Sunday, 4 July 2010

Barbecue Brisket and Burgers

The weather has decided to cooperate with my ambitions to make the perfect barbecued pizza, burgers and brisket. We're having the best summer since we arrived in England 4 years ago, with sunny skies, hot temperatures and not too much wind. Ideal for barbecuing! Unfortunately Paul has just started a job up in the North of England, so he's only home on weekends at the moment, which is limiting my time for experimenting.

But we have had some fantastic successes!

We had a houseguest staying a few weeks ago (the friend whose dating technique was commemorated in this post) and I decided he'd probably had enough rich, fancy food on his trip and needed something basic and homely. Burgers seemed to be the right thing for the occasion.

He was very, very sceptical when I told him that it was just going to be beef, salt and pepper and started telling me about these amazing burgers with egg and breadcrumbs and Worcestershire, cumin seeds and mustard and god knows what else in them. And I told him that these were going to be beef with salt and pepper and if he didn't like it he could get the hell out of my kitchen.

I didn't have time to make burger buns, so I cut some slices of sourdough bread and toasted them on the barbecue while the cooked burgers were resting, then I rubbed the toasted bread with a clove of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.

The burgers were ever so slightly over cooked, but the flavour was perfect and the garlic toast was just the right thing underneath them. And our guest agreed that they didn't need any fillers or binders or anything else to give them flavour.

Then last weekend we had enough free time to devote to barbecuing a brisket. In America (Texas particularly, I believe) they take the cooking of barbecue extremely seriously and have cook-offs where people virtually come to blows over the right way to do things, so it feels slightly audacious to be presenting my Australian/English version of barbecued brisket on Independence Day. But no offence is intended!

This was a small, 3lb brisket, so I couldn't do the sort of 12 hour cook that some recipes recommend, but I figured that an hour per pound on an indirect heat was probably going to be about right. A lot of the recipes seem to be more about the basting sauces and marinades than the meat itself, but I found this recipe for a dry rub, which sounded good to me. The big thing about the recipe is that it contains no sugar, which appealled from a flavour point of view and also made it less likely to burn.

We cooked it on indirect heat, covered, with hickory chips, placing the vent on the barbecue to encourage the flow of smoke over the meat and turned it over twice.

As you can see, after the 3 hours and a short rest, the meat was still succulent and juicy, and we had a really good penetration of smoke. The flavour from the rub was excellent. The leftovers were gorgeous cold!

I don't think this was the definitive brisket, but it was certainly very successful.


The Cat's Mother said...

Both love lovely.
Is that some of the home made feta on the salad as well?

And has the ex-flatmate developed his seduction culinary repetoire any further?

The Cat's Mother said...

I meant to write they both look lovely.

hungryandfrozen said...

I like your no-nonsense approach to feeding house guests. And I also agree - beef with salt and pepper makes some of the best burgers ever. Enjoy the summer!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Mother - yes, that was the feta on the warm broccoli salad. Ex-flatmate says he has made that salad many many times. And the girls are still flocking to him, so I guess it works!

Laura - well, I've known this guy for more than 20 years now. I see no need to pussyfoot! The summer is lovely, I hope Wellington isn't too cold.

Ibzo said...

Good looking smoke ring on that brisket :)

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am with you--a simple burger with good meat and salt and pepper is the best! These look great and I am drooling over the brisket too. ;-)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Ibzo - thankyou!

Deb - it is so hard to beat a good burger!

Sam said...

I am OK, thanks for asking, I've just been very stressed recently, I'll get back to my poor neglected blog soon I promise!

Those are some delicious looking burgers, makes me want to go and fire up the barbeque!

kat said...

You got a really nice smoke line on that brisket! We keep trying to find brisket with the fat still on it so we'll get a really juicy smoked one. My husband makes the best burgers & doesn't use any filler either so you did right!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Sam - hope the stress passes soon!

Kat - this just had a nice little 1cm fat cap. Kept it lovely and juicy!

Dharm said...

Two of those burgers please! Yes, I agree the best burgers are just seasoned with salt and pepper and then you can add whatever else in terms of lettuce, tomato, mustard whatever if you want it. And while I'm at it, some of that BBQ on a side plate as well thanyou very much! Looks just lovely!!!

MrOrph said...

don't let anyone tell you anything about your brisket. that is well-done! not the temperature, of course. i have friends who won't dare even attempt making a brisket, but they will jump at the chance to eat mine.

try grinding some brisket and using it combined with equal parts chuck and sirloin for your burgers. amazing!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Dharm - thanks! Glad you agree!

Mr Orph - thank you! I've heard that the brisket/chuck/sirloin mix is what Heston Blumenthal uses for his burgers, so it must be good!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nice smoke ring on that brisket!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Josh - not interested.

Marc - thanks!


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