Monday, April 29, 2013

BBQ Brisket

So my boss sends me an email the other day and asks me, "Where is your recipe for brisket? I want to barbecue one this weekend," and I realized I have never posted it! This forced me to collect my notes and document this delicious recipe for all of my Texas-loving barbecue friends!
Note: fans of this blog may notice that the rub and sauce recipes are recycled from other posts!


  • One beef brisket, fat cap trimmed to 1/4 inch thick.


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (freshly toasted and ground from whole seeds would be best)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular paprika would also be OK)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne or chipotle chile powder (1/2 tsp if you don't like heat - wimp!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  • one 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (or brown sugar, but I like the molasses better)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves


Thoroughly mix all rub ingredients (I like to pulse them together in a food processor). Work the rub into all surfaces of the brisket. Tightly wrap with plastic wrap, put on a tray or sheet pan, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours, flipping 2-3 times during the marinade (if you can).

Mix all sauce ingredients together in a saucepan. Head over medium heat until bubbles start to form, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust sweetness with 2-4 tablespoons of molasses/sugar if you like it less tangy. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Heat the smoker to 225 degrees. Place the marinaded brisket in smoker, fat side up, and apply smoke for 2-3 hours. Baste with sauce and let smoke for another hour. Flip the brisket over, baste with sauce again, and smoke for another 3-4 hours. At this point, it generally has enough smoke flavor for me, so I remove from the smoker, baste with more sauce, and cook in a low oven or crock pot for another 4-6 hours to tenderize it. If you like your brisket super smokey, or have a very thick brisket, you may want to smoke it longer instead of bringing it indoors. Once the brisket is fork tender, let cool for 10-20 minutes and slice across the grain. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chuck Roast with Gravy

So pot roasts on this blog are nothing new. However, I think I have made some improvements to the process and I'd like to document them here. As always with pot roasts, low and slow is the way to go, but if pressed for time, you can increase the heat a little; raising the temp to 275 degrees should shave an hour off the cook time (while sacrificing some of the tenderness).

  • 3-5 pound chuck roast, trimmed of large hard clumps of fat
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
Heat the oven to 210 degrees. Season the chuck roast with salt, pepper, and cumiin. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven. Brown roast on all sides. Remove roast from pan and set on a plate. Reduce heat to medium and cook the onion, carrot, and celery until they start to brown around the edges. Mix in garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Mix in tomato paste and cook for another 30-60 seconds, until the tomato paste thickens and darkens slightly. Add the broth, stirring vigorously and scraping loose any brown bits off the bottom of the dutch oven. Stir in Worcestershire and vinegar. Add the bay leaf, roast, and any collected juices from the plate. Cover and cook in the oven for 4-5 hours or until desired tenderness is achieved.

When tender, remove the roast and set on a cutting board. Drain and reserve the juices out of the dutch oven, straining off the vegetables. Let the juices sit until any fat separates out of them. Skim off the fat using a spoon (or just drain directly into a fat separator). Add the fat back to the dutch oven. Heat over medium heat until shimmering and whisk in the flour. Once the flour has toasted to a blonde color, wisk the remaining juices back in. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. After it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer. If too thick, add up to 1/2 cup of beef broth to thin it out (remembering that the gravy with thicken slightly as it cools when served). Reduce heat to its lowest setting. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, pepper, Worcestershire, or balsamic vinegar as desired. Slice the roast (or chop, if you prefer) on the bias and add to the simmering gravy for 1-2 minutes to let the gravy infuse into the meat. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice (I like short-grained brown rice a lot for this).