 hours, and it was tasty, with a good smoke ring, albeit a little lean. After about 8 hours, I decided to wrap the brisket in foil, so that it wouldn’t get any smokier, and I put a meat thermometer into the thick end with the goal of bringing it to about 185. After 11 hours in the smoker, and an internal temperature of 180, I decided to pulled the brisket out. I let it rest before starting to slice the thick end.
The end result was delicious – tender, juicy smokey. The thin, lean end was still lean and less juicy, but the flavor was great. I couldn’t be happier with my first brisket on the new smoker. Armed with lots of lessons from the day, I look forward to my next smoking adventure.