Great Guestification: Smoked Brisket with Dad Salt(tm)

beef brisket smoked on the grill

But Dad, It’s Smoky!

There’s a way old Steve Martin bit about teaching kids to talk wrong. The skit takes place in a classroom filled with young children. One child raises his hand and when called on asks; ‘May I please go to the bathroom?’. The teacher, a bewildered look on his face, says ‘I’m sorry?’ The student replies: ‘Sorry, can I moo-moo dog face to the banana patch?’ And, he is sent on his way to the bathroom.

As kids, we used ‘moo moo dog face to the banana patch’ all the time when we wanted to be excused from the dinner table or elsewhere. We all thought making up words or speaking wrong was a great idea. My brother took his own spin on Steve Martin’s craft and teaches his own kids wrong words…To be fair, he just elongates words, sometimes creating verbs out of nouns or adverbs out of …doesn’t matter. Just know that this happens and now his people (son and daughter) are also doing it.

spices salt mixes beef brisket

Dad Salt

My brother is also an inventor of sorts….and created a magical new mix of spices called ‘Dad Salt’. Don’t ask me what’s in it, cuz it’s like a secret… just know that you should put the stuff on everything. Still working on marketing and margins, but soon to be available everywhere.

I was recently with them all – GUESTIFICATING at their home in Cincinnati. And, we made a giant Smoked Beef Brisket as people in Cincinnati are wont to do. As the brisket was my brother’s creation, I have tried to channel his spirit in CRAFTIFYING this post.

Tiny apartment tips:

  1. Be a good GUESTIFIER – to ensure future invites
  2. Find GUESTIFICATION locations with outdoor grills
  3. Don’t try this in your tiny apartment
  4. LMK if you are interested in purchasing ‘Dad Salt’

Giant Smoked Brisket (serves an army….of 8)

NOTE: This is a two day process. A commitment to meat. COMMITIFY yourself.

Ingredients:

  • brisket dinner smoked

    Meats En Place

    1 Giant 12lb Beef Brisket – we got ours at Costco, the land of giant meats

  • 2 Cups Apple Juice
  • 1 14oz Can of Beef Broth
  • 2 TBSP of minced garlic – I never use the jar stuff, but a guest really shouldn’t say such things
  • 1 TBSP EVOO
  • Loads of DAD SALT(tm)
  • NOTE: If you haven’t yet ordered or received your Dad Salt, you can create your own poor imitation by mixing together – sea salt, bacon salt, garlic powder, paprika, ground pepper, onion powder
  • A meat injector
  • 2 cans of Darkish beer or ale – we used 1 can of Boddington’s and 1 can of Guinness
  • Applewood chips for the grill
  • Buns
  • Store bought sweet bbq sauce

1. HEATIFICATION of the Injecting Agent:  Heat 1 Cup of the Apple Juice and 1/2 of the can of beef broth with the garlic and olive oil over low heat in a sauce pan

meat injecting beef brisket smoked

Injecting agent heating on STOVIFIER

2. Once the flavors have come together and the mix is FRAGRANTIFIED – about :05 mins…let the mixture cool slightly

3. TRIMMITIZING: Pat dry the giant brisket and trim off most of but not all of the excess fat. The fat lends flavor and moisture to the meat…so leave about 25% of it on the giant beef

beef brisket trimmed dinner grill smoking

Giant knives scare me. Note some fat remains.

4. RUBIFICATION: Rub Dad Salt(tm) generously all over the giant meat

brisket smoked dinner grill

Rubbified with Generous Amount of Dad Salt

5. INJECTIFICATION: Fill the meat injector with the garlic, broth, apple juice mixture and inject liberally all over the meat

meat injector dinner smoked brisket grill

Injectifying Juice – messy job, so yes, do this in a large roasting pan lined with foil – those are my brother’s man hands, btw.

6. Cover the INJECTIFIED, RUBIFIED meat and refrigerate overnight

THE NEXT DAY……

7. RE-RUBIFYING: Remove the meat from the fridge and rub AGAIN liberally with Dad Salt

8. SMOKIFIER; Early, like way early in the morning, prepare the grill with very low indirect heat.

9. Prepare a large drip pan with 2 cans of beer (a darker beer is better here) and a 1/2 cup of Apple Juice AND the fat trimmings from the brisket and place it on the low rack of the grill

smoked brisket grill dinner

BEERIFYING – step 1 to SMOKIFIER prep

beef brisket recipe grilling smoking meats

Setting up the Smokifier – note coals are contained by large pieces of hickory that have been soaked for over an hour

10. SMOKIFICATION: Replace the second rack and put the Brisket over the side with the beer/juice/fat pan. On the other side, place several applewood chips that have been soaked for at least an hour in water in a smoker box

smoked beef brisket dinner grill

Let the Smoking Begin

11. Cover the grill and let meat smoke forever….Like 8 hours

12. FOILIZING: After 8 hours, remove the brisket from the smoker, put in a large roasting dish lined with foil….And, then seal the meat in foil.

beef brisket smoked on grill

FOILIZED – Ready to be ovenized

13. OVENIZATION: put the giant meat into a 250 degree oven for an additional 2 hours

14. REJUICIFICATION: Remove the meat and let it rest for :20 – :30 minutes

15. SLICERIZING: Serve warm by the slice

beef brisket smoked service dinner

Slicerizing the meats. Note fab smoke ring

We served the tender, smoky slices atop potato buns with some cole slaw and sweet bbq sauce.

I’m not sure it’s a great idea to TEACHIFY kids to speak wrong….But, I will say that now that the kids are older and able to make up their own words…it’s fun to watch. Plus, I’m sure it helps keep their creative juices flowing.

Listen, when in Rome, right? Being with my Cincy peeps is always a great GUESTIFICATION.

IMG_7457PS – LMK if you want to know more about Dad’s Salt(TM)

Killer Griller: Smoked & Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

baby back ribs smoking ribs city barbeque sauce

Finished Ribs with Smoke Ring (that’s the pink edge) and Sweet BBQ Sauce

New York is one of the biggest cities in the world…OK, like 38th, but that’s pretty big. Still, there are things you just can’t do here.

Like big meat grilling…I mean unless you have a big terrace, deck, back yard (ha!)…you just can’t outdoor grill. And, then there are those pesky laws about transporting gas tanks – like for a gas grill – through any of the tunnels or over any of the bridges. Uhm, this is an island, how am I supposed to transport my off-island bought gas tanks?

No worries…With any luck, we have all found friends and relatives with places outside of the city. In a perfect world, these generous people who open up their homes to us, have a grill. While I prefer a gas grill, no need to be picky…In many cases a charcoal grill is actually better.

On a recent trip to Cincinnati – remember, where my people live and cheerleaders date minors – I marveled as the grill master (aka, my brother) made some unbelievably good smoked and bbq baby back ribs using his old school charcoal Weber grill.

Tiny Apartment Tip: Make friends with homes off the island….

Hickory and Applewood Smoked Baby Back Ribs (serves 6)

Warning: This is an all day event….but, you’re in the country or at least out of the city, what else would you be doing?

Ingredients:

  • baby back ribs smoked barbeque kroger

    Kroger Baby Back Ribs – I think these were each over 3.25lbs – and very moist and tender

    2 giant packages of pork baby back ribs – 3.25 – 3.5 lbs each

  • city barbecue barbeque original sauce

    City Barbeque Original Sauce

    1 – 2 cups City Barbeque Original Barbeque Sauce

  • 2 TBSP Sea Salt
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Salt
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 2 TBSP Onion Powder
  • 1 TBSP Paprika
  • 2 Meat Injectors worth of Bacon Grease  – just go with it
  • A Bunch of Hickory Chips
  • A Bunch of Applewood Chips

1. In a large bucket or pot or bowl or whatever, combine the wood chips, cover with water and soak for at least 2 hours…

dinner baby back smoked barbeque ribs

The Bucket Method for wood chip soaking

2. Remove the ribs from packaging and peel the membrane from the back side. This was a bit tricky because the membrane is slimy and tough to pull off…but, you can lift the edge of the membrane with a butter knife and then use a paper towel or rubber tongs to pull back the membrane

baby back ribs pull back membrane

Paper Towel Pull Back Method

3. In a bowl, combine the Sea Salt, Garlic Salt, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Onion Powder. We also threw in some Hickory Flavor Rub…

4. Rub the meat on both sides generously with the spicy mixture – my anal retentive brother puts his hands in plastic baggies and then rubs…but you can also just use your bare hands and, omg, wash them after – your call

Smoked grilled barbeque baby back ribs

Generously Season both sides…

5. And, this is pretty OTT…but, whatever…Using your meat injector (a tool only found in Sweeney Todd’s or Hannibal Lector’s collection…or the home of teenage boys who like science and bacon) Inject each rib with a good squirt of bacon fat…Yeah, that’s right, we injected pork fat into pork ribs…

meat injector bbq ribs

OTT Meat Injection: Bacon Fat into Pork. Yeah, we did that.

6. Wrap the ribs tightly in tin foil and put in the fridge – ideally overnight – but, at least 3 hours

dinner barbecue smoked baby back ribs

Wrap the Ribs tightly in Reynold’s Wrap

7. After the overnight dry rub fridging….Prepare your grill – this is a charcoal grill only event:

smoked barbecue barbeque baby back ribs

Indirect Heat…And, snow. Grilling knows no season (see no charcoal or wood chips in the middle)

  • Set the grill for indirect heat – that means the center of the grill basin doesn’t have any charcoal in it…but, instead, the charcoal is in two piles – one on either side of the grill basin. My brother used bricks to keep the charcoal piles contained to the side of the grill – he’s smart like that.
  • Get the charcoal going, then cover the charcoal with the wood chips and replace the grate
  • Cover the grill…and, yes, it’s going to smoke…a lot…that’s the point

8. Prepare your ribs for the smoking process…In my brother’s case this meant:

smoked bbq baby back ribs tools

Murderously Fabulous Grill Gloves and Rib Rack

  • Don some murderous looking grill gloves….these are like totally jacked up kitchen gloves – specifically designed to withstand great heat
  • Spray a rib rack (again, not a city accoutrement, but apparently quite the rage off the island) with non stick cooking spray
  • Place each rib in its own rack slot
  • Using a large skewer (preferably a wooden one that you’ve soaked for at least :30mins) pierce through the ends of each rack to elevate them
barbecue barbeque rib rack

Racked and Elevated Baby Back Ribs Smoker Ready (not murderous gloves)

9. Place the racked ribs on the grill and cover. Cook for 2 – 2.5 hours

baby back ribs in weber grill smoking

Smoker in the Snow…Ribs Racked and inside

10. Remove the ribs from the rib rack and place in a large, high sided pan. Preferably a tin foil one you can pitch afterwards…

11. Generously cover the ribs with Barbeque/Barbecue sauce – we used City Barbeque Original Sauce…pretty good

City Barbeque original sauce baby back ribs

BBQ Saucification of the Ribs. A family affair.

12. Preheat oven to 250 degrees

13. Cover the ribs with tin foil and put in the oven for 2 hours

14. After the low baking process…remove the ribs from the oven and from the pan…BUT, don’t eat yet! Nope, put the ribs on a cutting board and cover with tin foil for up to an hour to give the meat a chance to rest and re-juicify

15. Slice and serve

baby back smoked bbq pork ribs sliced

At Last….Slicified and Ready to Serve

The ribs were fall off the bone amazingly smoky, sweet and fabulous. Took all day…but, more than well worth it.

If you’re lucky enough to guest at the home of a Killer Griller…try this.

My brother and I have always been pretty competitive with one another – it’s a gene, I think. And, let’s just be honest, I’m the much better cook. That said…my brother is a Killer Griller.

It’s like Hunger Games for Lobster

Grilled Lobster

I recently found out that just before you’re served a raw oyster, that oyster is killed – mercilously ‘shucked’ and then arranged artfully on an icy plate of its recently murdered peers and served alongside an abundance of dipping sauces and lemons. I don’t know why, but I’d never thought about this when debating between the Malpec and the Fanny Bays…Go figure.

Could my insensitivity to the murder of oysters be a a direct result of my participation in the Lobster Hunger Games?

One of my earliest memories from childhood is racing lobster. No, we didn’t live in Maine and this wasn’t part of a state fair event. We didn’t raise racing lobster or live on a lobster breeding farm. These lobsters were purchased at the local fish monger, alive, and then carted home in a plastic bag. Lobster night was a big deal – An event that maybe happened once a summer and we all looked forward to it.

Back then, we had a large circular cement patio in our back yard. When the lobsters arrived from the monger, someone, I’m guessing my mother, would chalk a number on each one’s little crustaceous back. 1 through 6, one for each family member. Then, one of us would draw a large chalk circle on the cement patio. We’d each select one lobster from the pod. We would then name our prize lobster. Then: the naming ceremony, where we would proudly present out lobster to the group – usually Larry, Lenny, Lola or some other “L” name – our attachment to the crustacean deepened.

Katniss Hunger Games

Katniss Crouch

Next, crouched like Katniss I would place my lobster, Lilly-Lobster, in the center. My brothers, sister and parents would all do the same.

One! Two! Three! Release your lobster!

And – RACE ON: we’d all begin shouting our lobster’s name – urging our prize lobster to get to the chalk line first. I’d shout: Go Lilly! Go! As loud as I could while my siblings and parents urged on their own lobsters.

Go Larry!

Run Lenny!

Get Get Get Lola!

Come on Louie!

You can do it Lisa!

We would continue shouting until one lucky lobster crossed the chalk line of the circle. Someone would claim victory and invariably chant a victorious chant or dance a victorious dance. Ultimate joy and bragging rights awarded to the winner!

But, this wasn’t the Hunger Games…It was a llittle darker. The rules in Lobster Hunger Games are different. And that joy was soon gone.

There’s no escaping death for the winner. All would go in, none would come out. The odds weren’t in any lobster’s favor.

Jubiliance was soon replaced by the inevitable end of any lobster tale. The water was already aboil by the time the Lobster Hunger Games were completed and a lobster had been named champion. You could see the steam from the water on the kitchen windows that faced the arena. And you just knew it was time. Nothing left to build on there.

The champion and the losers were carried by their ‘owners’ one by one toward the giant pot of boiling water. One by one we surrendered our prize racer to my father. One by one he lowered the Larry, Lisa, Lenny, Louie, Lola and lastly…Lilly into the boiling water.

We heard them cry.

And, then, silence.

The next swim Lilly would take would be into drawn butter at the dinner table.

It wasn’t until years later that I found out  that Lilly the Lobster had no nervous system, could feel no pain and that the sound of her cries as she was put into a boiling cauldron were actually just the sound of air hissing out of the space between her shell and meat.

Last night my friends and I turned the torture up a notch and went with the double kill for our feast.

Grilled Lobster (Serves 4)

Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and heat the outdoor grill to medium/high (two killing chambers prepped and ready)

1. In the bowl of a Cuisnart or any food processor, combine 2 sticks of butter at room temperature, 16-24 large leaves of basil chopped, 2 cloves of garlic and pulse until smooth

2. Slowly add the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 cup of Olive Oil and pulse again until smooth. It will not be watery, but creamy. Set Aside.

Basil Butter with Garlic, Lemon and Olive Oil

Basil Butter with Garlic, Lemon and Olive Oil

3. Into the boiling water, add a palmful of Salt and four 1 – 1 1/2 lb lobsters ALIVE! Yes, this is the part where they die…One minute they’re racing to the edge of a chalk circle, the next they’re hissing in a cauldron of boiling water…

4. After 2 minutes remove the lobster and place on ice to stop the cooking process

ParBoiled Lobster in Ice Bath

Little Lilly in an Ice Bath

5. Savagely slice the lobsters down the back of the shell from tip to tail and remove any intestine-y stuff and any roe. Remove each claw and the spinnerettes.

Split Lobsters pre grill

Savagely Split Lobsters

6. Take 1/2 of the basil/butter mixture and melt in the microwave or over the stove in a sauce pan.

7. Spray the grill with non stick grill spray

Brush each open half of lobster with the basil butter and place the 1/2 lobster SHELL SIDE DOWN on the heated grill. Place the claws and spinnerettes on the grill as well

Lobster on the BBQ Grill

Disected Lobster on the Grill

8. Grill with the grill lid down for 5 minutes then flip each lobster and each claw and grill for another 5 minutes

9. Remove from the grill and serve with more melted basil butter

I’m not sure what it says about us that we named our lobsters and raced them in the back yard before sending them to their fiery death. I’m always amazed at what people are capable of. But, like Katniss – trained to kill in order to survive – the lure of lucious lobster boiled, grilled and then bathed in a lemony, garlicky basil butter could drive anyone to kill -kill lobster that is.

If it’s any consolation, we named our Thankgiving turkeys too…

Dramatic Improvisations in Soft Drinks and Grilling

So, I’m flying recently on a small commuter jet out of Newark. It’s a beautiful day and I’m not anticipating any issues. I’m a pretty good flier and while I do clutch the arm rests during turbulence, I really never panic. We frequent fliers tend to take for granted the safety instructions – I do note that the no-smoking sign is on but I never follow along on the safety pamphlet located in the seat pocket in front of me. The sing-song rhythm of the safety instructions and other inflight announcements give me a sense of security when flying. So, when the flight attendant veered off script, I perked up and paid attention….

Here’s what she said:

“Ladies and Gentlemen…” [dramatic pause with sigh] “I have some really bad news….”

We’re in the air at this point so I’m now starting to breathe heavily as my pulse rate shoots up. When you’re flying, ‘bad news‘ might be along the lines of “we’ve lost cabin pressure and in just a few seconds your heads will literally explode” or if it’s the 1970’s “we’ve been hi-jacked and are headed to Cuba”….

The flight attendant after her dramatic pause announced: “We have no juice on board…”

Another pause as I wonder if ‘no juice’ means we’re out of fuel and will be plunging 25,000 feet to the ground. Farewell life!

She finished with: “We do have Coca-Cola products; Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Coffee brewed on board. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Really? Really? No juice! – tragedy. Now, that was a dramatic presentation!

I, myself, may have been accused from time to time of being a little dramatic. And, today I’m feeling dramatically and tragically sad about the rapidly approaching end of summer. With this inevitable end comes the return back to the City. No more weekends on Nantucket. No more trips to Ohio. A fading tan and thus fading beauty. No more summer Fridays. No more road trips. No more trips upstate and antiquing.  No more beachiness. I don’t hike, but think I may miss hiking as September nears. I am spiraling in despair…And, then I realize most sadly with a gasp a sigh and a tear, no more use of friends’ and family’s outdoor grills.

So, just as we passengers on that Delta Connection Flight to Cincinnati had to make do and drink Coca-Cola products or coffee in lieu of juice, I will bravely improvise and return to my indoor grilling solutions.

First things first, you need a grill pan. I have this one. It’s my only piece of Calphalon and while I’m not really into Calphalon products, I must admit, this pan works perfectly and is large enough to grill 3-4 pieces of meat/fish/chicken but small enough to stack on a 12 inch frying pan in my limited kitchen cabinet space.

Here’s an easy affordable indoor grilling recipe:

Grilled Cod Filets

Basic marinade so as not to overpower the fish…

In a small bowl, combine the juice of one lemon with a tbsp of dijon mustard using a whisk. When totally combined slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of olive oil and continue whisking until all bubbles are gone and mixture is wholly emulsified.

Add a tsp of crushed thyme to the mixture. Fresh Thyme is good too – just know that the ratio of usage is 2 to 1 fresh herbs to dried. Add salt and pepper and pour the mixture over 2-3 filets of cod. If you’re so inclined, you can chiffonade some basil leaves and put on the fish. Cod (not black cod) is a very affordable fish.

Cover and put in the fridge for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium/high heat and even though the pan is non-stick, spray sparingly with cooking spray.

Add fish and grill 4-6 minutes per side depending on thickness.

A few hints for perfect preparation without neighbor aggravation:

1. Open your windows to create a cross draft. If you only have windows on one side (like in my apartment) open your door. The fish will smoke up and this will keep you from setting off the smoke detector in your apartment/house.

2. Use cod or tilapia or sea bass or any white flaky fish when indoor grilling. These are not stinky fishes. DO NOT grill salmon indoors as the scent will stay in your home for days afterwards.

3. If you’re in an apartment, you might want to close the doors to any adjoining rooms while indoor grilling – while cod is not a fishy-fish, the ‘grill scent’ will permeate towels or bedding.

For one Delta Flight Attendant, no juice in the service cart evoked the inner thespian. For me the inevitable end of summer has be spiraling to despair. It’s all about how you recover and react to these tragedies. I will buck up and bravely face life without an outdoor grill.  You can be dramatic about it but sometimes you just have to improvise.

A Moveable Feast…And, A Feast that Moved

Ernest Hemingway’s ability to say so much in so few words strikes a spot in my soul. His style isn’t for everyone, but I’ve always loved his words. His last book was A Moveable Feast. Published in 1964, three years after Hemingway’s suicide, the book is a compilation of autobiographical stories that his widow and fourth wife, Mary Hemingway, culled from the author’s personal notes. The book chronicals Hemingway’s time spent in Paris beginning in the ’20’s with  the likes of Gertrude Stein, F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, James Joyce and others. About the city of lights, he told his friend and later his biographer, AE Hotchner: ‘If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I think everyone knows of such a place – a place that stays with them forever. This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be hosted by my friend, Sam, whose moveable feast is Nantucket. The tiny island off the elbow of Cape Cod isn’t everyone’s moveable feast…but, while up there, we did have a feast that moved. Sam’s sister who also has a home on the island arrived early Saturday morning after a 27 hour trek from Utah. With three friends coming to stay, she planned to host a barbecue at her home that night and invited us for dinner. Once settled in, Sam’s sister discovered her grill didn’t work…And at 4pm Saturday it was determined to move the dinner to Sam’s where we were happy to chef and host.

With only two hours and limited supplies, we created a truly impressive feast.

Flank Steak, marinated for two hours in a simple mix of garlic, soy sauce and olive oil. Grilled about 7 minutes per side on med/high heat and served sliced.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – seven medium sized. Whisk together a combination of 1 tbsp whole grain and 1 tbsp dijon mustard with the juice of 1 1/5 lemons and the juice of 1 lime. Once completely combined, slowly whisk in 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  Whisk until the mixture is emulsified and all bubbles disappear. Stir in about a tablespoon of dried thyme – crushed in your hands to release the flavor. Add my new favorite ingredient: Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Pour over the chicken. Chiffonade a few basil leaves and add to the tops of the chicken. Marinade covered in the fridge for two hours.

Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes per side over med/high heat.

Corn on the cob -We soaked seven corns in their husks in water for about :30 minutes and then grilled over medium heat for :15 minutes. Let cool. Shuck and serve.

Roasted potatoes. To speed things up, I cubed a medium bag of yellow potatoes. In a bowl, I combined 1/4 to 1/3 cup Olive Oil, 1 large Diced Shallot, about a tsp of dried rosemary (crushed in my palms) and…1 tbsp of Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. This mixture was then tossed with the cubed potatoes and put on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Into the oven at 450 for :45 minutes. Warning! Yellow potatoes have a higher moisture content than regular russet potatoes and will emit a good deal of steam in the oven. The steam will burst out and curl your eyelashes when you open the door – I know because it happened to me. Take caution.

Easy salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and a olive oil/balsamic/dijon vinaigrette.

It was a last minute move and a quickly prepared meal. The nature reserve that backs Sam’s property provided the perfect back drop on a cool and breezy but rainless Nantucket night. It’s nights like these that help us understand why, for many, Nantucket is a moveable feast. The guests had a great time and we came away looking like kitchen rock stars…Isn’t it pretty to think so?