….Gorgeousness alert…. this is REALLY REALLY good….
Smoking is one of Wendell’s passions! Smoking food I mean. Well actually… he used to smoke too, like a chimney mind you… and from the age of 14! But he stopped one day, just like that because he had enough, it was 9 years ago. Now, all his smoking activity is directed towards meat, fish, vegetables, salt and other delights.
Because buying a smoker is a bit of an investment, not only in dollars but in space too, instead he bought a book called “Smoking, curing and drying: the complete guide for meat and fish” a fascinating read containing tons of tutorials including one explaining how to build a cardboard cold smoker. It is also full of recipes for all things smoked.
In bed, just before sleeping, Wendell watches, giggling (sometimes to tears), tons of videos of bearded dudes with a Southern American accent showing “snake methods with briquettes”, chilli smoking methods or biltong drying contraptions. All this while I’m slowly getting traumatised reading Anna Karenina…
His dream became reality on Sunday, after a pretty heavy Pub Crawl the night before, he was up at 7:30am setting up his Dad’s old Weber in the backyard. I created a special rub which I will describe below and he installed his coal snake for 12 hours of smoking.
So basically the snake method you can see here, is a way to control the length of hot smoking and the temperature using a “kettle BBQ” such as a Weber. The idea is to pile 2 rows of BBQ briquettes on 2 layers in a semi-circle against the wall of your BBQ. Then wood chips such as hickory are placed on top at regular interval. In the BBQ kettle, a bunch of briquettes are burnt and then installed at one end of the snake. The combustion will slowly move along the sneak for about 10 to 12 hours, smoking the chips one by one regularly. A tray is placed underneath the metal rack half filled with boiling water to keep a good level of moisture.
In the inside of the BBQ, the temperature must be brought between 100 and 120°C before the meat is placed in it. It must remain just underneath 120°C for the length of the cooking. This is done by opening and closing the vents. It should never go above 120°C because an overcooked brisket can be chewy… and what you want here is a super tender, melt in the mouth meat.
As temperature is paramount, you need to use 2 probes to keep track of the BBQ temperature and the meat’s inside temperature. For the meat, the best place to do it is in the thickest part of the brisket. When the meat is done must be between 90° and 95°C and it takes about 10 to 12 hours. For the Barbie, the best is to place the probe on the grill, away from the coals (briquettes). You can set an alarm below 100°C and over 120°.
We used hickory wood chips bought at Bunnings Warehouse.
So this is how I prepared the meat. First I rubbed the kilo of brisket with Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, then again with olive oil.
Then I sprinkled it all over with my spice mix.
Here there are two schools: the marinaters and the hurry-uppers. You can either leave the rubbed meat for an hour (at room temperature) or even overnight (in the fridge). In this case, I was of the second kind.
When the rub is well spread all over, I delicately placed the brisket in the middle of the rack.
An aluminium tray half filled with water was placed underneath.
Wendell added a few chillis from the garden: jalapenos and cayennes.
You can of course smoke a whole brisket and it will feed a large mob of friends but if you feel like 1 kilo is enough, the space left can be used to smoke lots of amazing things such as vegetables (think potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic)
You will then leave it for 12 hours.
Thanks to the probe inside the meat which will beep when over 95°C, and the probe on the grill beeping below 100°C and over 120°C ou will be able to add a bit of air to raise the temperature or close the vents more to lower it.
If you do some gardening that day, you can monitor your brisket while ticking that one of the list… or you can just sip your morning coffee and later on your craft beer reading a book on the decking.
And just for you, this mini video to get into the smoking mood… it’s a shame I can’t send you a bit of the smell…. yum!
So here is the recipe!
- 1 kilo beef brisket
- A dash of apple cider vinegar
- A dash of olive oil
- 1 tbs sweet paprika
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbs ground cumin
- 1 tbs cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp or tbs according to your taste of ground chilli
- ½ tsp ground aniseed
- 1 tbs ground coriander
- 1 tbs roasted and freshly ground sichuan pepper
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (replace by chilli flakes if needs be)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- In a large bowl, rub meat with a dash of vinegar. Add a dash of olive oil and rub again.
- Mix all the other ingredients well with your hands or a whisk.
- Sprinkle over the meat enough to cover it but don't let it cake. Keep the mix for the next brisket in a labelled glass jar.
- Leave it to rest while you start your BBQ using the snake method (see video linked in the blog post), bringing the temperature inside de BBQ to 110°C to 120°C. Some people leave the meat to marinate for 1 hour on the bench, some will start to cook as soon as the BBQ is ready and some will leave it in the fridge overnight. All methods are good.
- Place an aluminium tray on the bottom grill of the BBQ. Pour boiling water in it half way up.
- Place the meat in the middle of top the grill, fat up, making sure no side is too close to the coals.
- Set one probe to beep at 95°C and place it in the thickest part of the meat and set one to beep under 100°C and over 120°C and place it on the grill not too close to the coals.
- Close the lid, vents half way through.
- Leave it be for 10 to 12 hours adjusting the vents to make sure that the temperature inside the BBQ remains between 110°C to 120°C.
- The meat is ready when it reaches 95°C in its thickest part.
- Take it out and place it on a chopping board where you will leave it to rest for 30 minutes. Slice it, fat side up, against the grain.
- Serve! Adding a bit of sea salt flakes if necessary.