By Roadhouse Head Chef, Bob Bennett
Here at the Roadhouse, BBQ is a big thing. We have ventured all over the map to learn about it, hitting as many of the hot spots as we could. The Carolinas and their whole hog BBQ, mutton BBQ from Kentucky, Alabama white BBQ, NOLA BBQ shrimp– these are just a few of the regions we have explored. There has been one, however, that we had never approached–Texas.
Until now. About a year ago, I started down a road of learning about Texas BBQ that led to brisket. My first stop on that road was the restaurant Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas. The chef, Aaron Franklin, has a cookbook called Franklin BBQ: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto. For those of you who haven’t checked out this book, I would highly recommend it. It is awesome! There are 4-5 recipes that are well-detailed, and the book also captures priceless concepts he invests into his brisket BBQ. After reading this book a couple of times, along with really great articles from Texas Monthly, I came to the conclusion that we can indeed do Texas brisket BBQ!
It just came together from there. The timing was perfect, as we had just started receiving our Tellicherry black pepper from Kerala, India via Épice de Cru. Tellicherry pepper is like a fine wine in the spice world, offering superior flavor. Also, we had just started getting in brisket from Matt Romine at Farm, Field, Table in Ferndale, MI. Romine and his team source only from small, local farms where the animals are treated humanely and there is a high level of commitment to quality.
The cooking of brisket BBQ is a test of patience, but for those who see it through, the results are worth it. We start by trimming the meat of any crevices or odd spots that would overcook or not receive the right amount of smoke, resulting in a very smooth, aerodynamic piece of meat. We rub it with black pepper and salt, giving it a nice, thick coating. It is then pit-smoked over oak for about 18-20 hours, until the meat is nice and tender. The last step, and perhaps the most important, is the slicing. A great piece of meat can be wasted with improper slicing. Making sure each piece is cut across the grain to the right thickness is key.
The results are so good. The meat that hits the table is moist, smokey, and literally melts in your mouth. The salt and pepper finish really carries you to that next bite. It has quickly become a obsession that I am super excited to share with everyone on our menu at the Roadhouse.
Tellicherry Black Pepper Brisket Recipe:
Serves 6-8 people
3lb brisket, whole
8oz Tellicherry cracked black pepper
4oz kosher salt
- Clean brisket of silver skin and any fat except for a ¼ inch fat ring around the brisket.
- Moisten brisket evenly with water.
- Mix salt and pepper together.
- Liberally coat brisket with salt and pepper mix.
- Smoke on grill or pit-smoker at about 200 degrees with off-center heat for 12 hours (about 4 hours per lb of meat).
- Let the meat rest, then slice it in ¼ inch slices against the grain before serving.