Ryan Just is my guest blogger today – my FIRST OFFICIAL GUEST BLOGGER!  So kudos to Ryan!  Oh yeah, did I mention he’s also my brother-in-law?  He is.  He also smokes a mean brisket.  Thanks, Ryan, for sharing your story with us!

January 2010

Winters, bored, and after getting a new Weber kettle grill for my 34th Birthday… I decide to cook a full sized smoked brisket. After watching five times the Steven Raichlen’s Primal Grill TV episode on my DVR on how to smoke a Texas Brisket, downloading the “Beef Brisket with coffee rub and red-eye barbecue sauce” recipe from www.primalgrill.com, and reading through “The Barbecue Bible” – Steven Raichlen… I feel I am now prepared to take on this adventure. I think to myself… beef, coffee infused mop sauce, and natural wood smoke … how life can get any better. I understand the cooking time for the brisket should be about 5 hours…so no worries!

Two Days Before – I buy all ingredients in a pouring down 40 degree rain storm while caring for my daughter who has a bad cold. Mop? Oh no! I forgot to buy a BBQ mop to baste the brisket as it cooks. So, 10:30 PM I leave for Wal-Mart to buy a mop. Now it is raining hard, wind blowing, and slightly starting to ice over. Wee Hoo! I found a mop and it is on clearance for only 2 dollars. Too bad I had to search through the entire outdoor yard & garden department. Now I’m wet and cold. Oh well, I have everything I need and look…I’m being proactive and planning this all out.

One Day Before – I prepare all ingredients, slightly trim the 11 pound brisket, make the rub, rub the rub, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Huh, I just noticed in the in fine print on the recipe it says “Whole size brisket will need 12 to 14 hours smoking”. Oops, I was not planning on this being a full day affair…oh well. To prep, I decide I will use Pecan wood for the smoke from the large Pecan tree from the backyard at the home I grew up. This was a practical and nostalgic idea until I get a piece of wood stuck on the blade of my brand new Ridged Miter saw. Thinking to myself that this is not a very good idea and remembering all the past Darwin Award stories, I get my hammer and hack saw to loosen the stuck board from the saw blade. Sawing the board off the blade doesn’t work so I decide to hit it with my metal hammer. Wack! I miss the board and hit the side of my left index finger. Huh, it doesn’t hurt that bad. Wait, why is there a big piece of skin hanging off my finger and then blood starting to ooze? Luckily, I missed bone but cut off a dime sized top layer of skin. So, I go inside and get my wife (a Physician Assistant) to look at it. We run my finger under cool water as swells up nearly twice the size. She says she could take me to her office and sew it up, but she said she would only be sewing on the top layer of skin. She says it will fall off eventually after getting hard and crusty. We decide 4 Advil, ice, elevation first aid cream, and a band aid will be my treatment. Oops, I forgot to assemble my grill as it is still in the box. So with ailing finger, I follow the “picture only assembly guide” with no written instructions, break one part, use a spare part (how lucky am I to get an extra spare in the box), hammer on the wheels (as instructed), and Walla! – The grill is ready. Hmm, I wonder if this grill is big enough for my brisket. No worries, I’ll just trim off any burned sections. Oh well, I get another new band aid for my now bleeding and aching finger and hope for the best. Go to bed at 11:00 PM and think that I should have bought pre-cut Hickory wood at Home Depot for 5 bucks instead of this stupid pecan stuff. My wife comes to bed and leans over to give me a consoling hug; however I didn’t know she was going to give me a hug. I reach up to pull the covers up and end up with my elbow in my wife’s eye. I run and get ice for my wife’s eye and 20 minutes later…her eye stops watering and she hands the ice for me to put on my hurt finger. At least now I have authentic cut up Texas pecan wood from the tree I shot sparrows from with a BB gun when I was 10 years old. I think the sparrows and steer have had their revenge on me today. Man, this brisket better be good tomorrow.

Please tune in tomorrow for the rest of Ryan’s story!