I went for a Memorial Day Trifecta this weekend. The brisket came out delish... added more sugar and less pepper this time, worked out great. I also combined brown and granulated sugar, which seemed to make a nice bark. I prepped the meat the Saturday night with yellow mustard and dry rub and cooked at 225 on Sunday. I used Pecan wood, which came out great for the beef. At 150 degrees internal I took it out of the smoker and wrapped it in foil until it hit 185. I put it in an insulated cooler for a couple of hours and then the fridge for overnight. I find the brisket always tastes best the next day. The day I served it, I steamed the brisket for 90 minutes... by far the best way I have found to reheat brisket.
My brisket rub:
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 tablespoon hot chili powder
Next was the smoked 5-Cheese Mac. I made a lot! My kids prefer shells, so 3x 12oz boxes of shells. I boiled these on the stove for 12 minutes while I made the cheese sauce. I found 8 oz bags of a 3-cheese combo shredded and Parmesan shredded. Add in cream cheese and we have 5-Cheese Mac.
My 5-Cheese Mac:
3x 12oz boxes of medium shell pasta
2x bricks of cream cheese
2x 12oz bags of 3-cheese shredded cheese
2x 12oz bags of shredded Parmesan cheese
9 cups of skim milk
1 Tablespoon of rock salt
1 Tablespoon of black pepper
2 slices of peppered smoked candied bacon
I boiled the pasta and made the cheese mix in a sauce pan. I started with the butter and milk and brought it to a boil. I brought the heat down and then I stirred in the cream cheese. Once it was thick, I added in the shredded cheese and cut up bacon (more on the bacon). I set aside about a quarter bag of both the Parmesan and 3-cheese combo each. After draining the pasta, I put it in a greased foil pan... actually two of them. I then poured and ladled the cheese sauce over the shells. Last, I put the shredded cheese I had put aside and mixed together over the top of both pans.
I put it in my MEB30 at 225 for a bit over an hour. I used Apple Wood for this since the non-fruit woods may be a bit much for the cheese. It will absorb the smoke well. I left it uncovered so as to get a nice crust from the sauce and the extra cheese on top. Fantastic Mac... kids and everyone loved it.
Now for the bacon... I actually made the bacon before the Mac, but you have to save the bacon for last, right? I really only intended to make the bacon for the Mac, but ended up making the whole lot. I went simple on this one... I didn't brine my own pork belly, or anything like that. I purchased 1 package of thick cut bacon. I made a dry rub that was simply brown sugar and black pepper. For every 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, I added 1 Tablespoon of black pepper. The bacon was a bit peppery for the kids, but everyone liked it... maybe a bit less pepper next time. The bacon did not need any wet oil or anything. Since bacon is greasy, I figured it would hold the rub on its own, which it did fine. I washed each slice of bacon in a bowl of the dry rub individually, completely covering both sides of each slice.
I laid each slice directly on the rack of the MEB30. 4 full racks of bacon! I used apple wood for 90 minutes at 225 degrees. It came out great out of the smoker. However, after taking it out, I peeled off each slice and put it on paper towels top and bottom to absorb the grease. We then put the slices in the fridge for later to use on the salad and by themselves if anyone wanted some meat candy. They were so much better a couple hours later. The peppery flavor calmed down some and the sugar came out with the saltiness of the bacon itself. It was great reheated a bit in the nuker with a small bowl of water to retain moistness.
Topped everything off with a trifle and we had a very memorable culinary holiday. Thank you to all of our current and past armed forces that allowed me and my family to have such a special moment in the greatest Country ever created.