If you've ever enjoyed beef brisket, smoked low and slow, you know the benefits that come from sending beef into a smoker. It might take longer than other meats, but it's worth the wait for the kind of flavor you can't get pan frying or tossing a piece of meat on your grill for a few minutes.
"You will always have several rounds of trial and error and definitely some highs and lows" but that's what makes it fun when you're playing around with smoking different cuts of cow, says Strip House's Corporate Executive Chef Michael Vignola. We need to set up the story here, as in “Here are Vignola’s rules.” otherwise, the story is hard to navigate.
Quality over quantity
Always begin with a quality piece of meat. "It's a real bummer if you've worked for 12 hours and end up with a tough piece of meat," says Scott Roberts, pitmaster and owner of Texas's legendary The Salt Lick.
Temperature is key
Always make sure to bring the brisket to room temperature before beginning cooking process, says Roberts.
Rub with love
"When we are smoking, it's key to rub your spices into the meat. Whether it's salt and pepper or an ancho coffee rub, do it with love and really massage it into the meat well," says Vignola.
Cook it immediately after rubbing
"If your dry rub contains salt, put it in the smoker immediately – don't wait or linger," Roberts says.
Keep it moist
When using your smoker, add a small pan of liquid to the bottom of your smoking chamber, suggests Vignola. This adds just enough moisture to the dry slow cooking process. "Some of our favorites are apple juice, Budweiser, coffee and chicken stock," says Vignola.
Slow and low
Smoking is not something you can rush. You are better off smoking it early, wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and allowing it to steam while keeping warm above a low flame. This will ensure a super succulent end product, says Vignola.
Once brisket is done, make sure to wrap it in a breathable material, like butcher paper. Let the meat rest for one hour in a 140-degree smoker or oven, just like you would let a steak rest 15-20 minutes prior to eating, says Roberts.
Beef Ribs Recipe
"Though pork ribs are more often associated with barbecue, beef ribs are a quintessential part of the Texas barbecue family. Quite a bit larger than pork spare ribs, beef ribs are sold as one per order. We sell them as a "double cut" by butchering out every other bone so that you get double the meat in your order. They're rich and smoky and one of the best cuts of beef you'll ever put in your mouth. We've had a number of celebrity chefs come here throughout the years, and the beef ribs have always been a big hit," says Roberts of his Salt Lick Beef Ribs recipe.
- 1 rack beef back ribs
- 1 bottle favorite dry rub
- 1 bottle favorite barbecue basting sauce (one without tomatoes in it)
- Heat smoker to 225 degrees. Remove skin from back of bone side of ribs and dis- card. Rub each rack of ribs with dry rub for a moderately heavy coating.
- Place ribs meat-side down on rack of closed smoker midway from the main heat source. Cook 1⁄2 hour. Lightly baste each rack with Salt Lick BBQ Sauce then turn over and baste meat side.
- Let temperature of smoker cool to 180 degrees. Baste every 11⁄2 hours for a total cook time of 61⁄2 hours. Check internal temperature of ribs in center of rack, making sure thermometer is not touching bone.
- If temperature is 160 degrees, ribs are ready for removal. If not, monitor temperature every 15 minutes, until ribs have reached 160 degrees. Remove to wire cooling rack on flat sheet pan. Baste ribs once more, and separate individual ribs with sharp knife. Serve immediately.
(This recipe can be found in The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family And Love by Salt Lick owner and pit master Scott Roberts and Jessica Dupuy)
Brisket Jalapeño Poppers
"The idea for brisket poppers came to me while sitting at an airport bar, waiting for a flight to Cozumel. My friends and I split an order of jalapeño poppers and brisket. To wash it down, some ice-cold beer. Then the thought came to me: smoked brisket, jalapeños, cheese — these should all be married together and fried to a golden crunchiness. We've since served these at countless events. It just goes to show you never to discount great inspirations while sitting at an airport bar!" says Roberts.
- Peanut or canola oil for frying
- ½ pound chopped brisket
- 1 egg, whisked
- 4 oz. diced pickled jalapeño
- ½ tablespoon Salt Lick Garlic Dry Rub mix
- 6 tablespoons Salt Lick Bar-B-Que Sauce
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 3 oz. American cheese, shredded
- 3 oz. Swiss cheese, grated
- Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine brisket and egg and mix well.
- Add jalapeño, dry rub mix, and barbecue sauce, and mix well. Add breadcrumbs in small amounts and make sure they are evenly distributed. Add cheeses, and mix well.
- Scoop 1⁄2-ounce spoonfuls of mix to form poppers. Fry in oil until done/cooked throughout.
- Remove and drain on paper towel. Yields about 20 poppers.
For a smooth, more refined look use a batter dip:
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 2 cups flour
- 3 cups buttermilk
- In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal and panko; stir well.
- Fill a second small bowl with flour and in a third bowl, the buttermilk. After you have formed the ½ ounce popper, evenly roll the popper in the flour coating.
- Dip in buttermilk until evenly coated, then roll in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Be sure the panko/cornmeal coating has completely covered the popper.
- Fry until golden brown.
(This recipe can also be found in The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family And Love by Salt Lick owner and pit master Scott Roberts and Jessica Dupuy)Back to top