The Cold, Hard Football Facts crew got together recently, as we so often do in the autumn, for day of backyard smokin' and eatin' and drinkin'.
Rob Buttomer, a charter member of the 225 Club
, took care of the brisket all day, smoking it with maple and apple wood (generally speaking, you smoke with whatever hardwood you have available in your part off the country).
But to lend a little authentic Texas beef brisket flavor, he used plenty of mesquite chips, while 225 Clubber George Douglas whipped up some Fort Worth-style brisket sauce that he had adapted from the book "Barbecue America" by Rick Brown and Jack Bettridge.
They suggest serving it hot, but we found the sauce tastes better, and takes on a better consistency, when it's served at room temperature. So after the sauce is done, let it settle and cool, and pour it over your smoky brisket. It's a kick-ass combination, with just enough heat for most palates and some thick sweetness that goes great with the smoky beef.
Fort Worth-style Texas Brisket Finishing Sauce
- 3/4 lb. beef fat, preferably cut from a smoked brisket
- 2 cups Heinz Ketchup
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5 limes)
- 1/2 cup bourbon (set aside a half-cup for the chef, too ... it's a tradition)
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 onion, finely chop
- 1 Tablespoon smoked or hot Hungarian paprika (smoked is better)
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
Chop fat into large chunks and render it in a cast iron skillet
over medium heat until there is about 1 cup of fat in the pan. Discard unmelted fat and any unwanted fiber that is left over in the melted fat. Add all remaining ingredients, stir well, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour. Stir frequently to keep from burning. Cool down until nicely congealed and serve in gravy boats. Pour over smoked brisket (or other beef). Unused sauce can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks.