The sharp-tongued, backwoods drifter in Charles Frazier's National Book Award-winning Civil War period novel,
Cold Mountain, Ruby Stobrod is a pragmatic country girl who seems to know how to do everything — from
butchering livestock to roasting meat in the embers. Such are the evocative powers of Frazier's writing that, simply by
reading about them, you can almost taste the dishes his characters prepare. Consider the following brisket, which Ruby
seasons with a simple rub and cooks in the glowing coals of a campfire. (The only thing I've changed is to wrap the brisket
in aluminum foil instead of paper.) This gives you a very different sort of brisket from what you'd get by the more conventional
method of smoking. It's also great for campers.
| (CLICK TO BUY)
6 slices of thick-sliced smoked bacon (the smokier, the better)
4 to 6 teaspoons All-Purpose Barbecue Rub (recipe follows)
1 center-cut piece of brisket (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
Your choice of barbecue sauce (optional), for serving
You'll also need
A charcoal grill
4 pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil (24 by 18 inches each)
All-Purpose Barbecue Rub
1/4 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
||Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil shiny side down on a work surface. Place 3 slices of bacon about 1 inch
apart on top of the foil. Sprinkle the rub over the brisket on all sides and rub it onto the meat with your fingers.
Lay the brisket on top of the bacon. Lay the remaining bacon on top of the brisket. Bring the ends of the aluminum foil
up over the brisket, folding over the edges several times and crimping them to make a tight seal. Tightly wrap the brisket
in 3 more layers of aluminum foil, shiny side out (so it will reflect the heat), to make a sturdy packet.|
||Light charcoal or wood chunks in a chimney starter. When the coals glow red, dump them into the bottom of the grill and
rake into a pile on one side. Let the coals burn until they begin to ash over, 5 to 10 minutes.|
||When ready to cook, lay the wrapped brisket next to the coals. Using a small shovel, long-handled spatula, or tongs,
shovel 6 or so glowing embers on top of the brisket.|
||Roast the brisket under the embers until cooked through and tender, about 2 hours. Every 30 minutes, turn and rotate
the brisket so that a different side faces the mound of coals (take care not to puncture the foil packet when turning).
Place a few fresh coals on top of the foil packet. You'll need to replenish the coals after 45 minutes to 1 hour. Simply
place fresh charcoal or wood chunks on top of the mound of coals. They’ll light in about 10 minutes. If
you’ve wrapped your brisket well, there won't be any leakage of bacon fat. If the fat does leak, you may get a flare-up
in the bottom of the grill. Keep your eye on the grill for flare-ups and move the brisket to a flame-free section of the
grill if you see one.|
||Test for doneness by using a long slender metal skewer: It should pierce the meat easily. Rake any coals off the foil
packet and transfer it to an aluminum foil pan or roasting pan. Let cool for 10 minutes.|
||Present the brisket in its flame-darkened foil packet to your guests, then remove it to the kitchen for unwrapping
and carving. Take care to avoid the escaping steam. Trim off any burnt parts from the brisket. Thinly slice the meat
across the grain and serve. |
All-Purpose Barbecue Rub
||Put the salt, brown sugar, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to mix. (Your fingers actually work better for
mixing the rub than a spoon or whisk does.)|
Excerpted from BEER-CAN CHICKEN copyright © 2002 Steven Raichlen.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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