Best Smoked Brisket for a Long Weekend

Labor Day is upon us already – it seems like the summer has just flown by.  Smoking some meat on the grill is a great way to grab onto the last of the long, hot days before Fall descends with its cooler, shorter days.

The Grill-Meister and I worked on our brisket recipe in advance of the long weekend and we’re happy with it.

In fact, the finished product was so good that I forgot to stage a beautiful picture in my rush to eat it!

The Grill-Meister's pit is the kind that has the wood-smoke box on one side and the main grilling space next to it.
The Grill-Meister’s pit is the kind that has the wood-smoke box on one side and the main grilling space next to it.

The Grill-Meister has a rusty old charcoal smoker pit.  But it did the trick.

Glover Gardens Brisket

5-6 pound trimmed brisket

Spice Rub

1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup course salt
2 tbsp ground chiles (ancho, guajillo or chipotle; cayenne only if you don’t have any of the others)
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp ground mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar

Brisket Mop
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup minced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp of the spice rub
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp pickled jalapeño juice (hot)
1/2 cup cider or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cans or bottles of beer (18 oz total; drink the rest)

Get started the night before you plan to barbecue. Make the spice rub by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Put the brisket on a large sheet of foil and then liberally cover it with the spice rub. Rub it in. Treat it like you love it. There will be some spice rub left. Wrap the brisket very tightly in foil and refrigerate it overnight.

Plan to start the barbequing process at about midday, allowing about 1 – 1 1/4 hours per pound of meat. If the brisket goes on at noon, you’ll be eating at about 7:00-ish.

The overnight spice rub treatment permeates the taste through the entire brisket
The overnight spice rub treatment permeates the taste through the entire brisket

Get the brisket out an hour before you need to put it on the grill so it can come to room temperature. Get the grill ready with the charcoal on one side of the large portion of the pit and wood chips in the wood smoke box. It should be at about 200 – 225 degrees.

The mop is the BOMB
The mop is the BOMB; drink the leftover beer

Make the Brisket Mop: first, sauté the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Add the tbsp of the spice rub and the ground mustard and stir, then cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, jalapeño juice, vinegar and beer and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for several minutes.

Put the brisket on the cool part of the grill, fat side up, and baste liberally with the mop. Baste every hour or so. Cook for the desired amount of time, until the brisket is at about 180 degrees (you just don’t cook brisket rare).  Keep adding the wood chips to the smoker box for a nicely smoked flavor.

After you remove the brisket from the barbecue, let it sit for 20 minutes or more, then slice and get after it.

Let the cooked brisket set so the juices can settle
Let the cooked brisket set so the juices can settle
We dug into the brisket so fast that I couldn't get a pretty photo
We dug into the brisket so fast that I couldn’t get a pretty photo

We served our brisket as sandwiches on onion rolls the first night, then we had brisket nachos the second night and finally, we had brisket tostadas.  It was all good.

Brisket on onion rolls with the traditional jalapeños, onions, pickles and barbecue sauce; the ultimate Labor Day dinner
Brisket on onion rolls with the traditional jalapeños, onions, pickles and barbecue sauce; the ultimate Labor Day dinner

Found Recipe: (Marvelous) Planked Salmon with (Marvelous) Spice Rub

If you’ve read my About page, you know that I really like to play with recipes. Add this, increase that, amp up the spices a bit…you know the drill.  Well, once in a while, I find a recipe that simply can’t be improved.  I try, but…the recipe is already perfect.

Cedar Planks
Click here to order the cedar planks from Amazon.

This is one of those recipes.

The Planked Salmon with Spice Rub recipe is on the back of the Fire & Flavor cedar planks label. You can find the planks at home improvement stores and grocery stores in the outdoor cooking and grilling sections, but the Fire & Flavor web site doesn’t include this recipe.

It is my civic duty to post it for you.

This recipe serves four as an appetizer course or two as a main course.

The spice rub assembles quickly and is just the right balance of sweet and spicy
The spice rub assembles quickly and is just the right balance of sweet and spicy

Rub
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp ancho chilé powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

Salmon
4 6 oz. salmon filets (skin on)
1 Fire & Flavor cedar grilling plank, soaked
honey for drizzling

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. In a small mixing bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients. Rub salmon with all of the spice rub and set aside.

I add a few sliced red onions and poblano peppers if there is room left on the cedar plank.
I add a few sliced red onions and poblano peppers if there is room left on the cedar plank.

Place soaked plank on preheated grill, close the lid, and heat for 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the plank over and place the salmon on the heated side of the plank, skin side down. Close the lid and grill for about 12-15 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove from the grill and drizzle generously with honey. Serve immediately.

Note: don’t skimp on the honey; it’s part of the perfection of this recipe. The honey bonds with the spices on the hot salmon and almost makes a crust. It is indescribably good.  The salmon doesn’t need a sauce but we often serve my Pico de Gallo or Salsa as a condiment.  It’s also good with an avocado sauce.

This salmon pairs beautifully with grilled asparagus.
This salmon pairs beautifully with grilled asparagus and a crisp white wine like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.

The Grill-Meister and I absolutely love this grilled salmon and we could eat it every week.  We never have leftovers unless we double the recipe. The salmon is great the next day flaked over a simple spinach and red onion salad that has been tossed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Found Recipe: Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad

Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad from Lexi's Clean Kitchen (their photo)
Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen (their photo)

Recipes arrive in my inbox by the droves.  The Glover Gardens Grill-Meister and I email the really good-looking ones to each other during the work week to savor the possibilities in advance of the weekend.  A few weeks ago, we made the Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad recipe from a blog post that Pinterest thought I’d like to see.  There was a run on fresh pineapple at my local grocery store that weekend, so Pinterest might have thoughtfully sent that recipe to a few more folks than just me.  The post was from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.

Today's harvest brought multi-colored peppers in varying degrees of heat.
Today’s harvest brought multi-colored peppers in varying degrees of heat.

We liked the results and wanted to share them with you.  We followed Lexi’s recipe fairly closely, but added grilled peppers to the mix, because our summer pepper crop has come in nicely.  I also whipped up a quick creamy avocado dressing to complement the lime dressing in the recipe (click here; be sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil if you make this dressing).

This salad is a natural for summer grilling.
This salad is a natural for summer grilling.
The salad is beautiful after individual plating.  Each person assembles their own masterpiece.
The salad is beautiful after individual plating. Each person assembles their own masterpiece.

Click here for the recipe.