Brisket Day Oct 2014

I MADE THE ABOVE

Lately I’ve been on a BBQ brisket tear – can’t get enough of it. I can’t recall the last time I ordered pork shoulder at a BBQ temple. Ribs and brisket – those are the two pillars of my smoked meat dreams. I’ve been reading a lot about brisket, as I leave for Austin tomorrow for a 48 hour BBQ eating trip with my brother and another pal. We have about a dozen places lined up, no, not Franklin’s because I can’t waste our entire Saturday standing in line.

Anyone who is going to judge some brisket should know how damn risky and fickle it can be and should try to make one. A whole one is often called a packer, consisting of two different muscles – the point and the flat. The flat is on the bottom and has way less flat, the point sits on top of part of the flat, and the grain of the muscle goes in opposite directions.

After research, research, and more research, I had my brisket plan, which was just a bit more involved than the birth plan we had for our son. I mean, that was really all in the doctors’ hands. This sixteen pound, $112 baby was my responsibility, and mine alone.

First I trimmed the excess fat on top. Then I made my rub, which was heavy on the salt and pepper, with a medium amount of brown sugar, and a small amount of cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic salt, and onion powder. Tons of coarse, fresh ground pepper.

The brisket was thoroughly covered, then chilled in the fridge for a few hours. I’m told this helps with the bark and the smoke ring. At 11:30PM, I injected it with a fair amount of low sodium beef broth. Purists may scoff, but if you are going to cook for 12+ hours, especially on a BGE which is not true indirect, I think the extra moisture is needed. After shooting up, it went onto the Big Green Egg with lump charcoal and mesquite at 220F, and I stayed up an hour to make sure the temp was locked in there.

I dreamt of failure. Seriously, I woke up in a panic, dreaming of a crisp and dry brisket, looked at my remote temperature gauge, and saw that I was exactly at 180F internal and 223F on the BGE. Exactly where I wanted to be!

At this point the brisket is in the stall, where the evaporation of moisture from the meat causes the temperature to stop increasing for up to a number of hours. So I wrapped it in heavy aluminum foil, the so called “Texas Crutch” to help it power through to the finished temp of 202F, then I pulled it, left it in the foil, wrapped it in towels, and put it in a cooler for five hours.

One to two hours at least is recommended to let the brisket rest and let the collagen subtly and completely turn to gelatin, aka creamy delicious fat. But I left it in there long as I was not having guests over until 5:30PM. In the untouched cooler, it remained over 140F (food safe temp) the entire time.

Here is what it looked like after the cooler. The bark does suffer from the steamy cooler, so I popped it in the broiler for no more than four minutes, which worked like a champ and did not dry out the beef, which I could tell was quite moist and tender from the way it recoiled when touching it. Jiggly beef.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

Here I am cutting off the so-called burnt ends on each side, which tend to be the crispy and dry pieces which are perfect for cutting into bite-sized pieces and tossing with BBQ sauce, of which only a small amount was used amongst fourteen people. That’s because the brisket was gooooood. Not best ever or anything, but really damn solid, and I could not have been any more pleased with a first attempt. My one year old son ate three huge slices, screaming for more between bites. Animal!

It wasn’t dry, it was tender but not falling apart to mush, the spice was present and nice but not overpowering, there wasn’t too much smoke, the fat melted…etc. It’s a thing of beauty, and I don’t mind chalking some of it up to beginner’s luck. I can’t wait to do another one. Help chip in and I’m there.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

Side view of the point. Not nearly the fat of the point, but still quite tasty.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

Separating the point from the flat. You don’t have to do this, but it makes it easier to cut and serve because of the grain of the meat going in opposite directions.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

Close up of the point being sliced.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

Rancho Gordo pinto beans are FANTASTIC. I can’t go back to eating that canned crap anymore. German potato salad and creamy stove top mac. I was proud of all my sides.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

A very fun and casual Sunday evening with friends on a beautiful Atlanta fall night. I need to get a few more of these in before winter hits.

If you have any great brisket tips or angles you like, send them by may. Some of the resources I used are below.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/brisketselect.html

http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/bbq-anatomy-101-know-your-brisket

http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/texas_brisket.html

The meat, cut and ready for service.

Brisket Day Oct 2014

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Lusca Lunch

October 4, 2014 · 0 comments

in atlanta, dining out

Lusca Lunch

Lusca has been open for lunch for a month or so now in South Buckhead, and was my recent pick for a guy-guy date lunch.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, though it’s too expensive for regular lunch visits. With a glass of wine, splitting three dishes and a vegetable side, it was about $45 for my share of it. That’s definitely a “day after my credit card resets” splurge.

Everything we sampled from the lunch menu I would order again. Crab toast is a mainstay for a reason.

Lusca Lunch

Farm egg with katsuobushi and uni is luscious and aromatic from the smoked bonito shavings.

Lusca Lunch

Sommelier Tim Willard (formerly of FIG in Charleston) recognized Dude from a party and brought us a taste of a super dry and easily drinkable Lambrusco that has recently arrived in our market. In case you are not hip to it yet, real Lambrusco is making a come-back as a more than viable summer fizzy drank.

Lusca Lunch

Yeah, enough with the burgers, right? Wrong. This is America. And Lusca’s version is a stellar representation in the A. It’s a larger than average charred patty with very tasty house-aged beef cooked perfectly mid-rare, not served on a Holeman & Finch bun. They make it in-house. It’s quite similar to the Meatstick bun, actually. Fries are perfect thin style fries – some of the best I’ve had in a while.

I’d love to sample more food and wine there – they have one of the most interesting booze lists in town. Meet you there? You can buy.

Lusca Lunch

Veg side.

Lusca Lunch

Side boob.

Lusca Lunch

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Shake Shack

September 30, 2014 · 1 comment

in atlanta, dining out

Shake Shack Atlanta

Having never been to a Shake Shack, yes, I was that guy that visited a restaurant within a few hours of opening. It’s a poor move for those expecting to find a restaurant in their groove, but this is fast food we’re talking about. Besides, I’ve been reading about Shake Shack for as long as blogs have existed, I have a hard-on for burgers, and I wanted to see what the noise is all about.

Once you navigate parking (which may be a challenge) you should expect a line, but it moves briskly, the orders taken by an army of smiling cashiers who were managing quite well for go-live day.

I sampled a number of items to get the full experience – the regular single burger, a take on a Chicago dog, chocolate s’mores concrete, fries, and a soda – $19 all in.

Shake Shack Atlanta

I enjoyed the burger. It’s piled high with toppings, a little over the top with the special sauce, but it satisfies that fatty/salty fast food itch, with just enough quality that I don’t self loathe. The quality of the large beef patty is noticeable, which puts it a slight cut above an In-N-Out burger to me.

Krinkle cut fries are hot and krinkly. No complaints.

The sleeper for me is the ‘dragged through the garden’ Chicago dog. This type of dog is a craving that is hard to satisfy in Atlanta and they do an excellent job. The toppings are snappy and plentiful.

The milkshake/concretes are good if you like that sort of thing – it was for my wife. I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy them. Me, I wanted a Brooklyn Beer Shakemeister Ale but they don’t have their license yet.

This place will be polarizing, with the lines and herd mentality that certain foodies avoid. But at this price point, and for this craving, I don’t think there’s a better option in the area. There are likely thousands of people in line around the world right now who agree.

Shake Shack Atlanta

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Octopus Bar Shoyu Ramen (aka Do You Really Want to Know About Some Gangsta Shit?)

September 29, 2014

This post doesn’t have any food photos I took, but it’s about shoyu ramen and let’s just say it looks something like this. I ate it at Octopus Bar after the Outkast concert Saturday night which looked like this (I did take this photo.) The show was everything I wanted it to be, and they played […]

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China Village Restaurant

September 26, 2014

Let me start – I was sad. I tried to visit Gu’s Bistro for lunch last week and they are on vacation for a few weeks. I really wanted fish and tofu in hot oil or something else fiery and comforting. I thought about going to Chong Qing but noticed there was another place even […]

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New Lan Zhou |Chinatown Food Court

September 22, 2014

Quick bite – the spicy hand-pulled noodle soup with beef at New Lan Zhou in the Chinatown food court. I think it was $6.99, cash only. Really fantastic. What a great in-town Chinese food court, I don’t make it there enough. Noodles, Sichuan, Hong Kong style BBQ, and dim sum all represented.

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The Same But Different [Burgers & Chicken]

September 16, 2014

Each month I Evernote-file dozens of recipes and ideas to try, I purchase a handful of cookbooks a year, yet half my cooking is incited by my love of comforting fatty foods, grilled things, and fried stuff, especially chicken parts. If I see a fried chicken recipe with a minor twist, I must add it to my repertoire. […]

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Craft Izakaya

September 14, 2014

Craft Izakaya has opened in the new-new Krog St Market. It’s been rocking for a few weeks now, with some people making a dozen visits to my lowly one. I’ve been out of town and/or sick for nearly the last three weeks, so I’m eager to hit up some restaurants, and lately there are plenty of new options to […]

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