look at the great juices on this perfectly smoked brisket done with red oak

The perfect smoked brisket with red oak

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Smoking a Beef Brisket

We receive a lot of questions about preparing and smoking a beef brisket on different equipment. There is no question, that people in North America love their beef and anyone who has sampled prime BBQ knows that brisket has a truly unique flavor that puts this food experience on many people’s bucket list.  Let me share some of the key tips we offer as well as some of the interesting questions posed regarding this infamous meat.

What’s With All The Names?

Whole packer, Flat, Point, Deckle, Burnt Ends.  These are likely names you’ve heard or seen float around.  Let’s start with what brisket is – pectoral muscles (there are two) of the animal.  They get a lot of work, bearing more than half the animal’s weight, which causes them to get tough. Thus, the reason for a low temperature, long cook time to get this cut of meat tender. Oh, and yes, you can use a slow cooker but that just isn’t BBQ!

When purchased, a whole packer often called Texas Style Brisket will weigh 9-16 lbs.  Let’s be clear – the whole packer contains two muscles; the flat and the point.  So, there are really 3 cuts offered in most butcher shops: a whole packer brisket (which includes the next two cuts), a flat (1st cut), and a point (the 2nd cut or deckle).   These 3 cuts are not the same and will require some changes in cooking.  Also, don’t confuse corned beef.  Yes, it is brisket but it is a preserved cut that should not be used for barbecue!

Don’t you need all the fat left on to make it tender?

When brisket is sold whole, it will contain a fat cap side that can be up to an inch of fat.  This requires trimming!  Fat is oil and meat is essentially loaded with water, so the two do not readily mix.  However, fat can add a flavorful component to dishes especially when cooked over or with hardwood.  Therefore, I recommend you trim all the outer fat layer to ⅛” or at the most ¼”.  Regarding the fat cap, my preference is to remove it, but if you want to add some extra flavonoids to your cooking environment, you can always cook the fat cap separate from the meat, allowing it to drip into the water pan and add flavor to the condensation/steam that develops.

If you elect to cook with the fat cap intact, cook the meat with the fat cap down so it renders into the water pan, or coals depending on what equipment you’re cooking on.

There is silverskin so trim any that you see, much like you do with ribs, as this is stiff connective tissue.  Remember, the fat needs to be trimmed for flavor to penetrate the meat.  Too much fat, and nothing will get through to the meat!

Size: Can I cut it up to reduce the cooking time?

Sometimes I think the biggest obstacle to a successful brisket is the thinking that you must keep this cut of meat as one large piece (if purchased as the packer cut).  Generally, you end up with a dry thinner portion and undercooked thicker portion given the long cook time.  Why not try cutting this so you have two more equal thicknesses to deal with?  That is, instead of attempting the whole packer, purchase the flat and point separately.  It’s always a good rule of thumb that if you don’t possess great butchering skills, have the butcher do the cutting for you.

Always Foil?  

Known as the “Texas Crutch”, this is a technique of wrapping the meat in heavy duty foil with 1-2 ounces of liquid.  The purpose?  Aiding tenderization of a muscle meat and speeding the cooking process.  You will compromise some of the crisping of the bark (outside of the brisket) with this method but not the flavor.

Brisket = All Nighter?

Not necessarily.  Although you need to plan 45-60 minutes per pound at an average temperature of 225° F, and that the meat will likely stall around 150° F (when connective tissue and internal fats liquefy), the average full smoker/grill time will be 12-14 hours.  You can do a partial smoke on the grill/smoker and then move to the conventional oven.  Here’s how – Smoke until the internal temperature is close to 130° F or when the meat stalls at about 150° F, ensuring great wood-fired flavor.  Now, you can move that beautiful meat to the oven.  Set is still for a low temperature oven say 200 to 225° F.  I recommend tenting the pan.  Keep in mind, you won’t get a crunchy bark but you will get the peace of mind of a flavorful meat and the ability to enjoy family and friends.  If you need the oven for other food items at a higher temperature, just pull the meat, tent it well and allow it to sit untouched until you’re ready to carve.

Rub/Brine/Injection?  What do I do?

Food is personal so experiment and find what works for you and the people that you serve.  Plus, no one said salt and pepper can’t be your rub so don’t feel pulled to have to add a ton of ingredients for a rub.  The key is to marinate the meat with whatever seasoning/rub you choose for at least 6 hours or overnight to ensure that some of the water is rendered out and tenderizing begins.  Plus, cold meat will attract smoke vapor. Also, beef does not like sweet so any combination of ingredients you use for a rub, include only a small quantity of sugar.

You can consider injecting the meat with a brine to breakdown the intramuscular fat.  The application of salt allows the muscle of the meat to retain moisture and gives the final product greater flavor.  Always cook it fat cap side down to the heat.  This allows the fat to act as an insulator and keep more moisture in the meat so you don’t have a dry meat result.

Final Tips:

Purchase only USDA Choice or Prime beef.  Start with 4-6 ounces of wood and add more every 30 minutes for the first 2-3 hours.  If you notice a considerable color difference between the top and bottom of the meat, go ahead and turn it.  If you plan to foil, do this at 150° F.  Shoot for a finished internal temperature of about 200° F.  At that point, let the meat sit in the foil for up to 2 hours on the closed cooker or move to a cooler.  If you prefer a crisper bark, you can unwrap the meat from the foil following the 2 hour rest and broil for a few minutes on each side or put on a hot grill.  It just takes a few minutes on each side.  Always slice the meat with the fat side up, across the grain, preferably with the flat and point separated first.  Add any sauce or mop after the slicing.

Now, go get your beef!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

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BBQ Shrimp Smoked with a Hand Held Smoker

Shrimp Smoked with a Hand Held Smoker- Gourmia® Mini Smoker- Dr Smoke

 

BBQ SHRIMP- INSTANT GRATIFICATION!

 

The Gourmia® Mini Smoker is the perfect equipment for those who want to infuse smoke flavor into raw and cooked foods, beverages, herbs, and spices.  Using SmokinLicious® Minuto® or Piccolo® Wood Chips ensures maximum flavor infusion from a clean, 100% bark-free hardwood.  Select from 8 hardwood species and combine woods for your own customized flavoring.

SmokinLicious® Minuto® Wood Chips and the Gourmia® unit.

Minuto® Wood Chips and the Gourmia® unit.

We are going to show the versatility of cold smoke techniques by infusing smoke into some raw shrimp that have been marinated in BBQ sauce.  I’m using SmokinLicious® Sugar Maple Minuto® Chips in Size 8.  In addition to the smoker and chips, you will need to place your marinated shrimp in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a food storage bag, and a lighter. Get ready, for a fun, quick way to fabulous smoked BBQ shrimp, in an instant!

Tip-Using a bag and the smoker unit to infuse the flavor

Tip-Using a bag and the smoker unit to infuse the flavor

So simple to do, cold smoke generators let you direct the smoke just where you want.  I’ve taken my uncooked shrimp and marinated them overnight in my favorite BBQ sauce.  Any sauce will do whether homemade or store bought.  I set up my Gourmia® Mini Smoker with Size 8 Minuto® Wood chips from SmokinLicious®, inserting the smoker’s tubing directly into my marinade bag.  I seal the bag around the tubing, turn on the smoker, and light the wood chips.  As soon as I see the smoke start to the fill the bag, I turn the smoker off, pull the tubing out, and seal the bag completely.

 You can leave the smoke sealed in the bag until you are ready to cook the shrimp.  Any method of cooking will do – in the pan, baked in the oven, on the grill – whatever your pleasure!  So much flavor you will think you just smoked for hours on a traditional smoker.  Unlock your imagination and get smoking with SmokinLicious® and Gourmia®!

 

Finished product- Yum! Delicious!

Finished product- Yum! Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

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Ember Cooking/Roasting Garlic In A Skillet

 

Ember roasted garlic for the ages!

Ember roasted garlic for the ages!-Dr. Smoke®

One of my favorite herbs is garlic due to all the applications garlic has in cooking.  One technique that you may not have tried is ember firing the garlic using a wood for flavor and a cast iron skillet for smoke control.

 

Here’s what you will need to do this technique:

  • A cast iron skillet – Lodge™ has a great model
  • Garlic purchased with the stalks on as you’ll need these for presentation and control during the cooking process
  • An LP/gas grill – any model or size

 

Grill Preparation

Ever wonder what else you could do with the cast iron skillet other than fire place cooking?   Well, use it to ember roast garlic but on your LP/gas grill!  That’s right.  We will use the gas grill for fire proof cooking and air control without need for the LP/gas.

 

Place the iron skillet on the grill grates and prepare to add the wood chips.   We will be using Grande Sapore® wood chips from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products.  The species selected is Ash for its ability to produce hot heat level and an even bed of coals.  It is one of my favorite hardwoods to use for ember cooking of vegetables because of its coal-ability and mild flavor.  You will need a ¼ cube of the chips.  Remember, we are developing a bed of coals for this cooking technique so unlit and lit coals will be used.

 

Adding Wood for Flavor

Grand Sapore wood chips added to skillet

Grand Sapore® wood chips added to skillet

It’s time to add the wood chips to the skillet!  Take the Grande Sapore® Ash wood chips and fill the cast iron skillet.  Light the chips using a cooking torch or match but remember not to use any other materials for lighting the wood; no newspaper and certainly no lighter fluid which is petroleum at its best.  Once the chips ignite, you need to monitor the depth as you want to end up with a 3-inch depth.  That means, add wood chips as need during the buildup of the embers.

 

Adding the Garlic

Once we reach a depth of embers of approximately 2-3 inches in the skillet, it’s time to add the garlic by placing them on top of the hot embers.

Take the stems and twist the whole garlic so that each garlic head seats completely in the embers.  Almost instantly, you will see smoke from the embers all around the outside of the garlic.  This is the flavor infusion at the start.  It’s now time to close the top of the grill to control the amount of airflow to the embers.

 

Ember Roasting Cooking Technique

Once the garlic is added to the hot embers, you will see the dry outer covering of the garlic ignite.  This is the main reason why the outer covering and stems are left on the garlic heads as its sole purpose is to protect the cloves!  You will see the great char coloring on the outside of the garlic.  The stems will either fall off and burn or burn off during the roasting process.  The entire roasting process will take 45-60 minutes depending on the overall heat level and depth of the embers.

 

Wood embers ignite garlic

Wood embers ignite garlic

The Break to Garlic Heaven

Now, remove the garlic heads from the pan and allow to cool before the peeling process begins.  This is the heavenly part – breaking apart all the charred outer portions and revealing the tenderized, wood charred garlic cloves!  Get ready!  These beauties are ready to be minced, diced, added whole – just about anything you can think of to add depth of flavor you’ve never experienced before.  Now, go on.  You know you’re just dying to try this technique yourself!

Bon Bar B Que!

Dr Smoke

Dr Smoke®

Dr. Smoke and The Culinary Team

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For step by step video instructions go to qfhmasbquczwgqy-1600x900-nopad@smokinlicious and follow #smokinliciousmenu for this recipe and many more!

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[collage of steps to roast/cook Cauliflower on the LP/gas grill with with wood chunks]

[collage of steps to roast/cook Cauliflower on the LP/gas grill with with wood chunks]

Cauliflower on the LP/Gas Grill Technique

It’s time to bring your vegetables into grilling season!  Nothing beats the smell of a fresh garden vegetable roasting over wood even on an LP/gas grill.  Make this the time of the year you’ll get great char wood flavour in your seasonal vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • All you’ll need for this easy cooking experience is an LP or gas grill – any brand or size will do.
  • “Double” Filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products.
  •  a couple of heads of cauliflower.  Pick the color you like the best – white, yellow or even purple!

Grill Preparation

If you want to add special wood flavoring to your LP/Gas grill there are easy steps to follow:

  • Make sure your grill is clean from any significant grease build up.
  • Remove the grilling grates and determine how much space is between the diffuser and the grilling grate.
  • The diffuser is the plate covering the unit’s gas burner(s).
  • Don’t remove the cover.

[setting up the wood chunks on the heat Diffuser to develop hot spots for Charring]

[setting up the wood chunks on the heat Diffuser to develop hot spots for Charring]

Once you have the sizing computed, then select the SmokinLicious® wood chunk size that will fit – Single Filet which is ~4 inches or the Double Filet which is ~2 inches.

 

Wood Preparation

Now, let’s set up the wood on the grill.  Remove the cooking grates from the grill then strategically place the wood chunks over the heat diffuser.   This is the metal piece covering the actually gas burners.   If the SmokinLicious® wood chunks are fresh, then you can add them directly to the unit without pre-soaking them.  If not, you may want to consider a lite soaking of about 15 minutes.  Because I’m cooking cauliflower, I am using the chunks in their natural state.  However, feel free to consider a pre-soak in liquid with flavouring such as beer, wine or juice.

 

Now replace the grill grates back on the unit, over the SmokinLicious® wood chunks!  Make sure the grates are securely seated back on the unit.  If there is a lot of space on your unit between the diffuser and the grate you may want to consider a SmokinLicious® single filet or block item.  Now light the unit, set the dials to a low heat setting and bring the unit up to temperature.  Say around 180 degrees.  Do not overheat the unit.

 

Cauliflower Preparation

In preparing my cauliflower for this cook, I’ve elected not to reduce the cauliflower heads into pieces.  I prefer to do the cutting towards the end of my grilling presentation.

After pre-heating the grill to around 180 degrees, I add the cauliflower heads to the grill grates.  Let the wood infusion flavour begin!

[ Fresh heads added to the grill, note the wood has not ignited yet to develop a hot spot]

[ Fresh heads added to the grill, note the wood has not ignited yet to develop a hot spot]

Roasting Process

I position the cauliflower head over the hot spots created by the SmokinLicious®Double” filet wood pieces which are under the grilling grates.  The wood will ignite and begin the charring stage of the heads of cauliflower.  I recommend bunching the wood pieces together to produce a hot spot on the LP/gas grill to allow for a direct char technique.  While I am not using the smoke from the wood, I am still infusing great natural grilling flavour with the wood.

[Now I have hot spots, and look a the char we are putting on the cauliflower. The green is the Parsley I add at the end of the process]

[Now I have hot spots, and look a the char we are putting on the cauliflower. The green is the Parsley I add at the end of the process]

My cooking is taking place with an open lid because I want to char not smoke!  It’s important to keep turning the heads so the flavour will be even.  In the final stage of charring, I add some fresh parsley to the cauliflower heads for final flavour and presentation.  And, of course, I love to drizzle melted butter sometimes infused with paprika, to the finish product.

Remember this is a vegetable, not meat so there is no grease to flare up the LP/gas grill.  This is another example of why using SmokinLicious® Wood Chunks on the diffuser and under the grill grates of your LP/gas unit can generate such exceptional wood-fired flavour. Now, get those head of cauliflower and ENJOY!

Note to visit our @smokinlicious and #smokinliciousmenu on Instagram for audio instructions and other cooking techniques.

Bon Bar B Q

Dr. Smoke and the Culinary Team

[Finished and ready to serve, nice Char on the outside and a wood cooked flavour]

[Finished and ready to serve, nice Char on the outside and a wood cooked flavour]

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Getting ready for a grilled broccoli extravaganza!

Getting ready for a grilled broccoli extravaganza!

Grilling/Roasting Broccoli on the Grill

Ready to add a new flavour twist to your average Broccoli?  Then get your LP/Gas Grill ready and find out how easy this method is using wood chunks for great char flavour.  All you’ll need for this easy cooking experience is:

Equipment/Ingredients:

  • An LP/Gas grill of any brand or size.
  • Double” Filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products
  • 2-3 Heads of Broccoli

Preparing the Grill

Adding special wood flavoring to your LP/Gas grill can be so easy by following these simple steps: make sure your grill is clean from significant grease build up.  Remove the grilling grates and determine how much space is between the diffuser and the grilling grate.  The diffuser is the plate covering the units gas burner (do not remove the cover).

Once you have the measurement select the SmokinLicious® wood chunk size that will best fit the area.  Based on your measurement, select either the Single Filet which is ~4 inches or the Double Filet which is ~2 inches.

Wood Preparation

Remove the cooking grates from the grill.  Then strategically place the wood chunks over the heat diffuser.   This is the metal piece covering the actually gas burner(s).   If the SmokinLicious® wood chunks are fresh, then you can add them directly to the unit without pre-soaking them.  If not, you may want to consider a lite soaking of about 15 minutes.

Wood chunks above diffuser

Wood chunks above diffuser

Today, I want my broccoli to just have the natural flavour of the wood so I’m using them un-soaked.  Know that you can add additional flavouring through the soaking process by soaking the wood in a liquid  like wine, beer, or juice.

Then replace the grills back over the SmokinLicious® wood chunks!  Make sure the grates are securely seated back on the unit.  If there is a lot of space on your unit between the diffuser and the grate you may want to consider a SmokinLicious® single filet or block item.

Now light the unit and set to a low heat setting. Bring the unit up to a temperature of about 180 degrees F.  Do not overheat the unit as the goal is to delay ignition of the wood.

Preparing the Broccoli

I slice up the broccoli head into what I call serving slices (you can get to make individual florets or larger sizes, totally up to you) and add them on the grill grates.  Keep in mind, you want to be able to move the finished product from the grill to the serving dish without too much issue.  The actual sizing of the pieces doesn’t matter as all sizes will take in the natural wood flavour.  It’s best to break down the head into florets in order to ensure charring on all portions of the broccoli.

Then I close the cover of the grill for the cooking/smoking process.

Cooking Process

Open the lid of the LP/gas grill after about 4-5 minutes of cook time.  Remember, your heat setting should remain on low.  You should see that the SmokinLicious®Double” filet wood chunks have ignited!  The burning of the wood will produce heat and smoke within the unit.  Open the lid every 5 minutes or so and move the broccoli florets around to make sure you have an even searing on each piece. 

After 7-10 minutes, the broccoli should be showing a color change due to the wood flavonoids infusion. You should see the charring on the outside of the florets as well as see the smoke being produced by the wood that is burning under the grate. I use these ‘hot” spots to move the food over them which will ensure complete “char” on the outside of each floret.

A great smoky taste to the finished result!

A great smoky taste to the finished result!

Final Product

All that’s left is to move the florets to a serving dish, add  some butter, salt and fresh ground pepper to complete the dish.  Feel free to experiment with different variations on a finish as everything is fair game.  Keep in mind too, that broccoli freezes really well, especially when broken down in to florets.  Be sure to take advantage of the growing season and freeze your finished wood roasted broccoli for use when fresh broccoli is unavailable.

Bon Bar B Que!

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