Double the Brisket, Double the Stress (err.. I mean Fun)

So here's the setup.  It's the weekend of Miscon (that's like Comicon, but much smaller and located only in Missoula, MT) and it also happens to be the weekend that we were celebrating my lovely wife's birthday.  As usual, we invited wayyy to many people.  But, I still wanted to smoke some brisket so I knew that I was going to need more than one brisket to feed them all.  Now, in the past, with my ECB water smoker, brisket was a 22 hour operation.  That's what I was preparing myself for, but I still wanted to hit up the convention a little bit.

I managed to pop into the con in time to get George Martin to sign my copy of Tuf Voyaging and then I got frustrated by my apparent inability to find anyone playing Dominion or any other board game that I'd be into.

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So, full of nerd failure, I headed back home to get the coals started for the brisket.  Oh, wait, I guess I should talk about the rubs that I put on the brisket?  Here's a picture of them both.

brisket rubs

Brisket rubs

I should have taken better notes but I'm fairly certain that one of these rubs was sort of off-the-cuff and the other one was the following recipe:

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

I actually made the rubs and rubbed the brisket the day before my nerd failure and I actually had more success at the convention.  Here, check out my foxy wife on the Iron Throne!

Foxy wife on the Iron Throne

Foxy wife on the Iron Throne

Here's two other sexy pictures..... of meat. ;)

Rubbed brisket #1

Rubbed brisket #1

Rubbed brisket #2

Rubbed brisket #2

Now, I believe we told folks that the party started at 3pm.  So, my plan was to get the meat in the smoker 24 hours in advance.  This turned out to be folly, however.  Brisket cooks much, much quicker in the UDS.  Also, since I had to do two at once, I had to create a lower second grill in my drum to hold another grill.  Turns out that the brisket on this lower grill was close enough to the basket that it got a little bit burned on one side.

I didn't realize this until I woke up in a panic at 3am and I looked over at my remote temperature receiver to see that the bottom brisket was already at 200F?!?!  Crap!  So, I pulled that brisket out of the smoker and wrapped it up in aluminum foil.  Then I put it in the oven at 195F and crossed my fingers.  The other brisket was only at 170F so I left it in there.

Well, at 7am, this second brisket was already at 190F.  So, the party was in 7 hours and the brisket was already done.  Yikes!  In case you find yourself in a similar scenario, don't worry, you have options.  Especially with brisket.

What you need to do is pull the brisket out of the smoker and wrap it tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil (shiny side facing the brisket to reflect heat back at it).  Then line the bottom of a cooler with a big fat towel.  Now wrap the brisket with another big towel and lay it in the cooler.  Fill any empty space with more towels and seal up the cooler.  DO NOT open it until you are ready to serve the brisket.  It sounds crazy, but it will stay up to temp for 6-7 hours like this.

When I pulled the brisket out of the cooler when the first guests arrived, the brisket was still at 142F which is safe even if the health department is your dinner guest.

Here's some  pictures of the tastiness and success!

UDS Smoked Brisket

UDS Smoked Brisket

You might be asking yourself what all that goodness is on top of the brisket?  That's all the onions from the brisket mop I used.  Here's that recipe:

  • Bottle of beer
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of Frank's hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

Here's a picture of me carving up that bad boy.

carving up the brisket

Carving up the brisket

I was pretty nervous that I had ruined at least one of these briskets, but around midnight it was obvious that the masses were satisfied.  You see, it was at that time that I witnessed several party guests picking over the big bowl of fat looking for tasty brisket morsels.  That's all that was left of 39lbs of brisket.  Huzzah!

Smoked Veggies? (well, if you absolutely have to)

Let's face it, not everyone digs on meat.  Just because I don't understand it doesn't make it wrong.  Case in point, my rad sister-in-law very rarely eats meat of any kind (although, I consider it a total success when she can't resist some pulled pork or brisket that I just pulled out of the smoker).  Even though she doesn't usually eat meat, she's often at our house on "Smoked Meat Sundays" so I wanted to do something that she could get into instead of offering her a veggie burger while everyone else fills up on tasty smoked goodness.

So off I went to the local organic grocery store to get some potatoes, onions and eggplant.  Frankly, I wasn't sure what to even attempt in the smoker.  I don't think I'd ever tried to smoke anything besides meat before.  But potatoes made sense because baked potatoes are awesome, right?  So, how could smoked potatoes not be awesome?

The onion I cut to make a sort of onion blossom and then I topped it with salt, pepper, balsamic, butter and (whoops!) bacon!  As you can see from the picture, though.  I left one of them sans bacon for Sarah.  For some reason I took no pictures of the eggplant.  Ah well, I might try it again anyway to make baba ganoush.

bacon onions and potatoes for the smoker

Bacon onions and potatoes for the smoker

Just in case you didn't get enough of an eyeful of amish butter and bacon on top of the onion, here's a pretty sexy close-up.

bacon and butter topped onion

Bacon and butter topped onion

I know it's wrong, but I wanted to take a bite of that thing before I even cooked it.  Heh.  Anyway, here's some pics of the end result.

smoked bacon onion

Smoked bacon onion

smoked potatoes

Smoked potatoes

UDS Crispy Skin Chicken (take 2)

I was bound and determined to make some smoked chicken with crispy skin without resorting to the grill.  I knew it had to be possible with the Ugly Drum Smoker so I gave it another go.

I think I was so obsessed with this ideal because I once heard that it's one of the requirements for award-winning smoked chicken in BBQ competitions.  Basically, the judges have to be able to take a bit and pull back and the skin needs to be nice and crispy but also stay on the piece of chicken.  That always sounded like black magic to me, but I think I got the formula figured out.

Keeping all the intakes wide open and popping the firebasket into the smoker when it is still nice and hot, I was able to keep temperatures closer to 350F.  I also flipped the chicken halfway through the smoke so I could crisp it up on both sides.  I don't think it too more than 1 1/2-2 hours, probably closer to 1 1/2.

Here's some pictures of the end result.

UDS smoked chicken with crispy skin

UDS smoked chicken with crispy skin

smoked chicken thigh with crispy skin

Finally, smoked chicken thigh with crispy skin!

ugly drum smoker crispy chicken

Ugly Drum Smoker = Crispy Chicken