Texas Smoked Brisket with Red Sauce

Nearly 8 pounds of Brisket at 7:45am. Not a bad start to the day.

Nearly 8 pounds of Brisket at 7:45am. Not a bad start to the day.

At a recent Kansas City Barbeque Society Event, I was introduced to Troy Black. He was the host of the competition and is quite the legend in the industry himself. Winning 1st place in over 100 of 400 competitions will codify your status.

Troy has a book, “All Fired Up” that I thought I would use as a reference to smoke my first ever beef brisket. One neighbor arrogantly stated, “anyone can smoke a pork shoulder, but only a few can make a good brisket.” Okay, I was a little nervous; Especially since there would be a gathering at our home where I would be serving this first ever brisket.

While Troy even makes his own rub, I went with the Whiskey Steak rub from Cabela’s. From there it was on to the smoker.

Rachel gave me a great birthday present in June. It’s a meat thermometer with a remote transmitter so you can spend your Saturday afternoon watching baseball, not having to move to check on the meat. It took about 9 hours but the internal meat temperature finally read “190 degrees.”

The Eight Wonder of the World

The Eight Wonder of the World

We let it stand for 30 minutes then cut it across the grain into thin slices. Now what to serve for sauce? I was planning to serve it with Aus Jus and also needed a good BBQ Sauce. Troy doesn’t lack for sauces either and I found a “Brisket Red Sauce” in his book.

Brisket Red Sauce

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until butter melts and mixture reduces. Remove from heat; serve warm. 

What did I learn: that the brisket came out wonderful. It was moist and tender with a great applewood smoked flavor. It’s easy to dry out a brisket and I was happy that this one was not dry. I also learned that when you place a drip pan to gather Aus Jus drippings, to take that out after a few hours. Just after the three hour mark, the pan had some good juice in it. When you leave that same pan in there for 6 additional hours, there is no juice left.

Also, Troy is from the South and has a strong toleration for spicy, hot foods. His Brisket Red Sauce was a sinus cleaner. Really, all you had to do was walk in the house when we were making the sauce, and your sinuses would be cleaned. It was like tear gas. I added another 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to “mellow” it out. If you are going to make this, also cut back on the cumin. We made it tolerable.

Brisket is a delectable treat and I am grateful to learn from some Masters.

Happy Eating

Smoked Herb Butter Chicken

Last week I used the Smoker for the first time this season. It was incredible and I look forward to a summer of smoking. This weekend I will smoke a chicken. It reminded me of the first time smoking chickens:

My love for the smoker grows each time I use it. Traeger recommended this recipe for whole roasted chickens. I quickly fell in love when I found a whole chicken at the grocery store runs $5-$7, cooks in under 90 minutes, and feeds many.

Sous Chef Sam and I made 2 chickens along with Roasted Tomato Bisque and Herbed Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Smoked Roasted Chicken with Herbed Butter

8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 scallion, white and green parts finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, sage or parsley, plus extra sprigs for roasting
2 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
A few drops of fresh lemon juice
1 4-to-4 1/2 pound chicken

In a small bowl, combine the butter, scallion, garlic, minced fresh herbs, 1-1/2 teaspoon of the rub, and the lemon juice and blend well with a wooden spoon.

Herbed Butter

Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Wash the chicken inside and out with cold running water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of the rub in the cavity of the chicken. Slip a few sprigs of fresh herbs (see list of options above) into the cavity as well. Smear the outside of the chicken with the butter-herb mixture. Tuck the chicken wings behind the back. Tie the legs together with butcher’s string.

Ready for the Grill. Notice Sam’s fabulous knots?

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Oil the grill grate with vegetable oil. Place the chicken on the grill grate, breast-side up, and close the lid. After 1 hour, lift the lid. If the chicken is browning too quickly, cover the breast
and legs with aluminum foil. Close the lid and continue to roast the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers a temperature of 165 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a platter and allow to rest for 3 minutes. Untie the legs and carve.

We used Rosemary, Basil, and Cilantro in the butter and Rosemary in the cavity of the chicken. Knowing that Sous Chef Sam has a knack for knot tying, I asked him to tie the wings and legs. He would have made the Mafia proud with his knots. I also love that Sam has a similar gift as myself-saying what’s on his mind before thinking about it. After tying the knots he said, “Wow, messing with chickens is kind of morbid. Do you think that most serial killers got their start as butchers?” Oh how I love my Sous Chefs.

As we opened the grill to check on the chickens, the crispiness of the herbed-butter crust was something that belonged in a museum. What a work of art. I stood there in awe, not wanting the ruin the perfection of the moment. “And I knew just as surely, just as clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last” (A River Runs Through It).

The chicken was moist, tender and perfectly crisp. Since it’s only on the smoker for 90 minutes, the flavor doesn’t incorporate as far, but it was delicious anyway.

The Grill can fit 6 chickens at a time. Any suggestions on recipes?

Happy Eating.


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