Two DIY recipes for smoked meat perfection

At the center of any good barbecue is an array of delicious smoked meats.

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November 30, 2017 3 min read

An Austin culinary arts enthusiast is sure to have strong feelings about barbecue. And at the center of any good barbecue is an array of delicious smoked meats. Learning how to prepare these savory, hearty items can be an opportunity to explore a tasty tradition or develop some exciting twists of your own.

Brisket, Texas-style

“Beef brisket is the epitome of Texas barbecue.”

Beef brisket is the epitome of Texas barbecue, and every pit has its signature approach to this tender favorite. Bon Appetit provided directions so you can try your hand at a true Lone Star State classic. To make this recipe a reality, you’ll need a charcoal grill, a full day to cook out and 10 to 12 pounds of whole beef brisket with the fat trimmed to a quarter-inch thickness.

About an hour before you fire up the grill, prepare the meat with a dry rub. Place the brisket in a rimmed baking sheet and season with a mixture of kosher salt and black pepper.

Get the grill ready by lighting a full chimney of hardwood charcoal and burning until they are covered with a layer of ash. Move the charcoal onto one side of the grill and set three chunks of untreated, kiln-dried hardwood nearby to slowly catch fire. Put the grate in place and cover the grill, keeping the vent well away from the heat and adjusting as necessary to maintain a temperature between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

You’ll burn through four to six chimneys of coal as you slowly cook the brisket. Rotate the beef every three hours and flip occasionally if you notice that one side is cooking faster than the other. It should take between 10 and 12 hours for the meat to become perfectly tender and the thickest part of the meat to reach an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees.

Move the brisket onto a carving board to rest for half an hour. Cut against the grain into quarter-inch-thick pieces and serve with potato salad, coleslaw and pinto beans for a true Texas barbecue feast.

Succulently smoked salmon

Smoking is also an excellent method for cooking seafood such as trout, mackerel and, of course, salmon. Alton Brown’s version requires lengthy preparation, but it will yield fantastic results if you have the time to spare.

First, mix a rub of salt, sugar, dark brown sugar and crushed peppercorns. Lay out aluminum foil covered with plastic wrap and sprinkle on a third of the rub. Set one large salmon fillets on top, with the skin side down, and then add another third of the rub. Stack on a second fillet with the skin up, covering with the remaining seasoning.

Cover the fish with wrap and tightly crimp the foil together. Set the salmon on a sheet pan and weigh it down before placing in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Turn the fish over and keep chilled another 12 hours.

Unwrap the cured salmon and rinse with cold water. Pat the fish off with paper towels and allow up to three hours for it to dry.

Smoke over hardwood chips at a temperature between 150 and 160 degrees. After a few hours, check the temperature in the thickest part of the fish. When it reaches 150 degrees, it’s ready to serve.

Smoking is a great way to prepare tender, delicious meat and fish. For students pursuing an online culinary arts certificate, learning to prepare a tasty rub and slowly cook items over smoldering wood can be an important step toward developing remarkable dishes that will have diners lining up for a plate.

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