Monday, October 25, 2010

Project Pork: The Brisket

I used to be a vegetarian. For almost eight years, from high school through most of my last year of college. Then, there was a day when I just really (really) wanted a BLT. And I got one. And I ate it. It was so good. And although I still eat a lot of vegetarian meals, bacon will always hold a special place in my heart.

So I have a bit of a fondness for various cured pork products. Not all pork products, but a few. Pork brisket is one I had never heard of, but it turns out to be a cut from the the front of the ribs/chest, rather fatty but with some very nice rib meat as well.

Before this week, I had never cooked such a large piece of meat. I've never roasted a chicken, either. So this was definitely a "project."

Step 1. Make a spice rub (proportions for a 2 lb brisket):
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp regular paprika
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
     Step 2. Massage your brisket (all sides) with the spice rub:

    Step 3. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight, up to 24 hours (longer is better).
    Step 4. Preheat oven to 275-300F (again, wonky oven here). Place your brisket, still covered with foil, in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours until the meat reaches 165F. I flipped this beast over after 2 hours and ended up cooking it for the full 4, and it was closer to 175F by the time I got it out of the oven.

    Step 5. Peel off the kind of scary layer of fat. Shred the meat with two forks. Enjoy some of the crispy bits that have developed (can you SEE how much liquid pork fat is in the pan above?)

    This was really tender and tasty even plain, but better with your favorite barbecue sauce.

    Conclusion: this was a really fun project!

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