Quotable:

"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Texas Brisket BBQ

Thanks to Deron and Deanna (and Chloe of course) for opening up their home yesterday for the Wednesday Night Threads Group. Deron, who hails from the great State of Texas, prepared the most delicious brisket I have ever tasted. He said the secret was in slow grilling it since 8am that morning with charcoal and mesquite. The beans he made were also very, very good. The rest of the meal was rounded out with dishes we all brought - fruit salad, potato salad, pistachio fluff, cookies, and my famous chocolate lemon bars. What a fun evening!

What is brisket you may ask - or really I asked, so I found this on the Internet:

In almost any meat animal, there are regions of the body used for different cuts. The brisket is the lower front region, akin to the breast area of a chicken. Brisket in general is one of the tougher cuts of meat, but it can become very tender through slow cooking and regular basting.

Brisket is a relatively inexpensive cut of beef, lamb or pork found on grocery store shelves, but it can also be one of the toughest cuts if not prepared properly. Meat cutters often divide a whole brisket into two separate parts before presenting it for sale. The flat cut brisket is very lean, but less flavorful and more difficult to prepare without a slow cooker. The other cut, called a point cut, is more marbled with fat and collagen, which makes it more flavorful and easier to tenderize through slow cooking at low heat.

A point cut beef brisket is often included on the menu of Southern-style barbecue restaurants, especially in the state of Texas. Although other animals have a brisket suitable for braising or barbecuing, the default setting for brisket served as barbecue is beef. Large slabs of point cut brisket or even whole brisket are placed on racks in a barbecue smoker, with an indirect heat source of wood chips providing a controlled slow cooking atmosphere. A beef brisket prepared for barbecue could spend at least 10-12 hours in a smoker or other cooker before it is ready to be served.

Beef brisket becomes very tender after slow cooking because of a cap of fat, known in some circles as a deckel. The brisket is placed in the slow cooker, oven or smoker with the fat cap on top, which allows gravity to draw it into the meat very slowly. The slow cooking process also allows the collagen and fat between the muscle tissues of the brisket to melt, not burn or sear.

So now I know. Enjoy the photos. The flower photos are from my home.


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