Smoked Brisket

IMG_0551This is a dish I have wanted to make for a long time. Every time I watch an American cookery show about bbq’s, they will nearly always smoke a brisket. And every time I salivate just imagining tasting the smokey burnt ends. Well, the wait was over yesterday. Strike that, reverse it, the wait began yesterday. 14 hours to be precise. I began my pit master duties by setting the fire. Back in November I pruned our apple tree and I saved all the off cuts for this very day. When apple wood burns it creates this sweet smokey aroma, perfect for flavouring the brisket through out the cooking. Apple wood is also good for this lengthy cooking style as it burns hot and slow. I bought a 2.5 kg brisket from my local craft butcher for this dish. When I got home I started on the all important spice rub . I allowed this to penetrate the meat for a short time while got set up outside. I used our clay oven to smoke the brisket and it worked perfectly. If you want to re-create this at home there are any amount of clips on youtube on how to build a food smoker. Someday I am going to fabricate a large metal unit and smoke a whole side of cow. When you do decide to cook with a smoker be sure to be safe. Keeping a constant fire burning for 14 hrs comes with some risks. I had on hand a fire extinguisher and bucket of water.IMG_0584

The bucket of water was just a safety token as it has rained nearly everyday since Ireland began alphabetically naming storms. Last year it was just bad weather now this year it’s Storm Abigail (my daughters favourite) , Storm Barney, Storm Clodagh and the just departed Storm Desmond. I’m predicting the next storm to be named Storm Elsa and God know’s she can throw a strop like no other. Back to cooking, you need to make sure that your fire remains constant. Along with the apple wood I used hard wood kindling and damp saw dust. Any untreated wood will be fine. I stoked that fire every hour, on the button, like the diligent pit master I am. I set the timer on my phone so as not to forget. It took 14 hours because I wanted the flames to die down on the fire so it would not have direct contact with meat. The meat is cooked entirely by hot smoke. I think I could cut up 3 hours of that time next time. Once you have a nice black crust on the outside of your meat and the internal temperature reaches 65C you are good. Wrap the meat in foil and start to make the sauce to accompany this beautiful brisket. Of course you could make the sauce while the meat is smoking but it doesn’t take long to put it together.

The Sauce Ingredients:

1 onion

4 oz butter ( half a block )

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp mustard

16 tbsp ketchup ( 1 cup )

1/2 cup of beef stock

1 tbsp crab apple jelly

The Make:

Melt butter in a pot and add diced onion. Cook until the onions soften. Now add all of the remaining ingredients. Bring it up to a gentle simmer. Adjust the sauce if you need to level out the acidity or sweetness by adding more lemon juice or sugar. Let this simmer away for 10 mins to let the flavours marry. Now open the foil wrapped brisket and carefully pour in the meat juices. Stir well and serve up your sliced brisket. Enjoy.

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