Smoked Beef Brisket

A Costco was recently opened in our neighborhood, and the place is massive. My wife and I are not members (yet), but my father-in-law is and he invited us to join him. I have heard nothing but good things about this place, and as I was familiar with Sam’s Club, I was interested walking around, not knowing what I would purchase.  I did not realize this place offered so much stuff, and in particular I was pleasantly surprised with their meat department. A few minutes in and I had a cart full of stuff, including a huge beef brisket. I typically only find flats in our stores, and they are super expensive, but this one at Costco had the flat and point, and it was huge, and super affordable. That alone was worth the trip.

I was jazzed to make another attempt at smoking this beef brisket, and well pretty darn excited to boot.

Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe
Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

Beef brisket is one of those cuts that, in my opinion, are sometimes tough to make, but when done right it is probably the best slice of beef you may ever have. I think I nailed it, not only in getting the awesome smoke ring, but this cut like butter and was super tender.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 11 lb beef brisket, fat trimmed
  • salt, to lightly coat
  • cracked black pepper, to lightly coat
  • Your favorite wood for smoking meats
  • aluminum foil

Start by trimming all of the fat. It’s ok to leave a little bit, but you pretty much want it off. Pay attention where the flat and the point meet, and get your knife in there and trim all of that out.

This process alone took me about 35 minutes. No lie.

Once you have the fat, feel free to save it for a later use, such as grinding into meat for making sausages, or discard.

Generously season all sides of the beef brisket with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. I then sealed mine in a large bag and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

How to smoke a beef brisket
How to smoke a beef brisket

Before you are ready to smoke, take the brisket out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature, roughly 30 minutes or so.

During this time, get your smoker ready. I use a Weber charcoal grill for my smoker, lining hot coals on one side, and drip pans, full of water, in the center.

My coworker sold me some digital probes for taking temperature for the meat, as well as the inside of the smoker, and when I put my brisket on, it was hovering around 270 degrees, and my brisket cooked at that temperature for probably 30 minutes until I got the temperature down to about 245 degrees. I smoked that for about 6 hours, then wrapped it in foil and cooked for about another 8 hours around 190 degrees. Low and slow if you will.

Once I had the internal temperature set to around 190 degrees then it is time to pull it off the smoker. I let my beef brisket rest for about 40 minutes before slicing into it. Slicing is the moment of truth, and truth be told mine was perfect. I was left with a great outer bark, and great smoke ring, and moist and tender. I was stoked. You can use this for sandwiches, eat as is, or even quesadillas! Costco now has me sold and we are now most likely getting a membership for the brisket alone. Hope you give this one a shot, and wish you all the best in smoking a brisket!

Mexican Alambre

You know when you have that craving for tacos, or better yet fajitas? Yeah, I know, I pretty much have that craving all of the time! This dish, known as alambre, is a popular Mexican dish that should be on everyone’s menu, but is not. This Mexican alambre is a mix of beef, bacon, peppers, and cheese, topped with avocados and limes, only to be folded into nicely grilled flour tortillas. This feeds an army and is packed full of awesome flavors and textures, that I’m positive will have you making this more than once.

Mexican Alambre Recipe
Mexican Alambre Recipe

Alambre, in Spanish, literally translates to ‘wire’ and I suspect that it could be due to the fact that meats and vegetables were skewered and grilled before getting chopped up and folded into tacos. Regardless, I simply throw things on the grill to get a nice char before slicing and serving.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon,  cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 whole white onion
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 lbs bottom round beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 morita chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 puya chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups of water
  • flour tortillas, warmed
  • avocados, slided
  • 2 cups of Oaxaca cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • sour cream, optional
  • sliced limes, optional

Start by marinating your beef. I like to do this overnight, but 4 or more hours should be sufficient.

To a small sauce pan, add the water, the garlic, and the 4 chili pods. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the pods are softened. Let the mixture cool. Take the pods, garlic, and about a cup of the water and blend until you have a fine puree.  Pour this mixture into a sealable bag, throw in a generous pinch or two of salt, and add in the beef, seal, and give the beef a nice massage to ensure the marinade penetrates the beef. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.

Mexican Alambre
Mexican Alambre

When you are ready to start making this, you have a couple of options. First is to grill the vegetables and beef (which is what I prefer), or you can cook everything in one big wok or skillet. (Hint: chose the grill)

Heat up your grill. I like to use a combination of charcoal and cherry wood as the smokiness really gets into the great flavor of the beef.

While the grill heats up, add the bacon to a large skillet, and cook on low heat, adding about 1/4 cup of water during the cooking process. You don’t want the bacon to be fully crisp as you normally might eat for breakfast, but somewhere between soft and crisp. Continue cooking the bacon on low heat, reserving some of the fat.

Next, add the whole bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno peppers to the grill, cooking over the coals. Your goal here is to get a nice char, while not fully cooking the peppers. Once you get a bit of the char, remove them from the grill, and take them inside to slice. Remove any of the seeds from the jalapenos if you don’t want this to be spicy.

Once you slice the peppers, and onion, add them to the cooked bacon, along with the sliced tomatoes and cilantro. Give this a good stir, and season with a pinch or two of salt.

Return back to the grill, and cook your beef until it is about medium. Don’t overcook your beef!

Take the beef inside, and slice into 1 inch strips, then add the beef to the bacon mixture, giving a good stir.

Top the mixture with the Oaxaca cheese, then cover, and remove from the heat. You want the cheese to melt into the mixture.

Mexican Alambre Recipe
Mexican Alambre Recipe

Now you are ready to serve. Uncover, and place the skillet onto some heat resistant pads on the table. Top with fresh limes and sliced avocados, along with a plate of warmed flour tortillas.

Take your tortilla, take some of the alambre, and fold it into the tortilla. Give a squeeze of fresh lime juice, lay on some avocado, and some sour cream if you prefer, and dig in.

This was a great meal to serve at the table. The kids loved the interactivity (and the rocking flavors), and it was a great conversation piece. My oldest, who typically does not like melted cheese (especially on tacos), nor peppers, was spooning this into about 4 tacos. I think he loved this Mexican alambre, and I’m certain you will to! Enjoy.

Mexican Alambre
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 whole white onion
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 lbs bottom round beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 morita chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 puya chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups of water
  • flour tortillas, warmed
  • avocados, slided
  • 2 cups of Oaxaca cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • sour cream, optional
  • sliced limes, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by marinating your beef. I like to do this overnight, but 4 or more hours should be sufficient.
  2. To a small sauce pan, add the water, the garlic, and the 4 chili pods. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the pods are softened. Let the mixture cool. Take the pods, garlic, and about a cup of the water and blend until you have a fine puree. Pour this mixture into a sealable bag, throw in a generous pinch or two of salt, and add in the beef, seal, and give the beef a nice massage to ensure the marinade penetrates the beef. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.
  3. When you are ready to start making this, you have a couple of options. First is to grill the vegetables and beef (which is what I prefer), or you can cook everything in one big wok or skillet. (Hint: chose the grill)
  4. Heat up your grill. I like to use a combination of charcoal and cherry wood as the smokiness really gets into the great flavor of the beef.
  5. While the grill heats up, add the bacon to a large skillet, and cook on low heat, adding about ¼ cup of water during the cooking process. You don’t want the bacon to be fully crisp as you normally might eat for breakfast, but somewhere between soft and crisp. Continue cooking the bacon on low heat, reserving some of the fat.
  6. Next, add the whole bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno peppers to the grill, cooking over the coals. Your goal here is to get a nice char, while not fully cooking the peppers. Once you get a bit of the char, remove them from the grill, and take them inside to slice. Remove any of the seeds from the jalapenos if you don’t want this to be spicy.
  7. Once you slice the peppers, and onion, add them to the cooked bacon, along with the sliced tomatoes and cilantro. Give this a good stir, and season with a pinch or two of salt.
  8. Return back to the grill, and cook your beef until it is about medium. Don’t overcook your beef!
  9. Take the beef inside, and slice into 1 inch strips, then add the beef to the bacon mixture, giving a good stir.
  10. Top the mixture with the Oaxaca cheese, then cover, and remove from the heat. You want the cheese to melt into the mixture.
  11. Now you are ready to serve. Uncover, and place the skillet onto some heat resistant pads on the table. Top with fresh limes and sliced avocados, along with a plate of warmed flour tortillas.
  12. Take your tortilla, take some of the alambre, and fold it into the tortilla. Give a squeeze of fresh lime juice, lay on some avocado, and some sour cream if you prefer, and dig in.

 

Franklin’s Smoked Turkey Breast

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty exhausted from the Thanksgiving holiday. As normal, I spent hours in the kitchen cooking up the feast which included a green bean casserole, creamed corn, gravy, a dry brined turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing/stuffing, and this thing of beauty; Franklin’s smoked turkey breast. My colleague turned me onto this recipe and he swore by it. Whenever someone who cooks gets that excited about something, I figured it was worth a shot, and boy was this one ever delicious. As a matter of fact, many said it was probably their favorite, along with my Thanksgiving sausage stuffing.

This turned out awesome, and as I cannot compare as I’ve never had the honor to get to Austin, Texas to try Franklin’s BBQ, I can tell you that this was fall apart tender with just the right amount of smoke.

Franklin's Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
Franklin’s Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 lb turkey breast
  • 2 whole sticks of butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp course cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • your favorite wood chips for smoking (I used cherry)

Start by mixing the salt and pepper in a bowl. remove the skin from the turkey breast and discard it.

Rub the turkey breast with the black pepper and salt, all over all of the sides. Now get your smoker ready. I’ve been using the Smokenator 1000 for some time now, but you could use your grill if you desire. Once the smoker comes to temperature (I shoot for about 250 degrees), add the turkey breast, cover, and let it slowly smoke for about 2.5 hours. Once the turkey is slightly browned, carefully remove it and place it on a plate.

Pull 2 big sheets of aluminum foil off, enough to easily wrap the turkey breast, and top the breast with the two sticks of butter. Cover with the foil, and return back to the smoker, butter side down. Make sure the breast is completely covered and to not have butter dripping down into your smoker! 

How to make Franklin's BBQ smoked turkey breast
How to make Franklin’s BBQ smoked turkey breast

Continue cooking for another 1-2 hours, or until the center of the breast registers around 160 degrees.

When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the foil from the turkey breast, and pull apart with a couple of forks.

This smoked turkey breast was so tender and juicy from cooking in that butter, and it was perfectly seasoned. I served mine on a couple of toasted buns, along with some barbecue sauce and pickles. I will definitely be making this again and again, plus it is perfect to serve during any holiday season. Hope you enjoy!

Franklin's Smoked Turkey Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Turkey
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3.5 lb turkey breast
  • 2 whole sticks of butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp course cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • your favorite wood chips for smoking (I used cherry)
Instructions
  1. Start by mixing the salt and pepper in a bowl. remove the skin from the turkey breast and discard it.
  2. Rub the turkey breast with the black pepper and salt, all over all of the sides. Now get your smoker ready. I’ve been using the Smokenator 1000 for some time now, but you could use your grill if you desire. Once the smoker comes to temperature (I shoot for about 250 degrees), add the turkey breast, cover, and let it slowly smoke for about 2.5 hours. Once the turkey is slightly browned, carefully remove it and place it on a plate.
  3. Pull 2 big sheets of aluminum foil off, enough to easily wrap the turkey breast, and top the breast with the two sticks of butter. Cover with the foil, and return back to the smoker, butter side down. Make sure the breast is completely covered and to not have butter dripping down into your smoker!
  4. Continue cooking for another 1-2 hours, or until the center of the breast registers around 160 degrees.
  5. When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the foil from the turkey breast, and pull apart with a couple of forks.

 

Mango and Peach Habanero Sauce

Last summer, I grew a bunch of habanero chili peppers. I often wonder why I grew these many chilies as they are very, very hot, but then I knew why. It is really because I love using those in Caribbean style recipes. There is something about the habanero that will always have a place in my heart. It’s wicked spicy, but when used properly, and it has this citrus note that I just can’t get enough of. That is probably also why one of my favorite chicken wing sauces is mango habanero. That’s when it occurred to me to come up with a mango and peach habanero sauce. This is unlike the fiery habanero sauce I made five years ago. This one is sweet with just the right amount of heat, that it has you coming back for more.

Mango and Peach Habanero Sauce Recipe
Mango and Peach Habanero Sauce Recipe

This sauce can go on anything, and yes, I slathered my onion rings with this sauce, and due to the sweetness of those onions, it was a perfect sauce.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 habanero chili peppers (use cooking cloves), seeds and stems removed
  • 1 whole medium onion, quartered
  • 1 whole mango, skin and pit removed, chopped
  • 1 whole peach, skin and pit removed, chopped
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups water, more if necessary
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt

 

NOTE: Be extremely careful when working with habanero chilies (or any chili for that matter) as the oils will get onto your skin, and if you rub your eye or elsewhere by accident, trust me, you will be feeling it.

This is way too simple, and yields quite a bunch, so it’s nice if you have a chile head in the family to offer up the extra bottle.

Add everything to a sauce pot, bring to medium heat, stir, lightly cover, and cook for about 15 minutes on a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature.

Mango and Peach Habanero Sauce
Mango and Peach Habanero Sauce

Use and immersion blender if you have one, or if not, add everything to a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more water if you want a thinner hot sauce. Store in sealed tight bottles and place into the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

I’ve been squirting this on cooked chicken, as well as using it on top of my morning omelette and I’m impressed everytime it hits my palette! Hope you enjoy!

Mango and Peach Habanero Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Hot Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 8 habanero chili peppers (use cooking cloves), seeds and stems removed
  • 1 whole medium onion, quartered
  • 1 whole mango, skin and pit removed, chopped
  • 1 whole peach, skin and pit removed, chopped
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups water, more if necessary
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
Instructions
  1. This is way too simple, and yields quite a bunch, so it’s nice if you have a chile head in the family to offer up the extra bottle.
  2. Add everything to a sauce pot, bring to medium heat, stir, lightly cover, and cook for about 15 minutes on a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature.
  3. Use and immersion blender if you have one, or if not, add everything to a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more water if you want a thinner hot sauce. Store in sealed tight bottles and place into the refrigerator until you are ready to use.