I’m happy as a clam right now! (Or maybe even a bug in a rug…although that’s a tall order.) Warm weather has finally returned to upstate New York! Yup, the snow blower has been stored away for the summer, and I got the lawn mower out for the first time earlier this week. In fact, that very same day, I also broke out the smoker and started the season off with a tasty beef brisket. Smoking meats is a bit more involved than grilling, but if done right, you will create some of the tastiest food you’ve ever eaten!
I hopped up early and got the smoker all ready, and the beef brisket was on the smoker by around 8:00am. Asking me to do anything productive before my morning cup of coffee is a risky little game. But I made an exception this time because smoked meat was involved! Let me tell ya…that smoker was absolutely making my mouth water by about lunchtime. Every time I rode by on the mower, I caught another whiff. It was torture! It was all I could do to keep that mower going in a straight path and not veer off and over the flowers instead. (I hate to think how I’d tell my wife that I mowed down the flower bed…)
I was born in Texas, and I still have family living in east Texas. Barbecue and smoked meats are a way of life down there. Heck, I remember visiting my Dad a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving. We ate Thanksgiving lunch with the family and then headed back home to Dallas. For dinner that night, we stopped and grabbed brisket sandwiches. Seriously? Who eats smoked brisket on Thanksgiving Day? Folks in Texas, that’s who! Even though I’ve moved all over the South and I now live in upstate New York, I still have an unstoppable craving for delicious, smoked meats.
I thought about adding other toppings to this sandwich, but I decided to keep it simple. I just sliced the brisket up and layered it on the sandwich. The smoked meat is loaded with flavor, and I did add just a touch of barbecue sauce to the top. That’s pretty much it. Nice and simple. Just the way I like it!
My wife got me a smoker for my birthday several years ago, and I absolutely love it! Here’s a couple of handy smoking tips that I’ve picked up:
- Use Lump Charcoal. Unlike charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal is actually made out of wood. It also burns much longer and produces less ash than briquettes…it’s absolutely a must when it comes to smoking!
- Use Wood Chunks instead of Wood Chips. Similar to lump charcoal, wood chunks burn much slower than smaller wood chips. Wood chips are great for grilling, but I prefer chunks when smoking.
- Use a probe-style meat thermometer. This is absolutely essential! When smoking meat, it’s important to leave the lid of the smoker closed as much as possible. (When you’re lookin’, you aren’t cookin’!) A probe-style thermometer makes it possible to monitor the internal temperature of the meat without ever opening the lid of the smoker.
- Adjust the temperature gradually (if needed). Adjusting the temperature on a smoker is more like driving a boat rather than a car. Just make slight adjustments to the air valves as needed.
- Leave yourself plenty of time! Smoking isn’t hard at all, but it does require time. Pick a day when you have chores to do around the house or in the yard. You won’t need to stand there and watch the smoker all day (I mean I guess you could), but you should plan on being nearby! (Tip: Since smoking takes a good bit of time, I usually don’t try to have it ready for dinner that night. The time crunch just adds stress…and you can’t rush low-and-slow!)
- Have fun creating different rubs. I really like the one included in this recipe! It’s slightly spicy with just a hint of sweetness…and it works perfectly for the brisket. Remember, only the outer portion of the meat will have the rub on it, so it’s totally fine if the rub is a bit on the sweet or spicy side!