Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 4th Smoke Fest

Over the weekend, I was up in Oklahoma away from any of my beloved Texas BBQ joints, so I decided to get to smoking on my own. The menu included St. Louis ribs, a whole brisket, thick cut pork chops and a tube steak combo of garlic pork sausage and polish sausage (not pictured). Everything was smoked over charcoal briquettes (packing for a weekend away with a two month old can make you grab the wrong bag as I would have preferred to use lump hardwood charcoal) and the smoke was provided by hickory chunks.

Ribs were rubbed with a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic salt and brown sugar. It was smoked for 2-1/2 hours while resting for 1/2 hour.

I'm hungry all over again.

Pork chops were seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper and smoked for 2 hours.

Ribs, garlic sausage and pork chops came from Central Market in Dallas, the polish sausage (admittedly pre-smoked) was from Rudolph's in Dallas, and the brisket was from my new favorite butcher shop in Dallas called VonGeertsem Butcher Shoppe. The storefront is tiny with only one reserved parking space, but the knowledge that Greg Geerts is willing to share with you is alone worth the stop. He described the location of the deckle (a thick vein of fat between the point and the flat) and explained how he cut it out. We talked raw meat for a good fifteen minutes, and I was not once bored. I won't be going anywhere else for whole briskets at this point.

The brisket was seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.

Part of the point was separated from the whole so it fit in the smoker.

It was smoked for 10 hours.

Then it rested, wrapped in foil, for an hour.

The verdict...well I could have done better. The ribs were nearly perfect with a black crust, smokiness through the meat, and well rendered fat. The pork chops were still moist, well seasoned and deeply smoky. The sausage needed more time on the smoker to develop a more smoky flavor, but the garlic flavor was prominent. A deep crust enveloped the brisket, yet only a meager smoke line laid underneath. The smokiness permeated the meat, but any slices heavy on crust made it evident that the meat had been over salted. The brisket moisture varied by the cut. The flat was a bit dry, while the well rendered fat in the point created a perfect level of moisture. If I were a BBQ joint, I'd give myself...

Rating ****


Michael H said...

Sounds like a good 4th...

I have to agree on VonGeertsem Butcher Shoppe. He is great butcher and is always very helpful.

Also, curious at what temp the ribs were cooked. I usually have to do mine for much longer at 250 to get them tender.

BBQ Snob said...

These were somewhat thin St. Louis ribs rather than thicker, fattier spare ribs, so they can be cooked at higher heat (280-300), and still end up tender. Also, they were on the smoker for only 2-1/2 hours, but they rested in a cooler wrapped in foil afterwards, so they were essentially cooking for three full hours.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.