Ahab had his white whale; I have brisket. Recently, I have become mildly obsessed with cooking the perfect brisket which is crusty and barked on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I am only in the beginning stages of this particular culinary obsession, but if you want to try some incredible brisket (as well as other bbq), make your way to Smokin Buddha BBQieux. Their brisket is fat and tender, with a spiced bark and rich interior. But more on the city's best barbecue later.
Mad Max sent forth a brawny and polished California Cab this week made by the folks at Five Vintners. Sourced from grapes from St. Helena, Rutherford, and Napa, this cab burst forth with red fruits and smooth tannins. Now, I could have easily grilled a fat porterhouse or thick lamb chops and knocked this pairing out of the park. But, brisket was on my mind. Specifically, a brisket that combined the benefits of braising with the glories of barbecue. Something that would not be too aggressive with the wine, but also stand up to the heavy onslaught or wine power that a California Cab brings to the table.
Marinated, uncooked brisket ready for the grill.
The Taste of Braising, the Texture of BBQ
That is not an entirely accurate description, but let's go with it. What results in a juicy, lip smacking brisket with a deeper flavorprofile than traditional barbecued brisket while retaining more than a touch of smoke. To accomplish this, first get to marinating. Combine 3/4's of a bottle of stout red wine - Malbec will do- a glove of garlic smashed, a sprig of rosemary chopped, enough salt to fit in the palm of your hand, two bay leaves crushed, and ten or so cracks of black pepper. Mix all of this together, and pour over the brisket. Cover and marinate overnight.
Get a smoker to hold steady at 225 degrees. I added a 3:2 mix of hickory and cherry wood chips, feel free to smoke with what the good lord gave you. Remove the brisket from the fridge and marinade; reserve the marinade. Pat dry and sprinkle some more coarse salt on top. Place in your smoker, cover and smoke at 225 for 3 hours. Meanwhile, reduce the marinade in a sauce pan until only about a quarter of it remains.
After three hours, remove the brisket, place on a sheet of foil, pour over the reduced marinade, seal the foil, and place back on the smoker for another three hours or so. After three hours, remove from foil, place back on the smoker unencumbered for thirty minutes or so. Then slice across the grain.
Last time I made this the Saints dominated the Lions in a playoff matchup. If everyone makes this brisket, no doubt the Saints are going to the win. Throw in the wine, and most likely we are hosting an NFC Championship game next Sunday. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Five Vintners is available at Iris, Commander's Palace, Mr. B's, Houston's, Whole Foods, and The Wine Seller, where it retails for around $37.