Texas Brisket for #SundaySupper

On May 18, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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When I read this week’s SundaySupper theme was “Low & Slow” I knew exactly what I wanted to make and where I would get inspiration from.  As regular readers of my blog will know, this site has been taken over by a lot of slow cooking – cooking in a smoker to be exact. After returning from South by Southwest in Austin last March, I had a constant craving for barbecue. Smoked barbecue was constantly on my mind since I had my first and so far only taste of the most amazing brisket I’ve had in my life at Franklin Barbecue.

A coworker and I went to Franklin’s pretty late which was quite risky since the line is usually 3 hours and when they run out that’s it. No more and that time today was right around 1:15pm when we showed up and got behind a few people waiting outside the door.  About three minutes after getting in line someone from the restaurant comes out to put a “sold out today” sign on the door telling us they’re out, but they may have some scraps.

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At this point, we are good with scraps.  We waited in line with about 6 other people and when we finally made it to the counter there was one last perfectly cooked brisket just for us. No scraps!  Instead we had some amazing brisket that day.

I still can’t get that meal out of my mind (or is it taste-buds?)  It was an unforgetable food experience similar to the first time I went to Mario Batali’s Babbo Restaurant in New York City back in the early 2000’s. That meal change my perspective on Italian food forever. Franklin Barbecue changed my perspective on Southern barbecue forever and I knew I had to find a way to make that experience come home, just like how I learned to cook a few dishes like Batali’s Mint Love Letters ravioli.

For the next month I research smokers. Wood smokers. Ceramic smokers. Electric smokers. All kinds of options and read a ton of articles and message boards talking about perfect brisket and what it takes to get that great dark, Texas crunch and smoked flavor I had in Austin.

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When it came down to a final decision between a CookShack electric smoker and a ceramic Big Green Egg smoker, I went electric.  Now I knew this sacrificed me ever fully replicating Franklin Barbecue, but I knew I could get close. Heck I’d probably only just get close and that would still be pretty amazing.

So here I am on my second attempt at brisket in my CookShack smoker.  The first attempt was great, but it was a little too complex in the steps and came out a little too dry.  Plus last time I made a rookie mistake when buying the meat and bought what’s called a “flat” brisket.  What you really want is a “point” brisket. The point is that extra flap of the beef shoulder that most butchers cut-off from the brisket. Fortunately, I’ve found a great local butcher who specializes in grass-fed beef and I called them last Tuesday, literally when the cow arrives, and asked for a point brisket that ended up being a little over 9 pounds.

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I also found Aaron Franklin, the owner of Franklin Barbecue, in some YouTube videos talking about how he cooks brisket.

Here it is my second attempt. It was definitely an improvement, but I still have some work.  Mostly I left too much fat on.  Be sure to cut most of the fat off and watch Aaron’s video for some tips. I didn’t completely follow the instructions which I will next time. Basically, you want to remove most of the fat and keep some. Again, watch the video to learn more.

Don’t forget to check out the fabulous line up of recipes for today’s Low and Slow #SundaySupper

Low & Slow Breads & Starters:

Low & Slow Mains:

Low & Slow Sides:

Low & Slow Desserts:

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Low & Slow Food from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Don’t forget to join the #SundaySupper chat on Twitter Sunday to discuss cooking low and slow! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share our delicious recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Check out the Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper! Being held July 19th – 21st in beautiful, sunny Orlando, FL. It’s a must for food bloggers. Find out more here ? Food & Wine Conference

 

Texas Brisket

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 11 Hours Total Time: 11 Hours 15 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 9-10 lb point brisket
  • 1/2 cup ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the brisket removing most of the fat, but keeping some about a 1/4″ thick.
  2. Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl or shaker. Coat the brisket and let it refrigerate overnight.
  3. Heat smoker to 225 degrees. Place brisket in smoker.
  4. About 2 hours spray quickly with apple juice in a spray bottle.
  5. Remove brisket in 4 hours and wrap in butcher paper or aluminum foil. Spray apple juice and cover.
  6. Remove foil in last hour of cooking when meat temperature reaches 185 degrees. Spray with apple juice and place back in smoker until meat reaches 195 degree internal temperature.
  7. Serve.
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Mario Batali’s Mint Love Letters

On April 21, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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If you are ever in New York City, I highly recommend Babbo.  It’s an Italian restaurant from celebrity chef Mario Batali.  It’s amazing.  I say Mario is a “celebrity chef” but he is the real deal and is by far my favorite chef. His approach to Italian food that used to be featured in his Food TV Network show Molto Mario, back when Food TV had good shows instead of all of this competitive reality crap.

My favorite two dishes of Babbo’s are the oxtail gnocchi and mint love letters.  I’ve tried making both but have been more successful with my attempts at the latter than the former.  Nothing I’ve made is equal or better to what I’ve had a Babbo’s.  That said this is a very impressive dish and it is definitely worth your time and effort, especially considering how Babbo’s isn’t around the corner from my home.

This dish took about a hour and half to make, so do it on a weekend, not after work.

First thing you’ll want to do is make the Basic Red Sauce. I did this the day before.. The recipe is simple and uses these few ingredients.

First start with making your pasta dough, I use a basic recipe that requires 30 minutes after the dough is made making sure it is not sticky and wrap it in plastic. Let it sit and make your filling.

For the Mint Love Letters, ie the Ravioli, you’ll want to start with the filling.  Blend peas, mint, Parmigiano Reggiano, heavy cream and salt and pepper using a food processor. I’d advise adding the heavy cream separately until you develop a thick paste that will hold as the filling in the pasta sheets.

Now work with your pasta creating two sheets of similar size and shape that you’ll use to create about 3 to 4 raviolis.  I run the pasta through the rollers starting at thickness 1 working down to thickness 5. You can go as low as 6, but you will have some rip. I recommend thinning the sheets to size 5 thickness.

Prepare each ravioli using two thin sheets of pasta dough and small dollop of filing making sure it’s not too large as you don’t want it bursting later when boiling.

Continue making your raviolis and dust with flour so they will not stick to each other. Also start heating your water to bring to a boil, lightly salt.

Start your sauce by lightly browning your spicy ground lamb. If you do not like lamb, use ground beef and add a 1 teaspoon of each of basil and oregano and add a few flakes of dried red pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, being careful not to overcook or undercook.

While the ravioli is boiling and the meat is lightly browned, add the red sauce and about 5 chiffon leaves of fresh mint before serving. Cook the red sauce and meat for about 3 minutes.

Add several raviolis to each plate and complete with the meat sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.


Recipes:

Basic Red Sauce

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage 

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