Monday, September 8, 2008

I Didn't Kill Anyone!

Yesterday was my second attempt at making a beef brisket on my smoker. When I say attempt, please understand that the first time was about two years ago when I spent about 10 hours turning a perfectly good piece of meat into what could have easily been used as shingle material for a house. The poor unsuspecting chunk of meat started off at about two inches thick and weighed probably nine or ten pounds. By the time I finished mutilating it had cooked down to probably one inch thick with around a half inch of crust on the bottom and a half inch of crust on the top and could probably have been measured in ounces. In case you're not terribly mathematical by nature, that doesn't leave a whole lot left in the middle to munch on. There was actually, a sliver about the thickness of a very thin sheet of paper in the middle that, given enough imagination, kind of, sort of, almost resembled meat.

I of course had invited my mom and dad over for dinner to wow them with yet another culinary treat prepared by their loving son, the ex chef. God bless my mother. As she nearly chipped a tooth taking a bite, she slowly, ever so slowly, tried her best to masticate this pathetic sole of a shoe also known as dinner. That's when she looked at me and said, "It's not too bad."

Yes, this is when I knew that the visions I'd held so close to my heart of my dear, sweet, honest mother had just gone out the window. Why?, because she was lying through her blackened, char stained teeth! This was the true definition of a mothers love for her child though, when all common sense told her to run like hell to the nearest McDonald's for a "decent" meal, she stayed at the table and did her best to choke down the burnt offering placed in front of her in an effort to spare her mortified son. I love ya mom...ya big liar! I don't recall what my dad said about the hockey puck in front of him, but I do remember he drank a lot of water that evening.

**side note: Remind me to tell you about my first Thanksgiving dinner some time**

Fast forward two years later. Enough time has passed that the lining in my stomach has healed itself and I'm thinking it's time to try another beef brisket. Fortunately this time I have a better plan in mind. First, I'm only going to subject my wife and kids to my next masterpiece. No point in inviting mom over for dinner. I'm pretty sure she would have been busy. (God knows I would have been) My other bright idea is sending an email to my Michigan based blogging buddy Buffalodickdy. I knew he would have some good pointers for me. He always seems to have some tasty looking goodies on his blog and has told me/us of many of his food competitions he's been in and won or done well in. I wrote to him and pleaded my case and hoped he would give me any advise he had. Now remember, guys that cook in food competitions don't always like to give out their secretes, and I was perfectly willing to hear, "Sorry, but my recipes are sacred."

As I suspected, that's not Dick's style. He fired back an email with a great dry rub spice combination and a subsequent marinade along with detailed cooking instructions for me. I'm happy to announce that his instructions payed off big time! It turned out great and everybody in the family seemed to enjoy it. (for real this time mom!) My hat is off to you for sharing your insight, thanks.

BTW, his site which is called Opinions and Rectumns, we all got one! is about more than just about food alone, so if you haven't stopped by before, do yourself a favor and take a look. You'll find fun stories, engaging discussions and of course good eats.


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

What a story and I love your mother. You made me laugh out loud with her lying through her blackened, char stained teeth. Bwahahahahaha. I had a visual and it weren't pretty.

I'm glad you have a great rub and now if you'll just manage not to overcook you should be fine.

I'm not so sure I want to know about Thanksgiving. Well, it is right around the corner though.

Thanks for the laughs and the many smiles. Don't tell anyone, but I've done pretty much the same thing. Have a great day. :)

Lanny said...

Ahh, it is all in the prep and the temp, well and the time too. Dirt makes great things even if his "smoker" is funky looking. Keep up the good work, forget the shingle, its in the past.

The Plaid Skirt is supposed to go on your lovely wife. duh! (the sweater too, your supposed to be wearing flannel. Pendleton wool if you're dressing up. (But maybe your not old enough yet.))

But really, I came over to ask about your writing challenge thingy... Do we, challengettes, use your pics to actually illustrate? I've never participated in such things. I'm excited. I spell like a frog on acid, my sentence structure has no comparison but my mom was a English teacher so certainly I gotta give it a try.

Hammer said...

I just started doing brisket myself.

I found the trick was to keep it sealed in the foil to keep the juices in.

My first pork shoulder turned out like your brisket I couldn't even get the dogs to eat it.

CrazyCath said...

I love your mom. That is what all moms do. Believe me.

Glad the next one went off well. So, when's the next big dinner party adn where's our invites?

Mel said...

So you just invite the mom for shingles, eh?

Whadda guy......LOL

Jeff B said...

Sandee- It was quite an evening! The Thanksgiving dinner story is a doozy. I'll tri to remember to break it out in November.

Lanny- I get it. (snicker, snicker) The pictures are a visual inspiration for your story. For example: The one labeled Purpose is a pic of sheet music. You might write your story around a particular song that would be on that sheet. You might think up a song title that is the inspiration for your story. I could be a song that the main character(s) mother sang to him/her as a child.

The main thing here is to let your imagination guide you. I'm not going to get hung up on particular rules and certainly not spelling (thank God for spell check).

Hope this helped.

Hammer- This brisket was about 5lbs so I cooked it 4hrs uncovered and 4hrs wrapped in foil.

Crazycath- How fun would that be to have all of us bloggers at a dinner party. Ah, the stories that'd be told around the table.

Mel- Ya, I'm a giver that way!

Jay said...

Poor moms. They have to eat our charred briskets and support other questionable ideas. LOL

Okay, actually my mother wouldn't have eaten it. She's picky.

I think we want to hear the T-giving story.

Ron said... KILLED me with your opening paragraph!!!


I could actually see everything you said!!!

Hey, from the ending photo, it looks and SMELLS like this time it turned out PERFECTO!


The next time make this, could please email me a piece - thank you!

Dear god...I did NOT get the "cooking gene."

Great post, buddy!

San said...

YUM. This time your brisket makes my mouth water.

That other time you made my eyes water. A hilarious account. Like Sandee, I loved your mom lying through her blackened, char stained teeth. What are mothers for, anyway?

Akelamalu said...

Us Mums never criticize anything our children do - even it it does break our teeth! ;)

Buff's recipes always make my mouth water. :)

Jeff B said...

Jay- Moms are a brave bunch. I'll do the Thanksgiving story in Nov. Remind me if I forget.

Ron- If I send it via snail mail we could call it escargot!

San- Hers is a love that has no limits.

Akelamalu- Yeah for Buff. He saved the day.

Starrlight said...

Mom tried to plank smoke salmon a while back. They only gave her one plank. So she used tin foil to make another "plank."

The fire was quite a sight!

Bond said...

I love smoking meats but since I moved, I have no place to do it and left my little smoker behind...It looked like hell but with tender care turned out many a brisket, slabs of ribs and a number of full chickens over the years...

slow and steady is the trick...

I have a few great rubs and marinades if you want to try different kinds...

what type of wood did you use?

Jeff B said...

Starrlight- Sounds like a Chinese dish...Foil Fired Salmon. Thanks for the laugh.

Bond- As per instruction, I kept the temp around 225 this time and that made all the difference. For the wood, I used a combination of oak and hickory.

Any rubs or marinades your willing to share would be greatly appreciated. I've got some good ones for baby back ribs and pulled pork, but outside of that it's a bit lean.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Hahahaha...what a loving story about your Mom! And yay for Buff for giving you the right stuff this time! He always has the good stuff on his blog.

I'd love to have dinner with either of you!

Vodka Mom said...

hey- did I miss dinner? I tried to make it on time, but must have had one too many martinis.

Can't wait to hear about Thanksgiving!!

buffalodickdy said...

Thanks for the props... I have no hidden agenda when giving my humble thoughts, I simply want the world to be a better place through sharing what you know with me, and I with friends, I mean this with all my heart! But if any of you beat me in competition, I will remind you of it until you die!!! :)

buffalodickdy said...

Oops! Forgot to tell you that brisket was from all appearances, the bomb!

Jeff B said...

Real Live Lesbian- It'd be fun to cook up a storm with him and have you along for the company.

Vodka mom- be careful, those olives will spoil your appetite.

Buffalo- Nice disclaimer!

I have the same philosophy as you when it comes to sharing recipes. Too many people have lost the art of cooking and anything to help keep it going is good by me.

I ended up with a fully trimmed brisket from Costco. It only weighed in about 5lbs, so I went with 4hrs uncovered and 4hrs covered. That seemed to work out nicely, but I would have preferred to have a bit more of a fat cap for added juice. Still, it was sufficiently moist. I once again feel like I can confidently invite people over to try it the next time without fear of making enemies out of them.

Dana said...

That Buff really is a great guy, isn't he? And that brisket? Mmmmmm

Desert Songbird said...

Ha! I just did my first barbecue beef brisket the other day, and I'm happy to report that it was enjoyed by all (including me!). I think the meat thermometer helped.

Good job, Jeff, NOT choking anyone.

Jeff B said...

Dana- He definitely is. Another shining example of why this blogging community is so cool!

Songbird- Way cool on your success. A woman that BBQ's? That makes my heart all a flutter!

Kimmie said...

Bless Your Mother's Heart! LOL! I loved your story Jeff. I am happy that your second try was a hit. I would definately love to hear the Thanksgiving story! :-)

Marilyn said...

Yummy: Way to go. Glad it worked out this time.