As most anyone will tell you, the making of a great beef brisket is a long, long process—generations long, as it turns out. The beef brisket we’re serving at our BBQ & Beer Dinner this weekend not only takes hours and hours to cook, but the recipe has also been handed down in our guest chef’s family for, well, further back than he can guess. Add all that together and it is, to put it simply, going to be amazing.
Exactly why so amazing? It’s Texas brisket! According to Paul Sims, our guest chef and Texas native, it all starts with quality meat. But the brisket, which comes from the front shoulder area of a cow, is a hard-working muscle, so it takes some finesse to bring out the flavor and tenderness of the meat. Paul learned these secrets from his dad, and continues to make this dish often—often enough that he knows the procedure by touch, smell, and feel, no recipe needed. “It’s the perfect meal for a summer day,” he adds, “which is when I cook it most often.”
The process itself is fairly straightforward. First, you craft the Texas rub—a secret combination of herbs and spices that is particular to Paul’s family. (So no, no sharing! You’ll have to experiment and discover your own family recipe.) He does assure us that the ingredients are all common kitchen items, though. Once you’ve put together the rub, get it on the brisket and let it sit anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. This process will leach out a lot of the moisture while infusing the meat with the herbs, sugar, and spices in the rub. Seasoning the meat well will allow it to develop a proper bark—that’s the tasty, dark external layer of the meat that forms once it’s been cooked. It’s not burned, it’s actually a thin layer of caramelized sugar and spice.
Then comes the smoking. The meat goes into the smoker for most of the day. Today was the day that Paul and Chef Bryce started that process in the Söntés kitchen. It was put in just a bit before 9am this morning, and won’t come out until sometime this evening. Knowing when the meat is done is a combination of checking the internal temperature and actually feeling the meat for tenderness. “If it looks right and feels right, it’s gonna taste right,” says Paul.
And that’s only part of what we’ll be serving up this weekend! “The thing that’s exciting about this dinner,” says Paul, “is that so many talented people are showing up with something they’ve made to share at a meal. It almost has the feel of a good Midwest potluck, and it’s an honor to be a part of that.”
And all we have to say is that it’s an honor to have Paul share the recipe that generations of his family have used to great success. Here’s to the great dinners ahead—hope you can join us!