Well this past Saturday was the day of reckoning. The Friday before, I had planned to get up some time around 6am to start the brisket but awoke to a downpour. The combination of the weather and the hour persuaded me to make my way back to bed. The cook-off was scheduled to start at 4pm Saturday giving me plenty of time to smoke the brisket overnight Friday night assuming I would get a reprieve from the weather. This was not in the cards. It rained all day and into the evening forcing me to get creative and find some way to get this brisket going. So I did what any man would do, I built a shanty with a tarp and some twine...
|I don't think rain would affect the egg or the cook but it sure does bother the hell out of me.|
I rubbed the brisket with a combination of Grillmates applewood rub and the Montreal steaks spicy rub. I wrapped the brisket tightly in Saran wrap and placed it in the fridge overnight in prep for the Friday cook (because of the weather delay it got an extra day in the fridge with the rub)
I got the egg locked in to 250 with plenty of lump charcoal for the cook. I added some hickory chips that had been soaking for several days and 2 hickory chunks that had been soaked for only an hour or so. This was more wood than I have added to any cook to this point and the first time I used chunks (I wanted to make sure this thing had a sweet smoke ring when done). I placed the plate setter in legs up for indirect and used a drip pan and grate. One of the major differences between this cook and the last was that I placed the brisket on the lambda rack (inverted v-rack) on top of the grate fat side down to protect the meat from too much heat. I used the maverick meat probe entered near the fat tip of the brisket and the grill probe connected to the grate directly below the brisket. I let the brisket cook overnight and the grill temp actually dropped from 250 to around 200 in this time [this actually turned out to be a good thing since the brisket stayed in the plateau even longer (see my last brisket post about the plateau temps)]. When I woke up I got the grill back up to 250 and let the brisket cook until it got to an internal temp of 190 (took about 15 hours total). I pulled the brisket and immediately wrapped it in foil. I put it in a cooler and let it rest for about 2 hours while we changed locations to prep the chili.
This brisket turned out to be excellent. Very tasty and moist with a bit of sweet applewood that was complimented by a lingering spice. There was a very well defined pink smoke ring that can be seen in the image below. I cut the brisket in slices as is traditional. I then sliced it longways and made cubes from these pieces for the chili. We probably ate 2 pounds of the brisket during cooking and I shared the extra brisket with those at the cook-off.
|The brisket sliced with a few examples of cubing pieces |
(that is actually our tasting pile that kept growing and shrinking moments later).
|Notice the well defined pink smoke ring around the edges of the meat.|
|Cubed for the chili and easy tasting.|
I figured I would write a bit about the chili I am so proud of. I am not afraid to share the recipe as not many will be able to make the brisket the way I can (tip: see above).
3 pounds smoked brisket, chopped into small cubes
1/3 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
6 tomatoes concasse
2 small cans tomato paste
2 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 bottles Sweetwater IPA
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
6 fire roasted red chili peppers
2 tablespoons black course-ground pepper
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoon oregano
Puree the chipotles and red chili peppers. Combine all ingredients, except onion, garlic, spices and one beer, and simmer in a large pot. In a separate pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add spices, then mix with chili. Simmer 2-3 hours, adding beer as needed to thin. Hint: The brown sugar will decrease the heat from the peppers, so add more if the chili is too spicy. Add more peppers if chili isn’t hot enough.
The ingredients (some already mixed):
This produced almost exactly one crockpot's worth of chili. (
|I was concerned with how much chili we made but it turned out we had more than most and |
were still serving when some of the others had long run out.
The competition included around 22 or so different chilies with prizes given for best overall, best unusual, and spiciest. Some of the highlights were a pho chili, a chocolate mole chili, a fire in the hole chili, another brisket chili, a beef rib chili, and a jerk chicken chili. Over 175ish people were in attendance at Red Brick Brewery for the event to taste chili and drink beer. All in attendance were responsible for voting for one of the chilies as the best for each category. Here are two reviews of the event that are better written than mine and have fewer sets of parentheses (I use a lot). This one from a co-worker of the guy that won for spiciest (try to keep up) and this one is from one of the organizers and the author of Eat It, Atlanta. There are some more pictures of the winning chilies (including ours) and the winners in the second review.
Not surprisingly, Fire in the Hole won spiciest with our chili, surprisingly, coming in second (I did not think ours was spicy at all). The pho chili won best unusual (well deserved except I don't know what makes a chili a chili I guess). And.... drum roll please..... you guessed it!
|Yours truly, very proud and slightly intoxicated. The beard is what put us over the edge.|