Of Brisket and Barbeque

We just bought our split half of beef for the year. That’s a lot o’ red meat. I always try to save every cut of meat possible from becoming hamburger, so I ask that the processor cut flank, brisket, stew meat, meaty soup bones, ox tail, and arm roast for me.
We like variety.
I have loads of vintage cookbooks devoted to the cooking of a wide range of cuts of beef from the richest to the most humble. The economical cuts of yesteryear are now the popular “lean” and “healthy” cuts of today. Many recipes have been devoted to the humbler cuts by frugal homemakers of past generations. That’s why I love the cookbooks and culinary encyclopedias of the early to mid-twentieth century.
Brisket is one of my favorite “economy” cuts of beef. (I put the word economy in quotes because it isn’t cheap to buy in the store unless it is pickled and around St. Patrick’s Day here in the United States.) When trimmed of most of their fat and carefully prepared, it is one of my favorites parts of the steer.
I like brisket best smoked, sliced thin, and slow cooked in barbeque sauce. I have a good friend who’s husband is a master smoker. He does just as good a job as any pit barbeque restaurant I’ve ever experienced. Like all smoker guys, he has his own recipe for rub. Here is mine:

1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon seasoned salt of your choice
1 teaspoon smoked or plain paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Combine all ingredients.
• Trim outer fat from brisket, rinse, and pat dry.
• Rub with seasoning mix and place in covered dish or gallon bag. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
• Deliver to a friend who has a smoker and knows how to use it, and offer them a share of the wonderful results.
This recipe makes enough to generously massage four 3-pound briskets, so half or quarter this recipe according to your need or store the extra rub in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place. You also can use this rub for beer can chicken or to sprinkle on any kind of meat you might be grilling.
Once the brisket is smoked and sliced, you can eat it right away. I like to slow cook it with my barbeque sauce in a crock pot until it is extra tender.
I serve this delicacy of brisket on buns with pickle slices, homemade ranch beans (See my March 30, 2010 blog, “Ranch Beans.”), and sweet corn as sides.
I know! It would seem that I’ve just given up all of my barbeque secrets. Don’t worry little grasshoppers, my culinary kung fu is still strong. Begonia

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