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Brisket competition in the neighborhood

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
About a month ago a few of us in the neighborhood decided to have a rib cookoff. (see here: http://smokingmeatforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76785)

This time we decided to do brisket. 3 of the 5 cooks from last time remained the same, but the other 2 couldn't do it on Saturday and had to back out. One of the judges from the ribs decided he wanted to give it a try, so we rolled with 4.

We had one person who used his weber (the guy that won the ribs), one guy use his gas grill, myself with my ecb, and the new guy with an ecb. The new guy is just getting into smoking and hasn't made any mods to his ecb (even though I have suggested them). Here is what info I know about what each one did (sorry, no pics this time around). We were shooting for a 5pm finish, and each person had about 2.5 pounds of brisket (two 5lb briskets were bought and then cut in half)

Weber guy
He rubbed his down and foiled overnight. Not sure what all the spices were, but I do know that a package of onion soup mix was used. He seared both sides, then shoved the coals over to one side, foiled the brisket up with some mop sauce, and started his about 1:00. He unfoiled his some time around 4 and applied some more of his mop. Not sure what all was in the mop, but I do know the main liquid was beef broth with a little bit of liquid smoke.

His brisket was very tender upon the first bite, but was kind of dry in my opinion. It lacked a bit of flavor as well.

Gas grill guy
He started his at about 2:30, which immediately got me concerned ... and rightfully so. His brisket was very tough to chew and you couldn't even bite through it. You kind of had to clamp down with your teeth and rib it apart.

He used a finishing sauce that had tomato juice, lemon juice, chopped up onions and green peppers. He might have had more spices and liquid in it, but I don't know.

New smoker guy
He marinaded his overnight, using vinegar and beer as his liquid base, along with other spices and some chopped up onions.

He started his smoker about 10:30am. He never foiled his during the entire process. At about 3:00, he took the marinade that he had been basting with, and added something to it. Not sure what it was, but it really darkened up the color of the liquid. He then injected it into the meat.

I simply rubbed mine down Fri night, using a mustard layer and Jeff's rub. I wasn't sure what time I wanted to start mine. I would rather have finished a bit early and then simply removed it, foiled it and placed it in a cooler with towels until it was time to serve it. I was thinking of starting at 10am. BUT, I stayed up late Fri night playing poker online and then watching movies with my older son. I crashed on the couch and forgot to set an alarm. My wife woke me up at 10am, so I was already behind schedule.

First thing I did was get the brisket out of the fridge and set it on the counter while I got my ecb going. By the time I got everything out, got the coals going, the meat hit the ecb about 10:45.

I didn't touch it for the first two hours, then I started mopping with one of the easy recipes I found here (vinegar, beer, garlic salt, brown sugar, black pepper, red pepper ... with some added minced onion per my idea). I mopped every 1/2 hour until 3:30.

I got realy worried though. By 3:00, I was still sitting at 150 and it hadn't gone up for a while. I was fearful that I was gonna run out of time working through the plateau. At 3:15, my older son happened to walk by the ecb and told me it was down to 146. Five minutes later I went to check it myself and my entire screen on my probe was black. Not sure what the hell happened. So I said "screw it". I foiled it up, adding some of the mop. I left it foild for an hour, and removed it at 4:30, placing it on the counter instead of a cooler. At 4:55, I opened it up and pulled out the brisket to slice. After slicing and placing it in the tins we were all using, I poured the juice from the foil back over the top of everything.

Well, it was pretty damn tender but I know it could have been a bit better. Luckily, the flavor won it for me. 3 of the 5 judges picked mine the best, which was enough to give me the win over the Weber guy. 2 of the judges liked the Weber guys brisket, even after commenting about my flavor. One specifically said if you could take my flavor and his tenderness it woulda knocked it outta the park.

Kinda makes me feel good that I still got first even though I know I could have had it better.
post #2 of 5
Sounds like fun! My neigbors all come over and sniff my drum (good visual there!) when I cook looking for a hand out. I do feed them once in a while!
post #3 of 5
Congratulations! Sounds like a fun neighborhood. Now you just gotta keep them away from the SMF or they'll learn all your tricks.
post #4 of 5
Congratulations on your win. smile.gif Sounds like a fun time.
post #5 of 5
Damn, I wish I lived in your neighborhood! wink.gif

That sounds like a lot of fun...and congrats for salvaging your brisket and pressing on!

Actually, I DO have 3 or 4 friends that claim to be into smoking...I haven't got to try any of their goods yet, but I know one has a Silver Smoker and one has an ECB and I think the other guy uses a large webber grill.

We are planning something similar towards the end of this summer!

I have a trailer now for my Bell Fab Custom Offset, so the plan was to trailer ALL the smokers to a neutral spot (down by the lake, schweet!) and then set up this friendly cook-off kinda like a regular BBQ comp...in other words, not at anyone's house - so you have to remember ALL your gear, supplies, etc. and have it all together before the cooking starts.

My idea was to invite our families and some friends to join us, and to cook more food than what's needed for judging, so that we can all enjoy some good BBQ after the judging was done. We'll see what happens...
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