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Improving my BBQ game

by on July 9, 2009

In celebration of the 4th of July (and cheap meat prices!), I decided to smoke some meat last Friday. I’ve done lots of smoked brisket in the past, and they always turns out good. Like any right-minded Texan, I predominantly use mesquite wood to smoke and I dry rub the brisket. However, as great as my brisket has been in the past I have never been able to get more than about a 1/4-inch smoke ring. Frustrating because the ring is what it is all about. In addition, I got a hard crust on the outside (not the beautiful, crispy fat that you get on a roasted hunk of pork; this was more of a dried out, hard piece of beef – hard to cut, hard to chew; not so good eats). So, I decided to investigate using a mop. Now, in general, I am opposed to basting/mopping a roasting piece of meat because to do so you have to open the oven, thereby letting heat out and slowing the process. However, I open the smoker lid about once an hour anyway to make sure that I’m getting good smoke flow, to flip the meat (some of the time), etc; and I only open it when my smoke production is down and it is time to add more wood to the firebox. So, I figured that mopping the meat once an hour, probably wouldn’t harm it any.


There is a different brisket mop recipe for every person in the US! One common characteristic, however, is the presence of beer and, in most, vinegar. I decided on the following: 1C hard cider, 1C amber beer (I had to use gluten free beer, because of celiacs in the family), 1/2C apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 of a large sweet onion (about 10 oz) pureed with the vinegar. Mixed all together, I ladled a little on the entire brisket about every hour.

The result surprised me. I got a brisket with a 1/2-inch smoke ring! The brisket was moist and well flavored (although it needed another few hours in the smoker to finish cooking; I cut into it and discovered medium well meat). Next time, I will definitely try the mop again and I think I will throw in a couple of cloves of garlic just for good measure.


From → Experiments, Recipes

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