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I’ve been smoking brisket Texas style for over 35 years. I have a Texas pit that I can smoke 200 lbs of meat at one time. It is made from 3/8” cold rolled steel for heat control and has an offset firebox. It produces the best brisket I’ve ever eaten and I’ve eaten at most of the top 50 bbq joints listed in Texas Monthly. It’s not that I’m such a great pitmaster, it’s using quality meat (I use Prime brisket), constant heat (225 degrees), simple injection, and a quality rub. Smoke for 6 hours, wrap in pink butcher paper and continue smoking until the internal temp reaches 203 degrees. However, you can make an excellent brisket in a small pellet smoker. I do it all winter on the Texas gulf coast. You won’t get as much of a smoke ring since pellets don’t produce much nitric oxide gas which when it reaches the myoglobin turns red. The flavor and tenderness will still be there.
Start with a quality 14-16 lb full packer brisket
Trim fat cap to 1/4 inch & trim all the deckle fat between the point & flat
Inject with your favorite brine and let sit overnight and then coat with your choice of rub.
Smoke @ 225 degrees for 6 hours.
Wrap in pink butcher paper and continue to smoke until internal temp reaches 203. Take out of smoker and place it in a cooler still in pink paper insulated with newspaper. Let rest 2 hours and up to 4. Slice across the grain.
Tomahawk ribeyes are a big deal in Texas. We spend 5 months during the winter sport fishing the Gulf of Mexico for Red & Black Drum, Speckled Trout & Red Snapper. Since seafood is a staple in our diet, it’s nice to splurge on a huge hunk of beef from time to time. These babies have a 2 1/2 to 3 lb hunk of Ribeye on the end of a 12 to 14 inch rib bone. The cost is around $17 a pound for prime & $13 for choice. HEB supermarket usually has a sale on choice tomahawks over the winter for $7 a pound and that’s when we pick up our year supply.
These are choice tomahawks
Season with salt & fresh cracked pepper
Put a temperature probe in the center & place in a 200 degree smoker.
For medium rare pull from smoker @ 128 degrees. Sear in Smoking hot cast iron pan for 2 minutes a side. Foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving.
Directions: 4 hours before cooking your tomahawk Ribeye, remove from the refrigerator and salt all 4 sides with kosher salt. (This is dry brining and creates a moist and more tender piece of meat). Place on a rack and put back in the refrigerator. After a minimum of four hours remove and add coarse ground black pepper. Place in a 200 degree smoker until internal temp reaches 128 degrees. Sear in Smoking hot cast iron skillet 2 minutes a side. Tent with foil 10 minutes before carving.
There’s a BBQ joint in McKinney TX called Hutchin’s that originated the “Texas Twinkie”. As far as I know it’s the only place that serves them up but just two or three days a week. They are jumbo jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese & smoked brisket, wrapped in bacon, smoked & slathered with a sweet sauce at the finish. So good & easy to prepare.
The first thing is to find the largest jalapeños. Cut off the stem end. Using a pairing knife hollow out the peppers removing veins and seeds. Fill 1/3 pepper with softened cream cheese. Stuff shredded brisket using your finger to pack the the pepper full. Take a 1/2 slice of bacon and cover the cut end. Then wrap the pepper with a full slice of bacon. Dust with your favorite rub. Place in a smoker @ 250 degrees for 30 minutes. Brush with sweet sauce five minutes before they’re done.
6 jumbo jalapeños. 4 oz cream cheese. 6 oz brisket. 9 slices thin bacon. Rub. Sweet sauce.
Follow instructions above.
Sweet sauce: 1 cup brown sugar. 1/2 cup ketchup. 1/4 cup cider vinegar. 1/4 cup yellow mustard. Mix all ingredients together. Heat in a pan to dissolve the sugar. Let sit one hour before using.
Winter is always a slow time for me to try new recipes. Since I live in Montana, it is hard to get in the mood to go out and crank up the smoker at 40 below zero. So for the last 2 years I have pulled the 5th wheel over to the Oregon coast near where I grew up. I bring along the boat so I can fish and go crabbing. That being said, I have to leave my Texas BBQ pit at home, along with my other smokers. Still not much chance to do anything creative. I try to look for recipes that I can cook on my portable Weber that might rise to the level that is so good, I want to post it to my blog and share with all of you. I found one such recipe the other day. The recipe is for Philippine Pork BBQ . I am a big fan of the Asian influence on BBQ, Korean, Philippine & Chinese. They use a lot of garlic, ginger, soy, fish sauce & citrus. I found this recipe on a blog called EatingClubVancouver.com. They called it Yaya’s Philippine Pork BBQ. It’s a fairly simple recipe that produces a juicy and flavorful pork skewer.
To prepare the marinade combine the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, 7-up, soy sauce & calamansi* in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Slice pork shoulder into thin strips. Place in bowl and using your hands make sure all the strips are completely coated with the marinade.
* Calamansi is a citrus fruit that is a cross between a Mandarin Orange and a Kumquat. You can substitute orange, lemon, limes, or a combination of them. I used limes.
Pour meat and marinade into a Ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and preferably 48. I let mine marinate 60 hours.
Weave meat onto skewers bunching slices up to produce a full skewer of pork.
Cook over medium heat on the grill 3 minutes per side (4 sides per skewer).
Yaya’s Barbequed Pork
1- big head garlic, peeled & crushed
2- tsp. salt
1- tsp. black pepper
4- Tbsp. soy sauce
4- Tbsp. sugar
12 ounces 7-up or Sprite
10- pcs. calamansi
2 lbs. pork, sliced thin into 1-1/2″ pcs. (We get shoulder butt.)
Mix all ingredients together including the pork. Marinate overnight in the
To make the basting sauce (the “barbeque” sauce), I use some of the marinade and add ketchup, worcestershire sauce, a touch of oil, and adjust the sugar and soy sauce levels. I heat the sauce until “cooked.”
Baste, baste, baste(!) with the barbeque sauce while the meat is cooking.
As for the peanut sauce, again, I use some of the marinade and add the same things above (not so much ketchup, though) plus some peanut butter. I heat this to cook the marinade and make the mixture smooth. Serve peanut sauce with your chicken barbeque. It is heavenly on it!
One of my favorite sandwiches is a true Jewish New York pastrami. Unfortunately where I’m from you just can’t find anything that is even close. So I make my own. The cut of meat most Jewish delis use is the beef navel. It has a lot of fat layers just like bacon that make it so perfect for pastrami. It is a difficult cut to find for the average person. A reasonable substitute is the flat portion of the beef brisket. It has a nice fat cap but not a lot of fat layered. Some people choose to use the point portion of the brisket. It has a lot of fat but is marbled fat versus layered fat. I prefer the flat cut but it’s up to your own personal preference. This recipe works with either. A common error some home curers make is to buy a store bought corned beef that is ready to cook. They press the pastrami seasonings onto the corned beef and smoke it. They eliminate the 5 days minimum curing time needed to cure the brisket. The problem with that approach is that your pastrami is going to taste like corned beef, not pastrami. A dominant flavor in corned beef is pickling spice. You can’t get rid of that flavor by soaking and smoking. So if you are going to make pastrami, don’t take shortcuts.
You can buy a flat cut brisket at most supermarkets. It should be about 8 lbs. Trim the fat cap down to about 1/4 inch. The fat is important but to much requires that you trim the fat cap after you smoke it and there goes a lot of flavor. Prepare your curing brine. Inject the brisket with curing brine in 6-8 places to cut down on the curing time. Place in a food grade plastic bag and pour in the rest of the brine. Seal bag removing all the air and seal. Place in the fridge and let cure 5 days turning over once a day. Remove brisket from brine and rinse. In a small cooler add cold water and allow brisket to soak 4 hours changing the water every hour. This removes excess salt and if you skip this step you will have pastrami that is so salty you will have a hard time eating it.
Remove brisket from soaking water and pat dry with paper towels. It’s time to apply your curing spices. Use it all. Press it on all sides firmly. Place back in a food grade plastic bag and remove as much air as possible. Place a cutting board on top of the plastic bag with a cast iron or other heavy object on top. Place bag in the fridge and allow to cure at least 48 hours. I let it cure 4 days because I like the spices to infuse as much flavor as possible, and since the brisket has been preserved with instacure #1 you don’t have to worry about spoilage. Place brisket in the smoker on an oiled rack and smoke @ 250 degrees for 6 hours. After 6 hours transfer brisket to a baking sheet with a rack and pour about 1/2 inch of hot water in the baking sheet. Cover brisket and baking sheet with heavy duty foil and place back in smoker or in an oven heated to 250 degrees for an additional 3 hours. Remove from heat source and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, covered. It takes some serious time to prepare this pastrami so I would suggest that if you have the refrigerator space, do two briskets. Once done, you can cut each brisket into several pieces (don’t cut in slices) vacuum pack and freeze for up to 90 days. You’re going to think you went to pastrami heaven, I guarantee!
Recipe (double if doing two):
For the brine:
1 gallon ice cold water
8 ozs kosher salt by weight
3 tsp. instacure #1
I cup firmly packed brown sugar
12 cloves fresh garlic, minced
For the rub:
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. garlic granules
1 Tbs. onion granules
Place coriander seeds, yellow mustard seeds in a spice grinder and pulse just until seeds are crushed. Mix in the rest of the spices.
Follow recipe instructions above.
Summer Salami is a popular salami also known as Thuringer. It is a semi-dry cured salami that is smoked after it is allowed to cure to develop a natural tang. It is very popular with hunters who use venison & elk meat and this recipe works very well substituting wild game meat for the pork. I would however make sure that all fat is trimmed from the meat and add the bacon in this recipe or you can use pork back fat.
I use pork and pork back fat in my traditional recipe. Today I am using bacon ends instead of the pork fat to give it a little change of flavor.
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Grind the partially frozen meat and fat using a 3/8 grinding plate. Mix in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place in a ziplock bag and pack tightly removing all air and sealing. Put in the refrigerator and let cure for 4 days.
To make it easier to regrind the meat, I form little pieces that easily feed down the grinding tube. Grind and stuff the casings using a large grinding plate as the whole peppercorns need to pass through.
Hang salami on a smoke rack and let cure @ room temperature for 12 hours.
Insert a temperature probe into one of the salamis and place in smoker @ 110 degrees. When the internal temp reaches that, raise smoker temp to 125 degrees. When that temp is reached, raise smoker temp to 155. The salami is done when 155 degrees is reached. Remove salami still on the smoke rack and shower with cold water until the internal temp reaches 110 degrees. Gently wipe the salami with paper towels.
Let hang on smoke rack @ room temp for three hours to allow the salami to bloom. Store refrigerated. I like to vacuum pack what I’m not going to eat right away and place in the freezer. They won’t lose any flavor for up to 90 days.
4 lbs. pork shoulder
1 lb. bacon or fatty bacon ends
1 tsp. Instacure #1
2 Tbs. powdered dextrose
2 tsp. coarse ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. black peppercorns
3 ozs. Fermento
Cube pork, bacon & partially freeze. Grind with 3/8 grinding plate. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place in ziplock bag and let cure refrigerated 4 days. Regrind using a large grinding plate and stuff into casings. Hang at room temp for 12 hours. Smoke @ 110 degrees several hours then raise the temp to 125 degrees for about and hour. Raise temp to 155 degrees and salami is done when the internal temp is 155 degrees. DO NOT ALLOW THE SMOKER TO GET ABOCE 160 DEGREES OR THE FAT WILL START TO SEPERATE. Remove from smoker immediately and shower with cold water until the internal temp reaches 110 degrees. Hang @ room temp to allow salami to bloom.
This is my favorite dry cured salami to make. It is far superior to the commercial dry cured salami you can buy. A lot of salami sold at the supermarket is cured in about a week. Commercial producers use a process called “fast-fermenting” by using a culture that reduces the moisture content and raises the acidity of the meat in a short period of time. This bypasses the aging process which adds a lot of flavor to the salami. I use a slow-fermenting culture, Bactoferm T-SPX, for traditional fermentation profiles. That means that good bacteria has time to work. Fast-fermented salami will always exhibit a tangy and sour flavor as flavor forming bacteria don’t have sufficient time to work with the meat. My salami can be eaten in 35 days which includes the first 3 days fermenting at near room temperature, however, the curing process continues as long as it is allowed to hang in the proper environment. The longer the better.
There are some important guidelines that must be followed to insure a successful outcome when making a dry cured salami. Since it takes a lot of time before you can see the results of your efforts and hard work, you don’t want to come up to the day to take your first taste and find out your salami is spoiled or tainted with bad bacteria. My 6 rules are: 1.) KEEP IT COLD 2.) Use Instacure #2, not Mortons tender quick. 3.) Use slow-fermenting culture like Bactoferm T-SPX. 4.) Mix the ingredients thoroughly into the meat. 5.) Partially freeze the meat before grinding. 6.) Cure in the proper temperature & humidity ranges. If you follow these rules you should be very pleased with the finished product.
4 lbs. pork shoulder
1 lb. beef chuck
4 1/2 Tbs. Kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. powdered dextrose
1 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
1 tsp. garlic granules
2 Tbs. corn syrup solids
1 tsp. Instacure #2
1/4 tsp. Bactoferm T-SPX
1/4 cup distilled water
protein lined casings
Cut meat into cubes that will fit your grinder. Partially freeze the meat. Place your grinding tools such as the grinding blade, plate, auger, bowls in the freezer before grinding begins. Mix the Instacure and Bactoferm into the distilled water and let activate the culture for 30 minutes. Assemble the rest of the spices in a bowl and mix well. Assemble your grinder and grind the partially frozen cubes using a 3/8 grinding plate. Place the ground meat back in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove meat from the freezer and mix in the spices and 1/4 cup distilled water containing the culture and Instacure #2. Be sure to mix thoroughly, about 6 minutes by hand, 3 minutes using a meat mixer. Place the mixed meat back in the freezer. If you have a meat stuffer, stuff meat into the protein lined casings in 5 equal amounts. If you are using your meat grinder as a stuffer, clean and sanitize the grinding unit and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes. Re-grind and stuff the meat in casings using the largest grinding plate you have as the whole peppercorns need to pass through the plate. Hang the five salamis in your curing chamber for 72 hours @ 68 degrees and a humidity of 85-90%. After 72 hours reduce the temperature in your curing chamber to 54-60 degrees and a humidity of 75%. Let cure in that environment for 32 days. The salami will lose about 30% of its volume during that time. You will see mold starting to grow on your casings in a week to ten days. This is good mold. If it bothers you, mix equal parts water to vinegar and wipe the mold off with a clean paper towel. I do it a couple of times during the curing process just to avoid the bigger job of cleaning it off at the end. I always take out one salami at the 35 day mark to sample. You can leave the remaining salamis in the curing chamber indefinitely. If you need room for more salamis to cure, you can store the cured salamis in the refrigerator in an unsealed ziplock bag. Be sure to never remove any of the casing from any part of the salami unless you are going to eat it right away. Salami with the casing removed dries out very quickly. Partially open salami can be stored by putting plastic wrap over the cut end secured by a rubber band.