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Aerial Brisket

Discussion in 'Beef' started by Robert Rich, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Robert Rich

    Robert Rich Newbie

    Each year, my college buddies get together for a foot ball game. The only bad news is that it's in my hometown, Buffalo NY, and the team we watch is the Bills. This year, it will be extra rough, as we're doing the Monday night game against the Patriots... There will be drinking and crying.

    Though I grew up in Buffalo, I've lived in Austin for the past 20 years, and can turn out a respectable brisket on big and small pits alike. Once a year, my teammates and I compete in an IBCA cookoff in our neighborhood, occasionally taking home a top 3 finish.

    Here's my problem. I bought a prime brisket and I want to bring some Central Texas goodness to the boys up North who don't know the difference between grilling and smoking. I've got the prime brisket resting in the fridge, I know how I'm gonna prep it, and the only big variable is my buddy's cooking setup. He has a small offset that he's only used once, and I've never cooked on it. I have experience cooking on my Johnson 20" reverse flow T-smoker, and I've done tons of briskets using a Smokenator on a Weber kettle.

    I was planning on taking the uncooked brisket and smoking it at his place, but some of my searching and reading this morning has recommended actually smoking the brisket at home, freezing it and flying with it frozen, and then reheating it at your destination. I just can't image the bark will stand up well with all the vibration and banging around. I've also never had a reheated brisket that tasted anywhere near as good as a freshly-rested one.

    I'd love to hear from folks who have either flown commerical with an uncooked refrigerated brisket, or who have cooked it first, frozen it, and then reheated it at their destination.

    Surely someone here has some experience on this. If not, I'll take a few educated opinions.

    Thanks Guys -
     
  2. smokin peachey

    smokin peachey Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Most briskets don’t last long enough to be frozen they are immediately consumed.

    I have no experience with flying a brisket but I would probably go the route of smoking with what you are familiar with then freezing and reheating. If they don’t know the difference between grilling and smoking chances are they won’t be able to tell if your brisket isn’t freshly smoked.
     
  3. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    If your friends are anything like mine. Then after all the pleasantries have concluded and the beer starts flowing freely it won't matter what the brisket tastes like. You could probably get away with serving McDonalds McRibs and tell them it's homemade Texas style ribs and get away with it. You have experience with an offset - so I say cook it in Buffalo. You may have to pay a little more attention to the smoke, but I'm sure it will come out better then a pre-cooked frozen meal that's traveled 1500+ miles. Good luck and let us know how the brisket turns out. Hopefully the Bills beat the $not out of the Pats. I like Boston(kindof) but despise their sports teams.

    Chris
     
    Scott Eisenbraun likes this.
  4. Robert Rich

    Robert Rich Newbie

    Chris, I am leaning your way right now (on the BBQ and the teams). I've never had BBQ (brikset, ribs, or chicken) that tasted half as good when reheated.
     
  5. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Best choice in my opinion. Have fun and enjoy the day sound like a good time.

    Chris
     
  6. oldsmokerdude

    oldsmokerdude Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I completely agree that the best scenario is to season at home, then cook when you get to New York. However you mentioned:

    If he has some cheapo offset (i.e. $99 from Aldi) it will probably be difficult to control the cooking temp, especially as NY starts getting colder (and would also explain why he's only used it once). If he has a quality cooker and you do choose to go this route, make sure you take your own thermometers to monitor grill and meat temps if he doesn't have them.

    Let us know how it turns out.
     
  7. If it was me, I would cook it at home and freeze it. You know your smoker and using his would probably frustrate you especially if yours is higher quality. I wouldn't want to stress out cooking up there in the cold. In fact, you could cook yours at home and freeze it and then buy something there that isn't has hard to smoke on his. Maybe do a pork butt. It's hard to mess those up or some smoked mac n cheese. That way you can enjoy smoking and drinking with your buds but also know that you haven't ruined a prime brisky.
     
  8. kelbro

    kelbro Meat Mopper

    I think that you might be surprised at how many Austin BBQ restaurants occasionally freeze and thaw their brisket.
     
  9. I'm frozen smoked brisket many times.
    Smoke it, slice it, put it in a foil pan and seal tightly. Make sure there is a LITTLE juice in the bottom.
    350˚ for an hour (once thawed) and you're good to go.
     
  10. gnarlykaw

    gnarlykaw Smoke Blower

    LOL! I have this picture in my mind..........cook it at home, wrap in in foil, like a mummy, then pack it in a suitcase, and wrap it again in towels. it comes off the plane, and TSA thinks its a dead body part, and unwraps it!! Dude, it will never make it out of the airport!
    I dont think you could even put it in a overhead bag, without raising every nose in coach!! maybe if you can vacuum pack it as well, maybe. You would have to plaster stickers all over the bag, saying, "Smoked Briskit in Transit" LMAO!!
     
  11. Robert Rich

    Robert Rich Newbie

    Gents - thanks for all the input. I decided to carry it in its cryovac in a softsided cooler with a 4lb block of dry ice.

    I had checked with Southwest and TSA first - they both said it would be fine. The only problem was that the ice was in too direct contact with the brisket and would surface-freeze part of the fat side. An extra towel would have prevented that.

    We cooked the brisket on my friend's little offset - 8 hour smoke at 225, 14 more hours in the oven at 175.

    It was a colassal hit - the guys went nuts over it.

    Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again . Hope this helps someone down the line.

    Rob
     
  12. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Happy it worked out for you. Sounds like you made the right choice.
    Chris