The Muddy Chef Challenge in the new issue of Land Rover Owner International. Sam Watson covers the event in his column – THE OVERLANDER (click image to enlarge)
If you are looking for cooking ideas for your entry in The Muddy Chef Challenge, swing on over to the Yeti Coolers website. Yeti BBQ ambassadors Justin and Diane Fourton know something about Brisket. Check out their recipe here. From the Yeti Cooler website.
Pecan Lodge was recently ranked one of the top four BBQ joints in the world. Founders Justin and Diane Fourton have perfected smoking a brisket and have decided to share their secrets with the world. Try their tips this holiday weekend and reap the rewards of a mouthwatering, Texas – style brisket.
Step 1– Create your rub Basic Rub 1 cup Kosher Salt 2 cups Course Black Pepper Modified RubStart with the basic rub of 2 parts coarse ground pepper to 1 part kosher salt. Add any combination of the following ingredients to give the rub your own twist. Start by adding the spices in 1 tablespoon increments (tasting as you go), until you get a flavor profile that you like. Garlic Powder Paprika Onion Powder Ground Mustard
Step 2: Trim the brisket With the fat cap facing up, use a sharp knife to carefully trim the fat down to about 1/4 inch. Leaving a little fat on the brisket will help the meat retain its moisture while cooking, and is necessary for developing a distinctive bark/crust on the outside of the brisket.
Step 3: Season Brisket Flip the brisket over so that the fat side is down, resting on your counter. Season the top of the brisket with a heavy layer of rub, using about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rub. Pat it into the brisket so it sticks and then flip the meat over, seasoning the other side (now the fat side is facing up), with another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rub. Place brisket in refrigerator.
Step 4: Prepare your smoker and start cooking While the meat is resting in the refrigerator, light the fire in your pit and let it develop a good base of coals before putting the meat on. Add a couple pieces of wood and set the dampers on your pit so that it is maintaining an even cooking temperature of between 225 and 250 degrees. Once the fire is stabilized, place the brisket on the pit (fat side up) with the point (the thickest part of the brisket) on the part of the pit that is closest to the firebox. Maintain a consistent cooking temperature during the cook, plan on it taking about 1-1.5 hours per pound. You will need a good instant read digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat during the cooking process. Typically you won’t need to check the temperature of the meat until it’s been on the pit for at least 5-6 hours, when doing so, check the temp in both the lean (flat) and fatty (point) of the brisket to gauge how far along the brisket is in its cooking cycle. The internal temperature of the brisket will rise at a regular rate until reaches about 160 degrees, at which point it will appear to “stall” and may remain around 160 – 175 degrees for several hours. It will typically enter this range after having been on the pit for about 4-5 hours and may stay within this range for another 3 hours, before exiting this stalling period. After which the internal temperature will again start to rise steadily until it reaches approximately 190-195 degrees. At this point, the brisket can be removed from the pit. Wrap it in foil or butcher paper and place it in your YETI (fat side up)…it will hold safely in the cooler for several hours until you’re ready to serve. After removing the brisket from the cooler, drain any drippings from that have accumulated in the foil and whisk them into your favorite bbq sauce. Put the sauce in a pan and bring to a boil on the stove, then remove from the heat.
Step 5: Slicing Place brisket on a large cutting board, with the fat side up. Start slicing from the flat (the thinnest part of the brisket). When you have sliced about 1/2 through the brisket , rotate it 180 degrees and continuing slicing until complete.
Photography from Robert Lerma
It’s not easy work, but they love what they’re doing. And there are no shortcuts to doing it right. Their BBQ pits burn 24 hours a day, fueled by nothing but wood and passion. If it can be made from scratch, they do it that way- from grinding and stuffing their own sausage to making the custard for Aunt Polly’s banana pudding.
I’ve been writing on wines and spirits for over 15 years, and living in Vermont for even longer, but the two have never had much in common – until now.
Unlike vodkas made from Maple syrup or even lactose (really), WhistlePig, which is bottled on a farm in rural Shoreham, Vermont, is not just another marketing gimmick – according to many critics it is the best rye whiskey in the world.
As I reported recently with the launch of a high-end rye from boutique bourbon maker Knob Creek, super-premium rye is the hot new spirits category. America’s favorite before Prohibition, rye is again all the rage among bartenders heralding a return of classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned. But WhistlePig is almost too good for this, and can be appreciated on its own.
Introduced in mid-2010 and made in very limited quantity (1000 cases), the story behind WhistlePig is unique. Industry legend Dave Pickerell, the longtime Master Distiller for the renowned Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery in Kentucky, decided to devote himself to a quest for the best rye possible, the next evolution of boutique bourbons. He wandered the earth trying rye whiskies, until he found what he considered its finest expression in the form of a new Canadian version, made from nothing but rye grain (law requires the majority of starch to be rye in order to be labeled rye whiskey, just as it requires 51% corn for bourbon, but pure ryes are rare).
For various reasons, including the fact that rye grain is considerably more expensive than corn, but also because a straight rye distillation is very tough on equipment, gumming it up with sticky residue, few distillers have bothered with pure rye whiskey. But the Canadians solved the sticky problem with two solutions, using malted rye and by developing a special strain of yeast-like fungus for distillation (for much more detail on this issue, check out this article from a great site devoted entirely to Canadian whiskies).
So Pickerell teamed up with WhistlePig founder Raj Bhakta, a former contestant on The Apprentice, who purchased a two century old working farm in Shoreham and renamed it WhistlePig Farm and began growing his own rye. Bhakta purchased the incredible Canadian rye whiskey, still in bulk storage, brought it back to Vermont, hand bottled it, and it blew critics away with rave reviews. At the same time, Bhakta and Pickerell, now Master Distiller for WhistlePig, have set up their own distillery on the farm and are working towards producing their rye from start to finish going forward.
But where it is made is not nearly as important as how it tastes.
Pickerell fell in love with the stuff because of its strength, purity (100% rye grain) and maturity – he calls the combination of proof and purity 100/100 and along with 10 years of aging in new American oak barrels, claims it hits “the sweet spot” in all three categories. I think he is right, and the balance between the higher than usual strength, higher than usual purity, and lengthy aging is perfect. It certainly does not taste like 100 proof, or half alcohol, because the woodiness for the aging perfectly balances the strength. It’s got just a hint of herby spice, maybe a little mint or cinnamon, but nowhere as much as many whiskies and less spicy zing than most ryes. Rather it j tastes of grain, its essential component, in a good, earthy, bread-like way, with the caramel-rich mouth feel of well-aged whiskies. I hesitate to call it straightforward, because that makes it sound simple, but its straightforward – it tastes like rye.
I’m not the only one who likes it. When the first batch was just released in mid-2010, it immediately earned a whopping 96-point rating from Wine Enthusiast – the highest rating the prestigious magazine has ever given to a rye. The Tasting Panel magazine gave it 94, and F. Paul Pacult’s acclaimed Spirit Journal gave it the highest possible 5-star rating. Details magazine simply called it “America’s Best New Whiskey,” while the Wall Street Journal named it one of the top five whiskies of the year. There was no shortage of other accolades.
And the odd name? Well to really appreciate that, you have to listen to the funny story in first person audio from Bhakta on WhistlePig’s website, but hey, it’s as good as lots of names, and to go with it, they created a suitable logo which reminds me of the Monopoly board game guy crossed with a pig. If I’m going to buy a $70 bottle of rye from anyone, it’s as likely as not to be a cartoon high-roller pig with a top hat and cigar.
But seriously, as whiskey lovers continue to enthusiastically embrace WhistlePig, there is likely to be a lag between the sellout of the limited first batch and future production, so hesitation might not be the best strategy.
This is no diamond-in-the-rough. It’s not an “oldie but goodie” like Bowman’s well-storied Ram. This ravaged third-gen 4Runner a mean-muggin’ non-fucking-giving beater, and now we have the arduous task of taking care of it. Or, you know, destroying it.
Last night this lifted, bent, ratty Toyota 4Runner appeared at my doorstep like an abandoned baby in a basket. It smells faintly of Mexican food and everything aft of the front seats seem to have been converted to a sleeping/storage area.
At least somebody did put the wheel back where it’s meant to go, here’s the 4Runner as it sits at Truck Yeah HQ right now:
The whole thing is this cool militaryish green/grey with a Rhinoliner’d hood (why?). The front grille is definitely not straight and neither is the (aftermarket?) trailer-hitch rig. But really, all it needs is a light bar and maybe some funky Plasti-Dip on those wheels. Next stop Wal-Mart, baby.
Okay the real story is the owner (a former colleague) lit off to San Francisco and didn’t feel like paying for parking, I think, so he bequeathed it to Truck Yeah!/Jalopnik for an undefined period of time “as long as we promised to document its destruction.”
I dunno, the whole arrangement’s pretty vague but I’m basically running a rusty orphanage up here and I just couldn’t turn those sweet three-spoke wheels away.
After a brief assessment and lap around the driveway, I’ve concluded it may be too nice to simply suicide… sounds okay, tires are great, and the 3″(?) lift looks professionally executed.
So what are we going to do with this hog? Chase polar bears up Canada way? Mud racin’? Make it my new guest bedroom? Should be a good rig to teach my fellow NY-based bloggers how to off-road this summer… at the very least.
Your turn: Ideas. Go.
For the first time ever. Lime Rock Park is allowing guests to bring their pets. Obliviously the usual common sense rules apply. Vanilla and Brady – my two English Chocolate Labs are howling in delight!