Sam and Stella’s first visit to Coney Island

Earlier this year we took the twins to Coney Island for the first time. They were not amused.

Scarlett’s First Dance Recital

This year Scarlett concluded a season of ballet and tap with a recital. It was pretty neat to see it all come together after having seen it in bits throughout the season. Here are some of the photos I took. I think next year I’ll do the same thing the guy behind me did and rent some f2.8 glass so I can freeze the action a bit more and get less motion blur.

My First Brisket!

I had been wanting to do brisket for a very long time, but I couldn’t find anywhere convenient to buy a whole packer brisket. But right before I was convinced I was going to have to go to a butcher, Costco decided to carry them.

Brisket at Costco!

Yeah, it was 20 lbs, which is ridiculous for what was essentially going to be just 3 adults, but it was USDA Prime for only $3/lb! I had no choice. I put it in my shopping cart and resolved to deal with the consequences later.

After I got home I realized I had a problem, it was too long to fit in my 18″ Weber Smokey Mountain. So I had to cut off some of the flat. (I ended up using that to make some beef phở).

cutting off some of the flat

Then I had to trim the fat. There was a pretty good amount to take off.

trimming the fat off the brisket
trimming the fat off the brisket

I put on a Dalmatian rub and put it into the fridge to dry brine.

brisket dalmation rub

The next day I fired up the smoker and got to work on the Texas mop sauce.

ingredients for the Texas mop sauce
ingredients for the Texas mop sauce

Instead of vegetable oil, I rendered some of the brisket fat:

rendering brisket fat
rendering brisket fat

I should have cut it into smaller pieces to increase the rendered fat to fried fat ratio, but there’s a first time for everything. And here’s my completed mop sauce:

Texas mop sauce
Texas mop sauce

The taste reminded me a lot of my mom’s carne con papa sauce or a ragu. I think a bit over 20 hours later, the brisket was finally done smoking:

Smoked brisket
Smoked brisket

I used Kingsford coals with the minion method and some hickory as the wood. I always think it’s so funny the smoked food looks burnt until you cut into it and get that delicious food. But first I had to put it in the cooler for four hours.

waiting for the brisket to cool
waiting for the brisket to cool

and then finally was able to bring it inside:

ALMOST TIME!
ALMOST TIME!

then FIRST CUT!

Even the lean part was ridiculously moist. The whole thing was practically falling apart.

more brisket cutting shots!
more brisket cutting shots!

Here’s a look at the point where you can see muscle grains going in two different directions:

a cut from the point
a cut from the point

And here was my dinner that day:

Brisket dinner
Brisket dinner

A week later this is all that was left:

And after searching fo what else I could do with my brisket, I made brisket tacos!

Brisket tacos!
Brisket tacos!

So, what were my lessons learned from my first brisket? Basically, I was a little too focued on getting to 203 when I should have checked for probe tender at 195 and every few degrees after that. I ended up with an overcooked (although moist, not dry) brisket that just fell apart a little too much. Overall, it was good, but I also realized I’m just not that into brisket compared to other BBQ foods. I prefer ribs or chicken. I’ll make brisket again, but only if I’m cooking for a group so I don’t need to eat 10ish lbs of brisket over the course of a couple weeks.

Mother’s Day Prime Rib Roast

For the first time in a few years, my mom was going to be in town for Mother’s Day. We didn’t have a ton of events to attend or anything, so I asked her what she would like for dinner if she could have anything. She said she wanted prime rib, so I figured it was the perfect time for me to try out a prime rib roast on one of my BBQs. Meathead has lots of tips for eliminating most of the hassle of making a prime rib roast. First of all, remove the ribs – they only serve to block heat and keep the roast from cooking evenly. Second, use twine to make it into a cylinder so it cooks evenly from the outside to the inside.

Prime Rib deboned and tied up to be made cylindrical

I also decided to make some gravy to drizzle over it. Here’s what the stock looked like:

Gravy Stock
Gravy Stock

So I fired up the Weber Kettle to 225 F and threw on the meat.

Waiting for the BBQ to come up to temp

Meathead said it would take about a half an hour per inch and this 4 inch diameter roast took about 2 hours to get to the right temperature on the inside. Now it was time to sear the outside.

Searing the outside

And there she is, all cooked up:

Prime Rib roast done!!

and another shot with the gravy:

Prime Rib and the Gravy

Here’s the first piece cut off (money shot):

First Slice!

And this was dinner:

DINNER!

One more shot of the inside a few slices in:

Another money shot!

So, in the end, the flavor was great. The crust had a nice kick to it as did the gravy. Will I make it again? Probably not unless my mom’s back in town. My wife is all about the steak. This is too much meat without a sear for her. I thought it was better than I’d had at The Prime Rib in Baltimore, but I’m not going to make a whole roast just for myself. Still, it was a fun experience and something I was able to cross off my list.