Saturday, January 21, 2012

Party Preparations

My husband, Norm, traveled to Glacier Bay Nation Park in Alaska last year on a guided river kayak trip and had such a wonderful time, that he decided to go again and take me, about twenty or so of our river friends, and our two nephews, Aaron and Joseph.  Individuals can only camp for six days at a time in the campground, so folks will be coming and going on kayak trips into the East and West arms of the bay, or like myself, staying for a few days in the National Park Lodge or at several really nice bed and breakfast inns. 

In order to plan this very complicated schedule and make sure we don't overwhelm the national park staff with our New Mexico presence we had everyone for dinner on Friday.  Preparations for this event included cooking sixteen pounds of brisket, borrowing Chinese New Year decorations from friends, Vicki (a wonderful artist who purchased lots of Chinese art while there, and hopefully will let me share both her own work and some of those pieces with you in a later blog) and Peter who just returned from a three year assignment in China with Intel, arranging some flowers, and (gasp!) cleaning the house.

By request, here is my brisket recipe or rather photos of how to prepare a brisket for cooking.
Purchase about 1/3 lb of center cut brisket for each person you want to serve.  
Using a very sharp boning knife, trim off almost all of the visible fat. There will be enough fat that you cannot see to flavor and keep the brisket moist.
This is the fat I trimmed from 16 pounds of brisket..about 2 lbs.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup water & 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke over each pan of brisket.
Cover tightly with foil.  
 Several years ago, when we were building our house, we needed large sheets of foil (I have forgotten why) and I purchase this box from Costco.  If you have room to store it, what a gift it is to never run out of foil!

Bake in a 225 degree oven for 8 hours. 

  This can be a challenge in an off-the-grid house.  We need to plan ahead and choose a very sunny day for using the oven for this length of time so we don't deplete the batteries. 

Now when the briskets have cooled a bit, pour the juice into a glass jar and refrigerate to let the fat come to the surface and harden.

Not much fat because of all that trimming.   

Slice the meat across the grain and return to one of the pans.

 At this point, you have to wait for the fat to harden, so you would refrigerate the meat.  Or if you did not plan ahead and need to serve immediately, you can skip refrigerating the juice and carefully remove the fat from the top of the juice with a ladle.  Once the fat is gone (from the juice and your future waistline!) add a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce to the juice, stir to combine, pour over the meat and reheat in a 350 degree oven.

Brisket on the buffet.
Not a wonderful shot of the brisket, but in the press of the party, I forgot to take a designated picture of it.

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