Grilled Steak Kabob Skewers (with marinade)

Grilled Steak Kabob Skewers on the grill
A summertime classic that can be enjoyed year round!

This post is sponsored by Kingsford but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Grilled steak kabob skewers are a classic summertime dish, but are good to be eaten any time of the year. Combining chunks of marinated steak and vegetables helps you and your guests get a balanced meal on one skewer. Let’s dive into the quick process of cooking these up (along with the marinade recipe)!

Which Type of Steak Should I Use?

To be honest, whichever cut of beef you enjoy the most should be used for your grilled steak kabob skewers. For this recipe, I’m using tri-tip, which comes from the bottom sirloin of the cow and has tremendous flavor (click here if you want to learn more about tri-tip).

Slice up the steak into 1-2 inch cubes. The size of the cubes will depend on two things: 1) the amount of steak you have and 2) the number of people you will be cooking for. Since tri-tip roasts usually weigh around two pounds each, I cut mine into 2-inch cubes for my family. Then I put the cubed up steak into a gallon-sized storage bag and begin to make the marinade.

Marinating the Steak

Marinating the beef will enhance the flavor and make for a better kabob experience. For these kabobs, I created a marinade consisting of half cup teriyaki sauce, one-fourth cup Worcestershire sauce, three cloves of minced garlic, and a half teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and pour the freshly made marinade into the same gallon-sized storage bag the steak is in. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to 24 hours. When ready, remove steak from marinade and put on skewers. Speaking of…

Prepping and Grilling the Steak Kabob Skewers

Before prepping the grilled steak kabob skewers, get the grill ready. Fire up a batch of Kingsford Charcoal in a charcoal chimney starter. You’ll want to get the coals to where they are mostly grey in color before cooking on them. The ideal temp for your grill will be 400 degrees.

Getting them Kingsford coals hot and ready for the grill.

As you wait for the coals to heat up, prep the skewers by rinsing and slicing up the vegetables. For this recipe, I’m using mushrooms, red onion, and sweet mini peppers. If you don’t have access to sweet mini peppers, bell peppers will work fine. Regarding the skewers themselves, if using wood skewers then soak them in water for 30-60 minutes before using. If metal skewers, be sanitary and wash them.

Organize the steak and veggies on each skewer in a way to make sure you have enough of each ingredient on them for your family and/or guests. I recommend using two skewers per kabob to prevent the steak and veggies from spinning around when you flip them over. That way, you aren’t trying to spin certain pieces to the right side over a very hot grill. By the time you are done organizing the kabobs, place them on the grill over the heated Kingsford coals. Cook for four minutes on both sides or until desired level of doneness.

Kabobs ready to eat! How many are you taking down?

You can either eat your grilled steak kabob skewers right on the skewer itself or slide the steak and veggies off onto a plate. Enhance the experience by putting a little seasoned salt. Check out more awesome recipes from Kingsford by clicking here!

The Recipe!

Yield: 8 skewers

Grilled Steak Kabob Skewers (with marinade)

Grilled Steak Kabob Skewers ready to eat

Grilled steak kabob skewers can be enjoyed year-round and are a good way to ensure you get a balance of meat and veggies. The garlic teriyaki steak marinade in this recipe enhances the flavor!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds steak, cubed
  • 1/2 Cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 8 sweet mini peppers
  • 16 mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup red onion
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. For Marinade: combine teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in medium-sized bowl. Mix and pour into gallon-sized storage bag.
  2. Cube up steak into 1-2 inch pieces. Place cubes of steak into marinade and place in refrigerator for a minimum of one hour.
  3. Preheat grill to 400 degrees using direct heat. Prepare vegetables by rinsing mushrooms and sweet mini peppers. Slice red onion layers into 1-inch squares. Place steak and vegetables on pre-soaked wood skewers (or washed metal skewers).
  4. Place steak kabob skewers on grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on both sides. Remove and enjoy!

Notes

1. Steak can marinade for a minimum of one hour or up to 24 hours.

2. It is recommended to have extra of the vegetable ingredients in case some break when being poked with the skewers.

3. Use your favorite cut of steak for these.

4. Steak will have great flavor as it, but apply seasoned salt for veggies (and steak if you prefer).

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8 kabobs

Serving Size:

1 kabob

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

BACON WRAPPED JALAPENO POPPER BURGER

Bacon wrapped jalapeno popper burger is a delicacy for the tastebuds.

The bacon wrapped jalapeno popper burger is a perfect blend of appetizer and main dish. A burger topped with bacon, three types of cheeses, roasted jalapeno, all packed within a toasted brioche bun? Does it get much better? You be the judge.

For starters…

Let’s reference the bacon wrapped jalapeno popper recipe from a previous post. To make these, you’ll need jalapenos, cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, chili lime seasoning, and bacon. Before you start prepping the jalapeno poppers, preheat your grill to 375 degrees with hickory wood over indirect heat. Now that you’ve done this, grab a cutting board, sharp knife, spoon, and the jalapenos. Cut the stem off the tops of the jalapenos. Next, slice them in half longways and use the spoon to scoop out the insides (seeds, rib, placenta).

In a medium sized bowl, mix a pack of softened cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese together. Note: if you want to add a little heat to the poppers, mix in some shredded pepper jack cheese. Even hotter? Leave some of the jalapeno seeds in. Take the spoon and scoop the cheeses into the sliced jalapenos. Sprinkle the chili lime seasoning on top. Now grab the strips of bacon and wrap one strip around one jalapeno popper. To keep the bacon from unraveling during the cook, I suggest wrapping the bacon a little tighter. Tucking in the ends of the bacon strips will help. Once this is done, sprinkle a little more chili lime seasoning on top.

Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers finished and ready to eat.
Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers are easy to make and a bit hit at parties!

Now that the grill is up to 375 degrees (remember, indrect heat), place the poppers on a baking sheet or cooling rack and cook for 30 minutes or until the bacon reaches your desired crispiness.

Where’s the Beef?

Since the jalapeno poppers will take a half an hour to cook, now is the time to get the burgers prepped. Using a pound of 80/20 ground beef, mix in a bowl with Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Make 1/3 pound burgers, so divide the one pound of ground beef into thirds (math is power, y’all).

Grilling burgers over an open flame is my jam.

On a separate grill, use direct heat to cook your burgers. Flip once during the cook, twice if you need. When nearing the finish, place a slice of pepper jack cheese on the burgers. Remove when cheese is melted.

Buns are the X-factor

Don’t underestimate the clout the hamburger bun brings to this bacon wrapped jalapeno popper burger, or any burger for that matter. I prefer brioche buns because they provide a little more dense flavor that only enhances the burger eating experience. With this said, toast the buns face down. Toast them to your liking, but I recommend getting them golden brown before removing from the grill.

Bringing it All Together

Now that everything is done cooking, put it together! Put the beef patty on first, then the jalapeno poppers. You can fit either two or three on top. Since I like a little sauce, I like to mix ketchup, mayo, and hot sauce together and use as a spread on the bottom half of the bun.

A simple mixture of ketchup, mayo, and hot sauce makes for a tasty burger topping with a little kick.

Make sure to snap a picture of your freakin’ amazing bacon wrapped jalapeno popper burger because it won’t last long!

The Recipe!

Yield: 3 burgers

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Burger

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Burger

Cheeseburgers are good, but cheeseburgers with bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers on top are better.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 5 jalapenos, sliced long ways
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chili lime seasoning
  • 9 strips bacon
  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20 preferrred)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 3 brioche buns

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to 375 degrees over indirect heat. Cut jalapenos in half, slicing long ways. Take spoon to scoop out seeds. In separate bowl, combine cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Place mix into each jalapeno half. Wrap filled jalapeno halves with one strip of bacon each. Apply chili lime seasoning on top when done.
  2. Place bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers on cooling rack or baking sheet and place in grill for 30 minutes or until bacon is to desired crispiness. Remove when done.
  3. While poppers are cooking, combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder in medium-sized bowl. Mix ingredients together with hands. Form into 1/3 lb. patties.
  4. On separate grill, place hamburger patties on grill over direct heat. Flip once or twice until done. When almost done, place slices of pepper jack cheese on burgers. Remove burgers from grill when cheese is melted.
  5. Toast brioche buns on grill until golden brown. Put burger patty on bottom part of the bun, then place bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers on top. Put top bun on and eat up!

Notes

1. To make optional sauce, combine 1/4 Cup mayo, 1/8 Cup ketchup, 1 tsp hot sauce in small bowl. Mix until blended.

2. To make this burger spicier, keep some jalapeno seeds in the poppers. Also, put shredded pepper jack cheese in them.

3. It is recommend to prep and cook the burgers while the poppers are on the grill to optimize time.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

3 burgers

Serving Size:

1/3 lb burger

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 750Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1560mgCarbohydrates: 39gSugar: 3gProtein: 40g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

OMAHA CUT RIBEYE STEAK

The Omaha Cut ribeye steak comes from the center of the ribeye, is thicker cut, and tastes incredible!
The Omaha Cut ribeye steak comes from the center of the ribeye, is thicker cut, and tastes incredible!

This post is sponsored by Omaha Steaks and contains affiliate links. The FCC makes me say this for some reason.

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are very high that you’ve had a ribeye steak before. You’ve probably come here because you’re curious of what an Omaha Cut ribeye steak is compared to a regular ribeye. And there’s a chance you’re wanting to learn of different methods on how to cook a ribeye steak (and/or steaks in general). I’ll tackle these topics and get you to the recipe as quick as I can type.

What is an Omaha Cut Ribeye anyway?

A breakdown of the three different parts of the ribeye steak.

Plain and simple, the Omaha Cut comes from the center of the ribeye. Your average ribeye is made up of three parts: the spinalis dorsi (aka- ribeye cap), longissimus dorsi (center area, makes up the majority of the cut), and the complexus. The Omaha Cut ribeye comes from the longissimus dorsi area. The folks at Omaha Steaks, cut it round and thicker, similar in size to a top of the line filet mignon. But it tastes and bites just like a ribeye, which has a unique, extraordinary flavor!

My favorite way to cook a steak

If you’ve read the other steak posts on my blog, such as the one where I cook up tomahawk ribeyes, you’ll notice that I like to reverse sear in a cast iron skillet. The reverse sear method is when you slow cook the steak first, then finish it off with a hot sear.

Season the Omaha Cut ribeyes with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
Season the Omaha Cut ribeyes with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.

Steak Prep

When prepping the Omaha Cut ribeye steaks, keep the seasonings simple: four parts kosher salt, two parts ground black pepper, and one part garlic powder. I go light-to-moderate with the amount I put on the steaks. That’s because I want the natural flavor of the beef to stand out. Get the grill preheated to 225 degrees over indirect heat with either hickory or pecan wood. Once up to temperature, put the seasoned steaks on and cook until about 120 degrees internal temp.

Sear the Omaha Cut ribeye steaks in the cast iron skillet to get an even crust all around.
Sear the Omaha Cut ribeye steaks in the cast iron skillet to get an even crust all around.

Searing time!

Remove the steaks to rest on a cutting board. Get direct heat on a cast iron skillet to searing temps, which start at 500 degrees. Season the cast iron with avocado oil because it has a higher burn rate than most cooking oils. I like to throw a sprig or two of rosemary and a couple of cloves of garlic in there to impart a little aroma and flavor to it. Place the ribeye steaks on the cast iron and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. Since the Omaha Cut is thick, give a few seconds to searing the sides, too.

Rest then slice

Remove the steak and let it rest before slicing. It is wise to rest the steak for about 10 minutes because A) the carry over heat will cook the steak a few degrees internally and B) the meat builds up juices as it starts to cool and will give you more flavor in the meat. Slice up and savor every juicy bite!

The recipe!

Yield: 1 serving

Omaha Cut Ribeye Steak

Omaha Cut ribeye steak sliced and ready to eat!

The Omaha Cut ribeye steak is a unique cut to Omaha Steaks. It comes from the center cut of the ribeye and is done thicker than usual. These steaks have a look of a filet mignon and that recognizable flavor the ribeye provides. Reverse sear, rest, and enjoy!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Omaha Cut ribeye steaks (6 oz each)
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to 225 degrees on indirect heat, using hickory or pecan wood. In a small bowl, mix kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle on all sides of the steaks. Place steaks on grill until internal heat reaches 120 degrees.
  2. On a separate grill (or burner), get cast iron up to searing temps. Put avocado oil in skillet, along with rosemary and garlic cloves. Sear 60-90 seconds on each side. Remove and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

1. Substitute garlic butter for regular butter if you want that extra garlic flavor.

2. If you don't have a grill or smoker, feel free to low cook in oven and then sear on the stove.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4 steaks

Serving Size:

6 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

HOW TO COOK A TOMAHAWK RIBEYE STEAK

Tomahawk ribeye steaks are large in size but easy to grill up!

Note: this post is done in collaboration with Omaha Steaks.

Tomahawk ribeye steaks have been gaining in popularity due to their visual appeal and size. You see them on social media and they make your eyes pop out and your jaw drop like on those old cartoons. It also helps that more butchers are carrying them now. But have you cooked a tomahawk ribeye steak before? Do you want some guidance? Then you’ve come to the right place.

THE DIFFERENCE OF A TOMAHAWK RIBEYE STEAK

At first glance, the tomahawk ribeye steak has a demanding presence due to its size. The thickness of the steak is roughly two inches and has a rib bone sticking out that makes the entire cut about 20 inches long!

Ribeye chart courtesy of omahasteaks.com

The tomahawk has the same components of a standard ribeye steak: the longissimus dorsi (center or actual rib eye), complexus, and my favorite part, the spinalis (aka-ribeye cap). The main differences are, as stated above, the thickness of the steak and the bone protruding out. It won’t taste any different than a normal ribeye, unless it has different marbling, been dry-aged, etc. So really, you’re getting a tomahawk ribeye steak for aesthetics and a bigger appetite (or splitting the steak with others).

PREPARING THIS BIG ‘OL STEAK

Prepping the steak is as easy as kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Having a bigger, more expensive cut of steak doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get fancy with the ingredients. The ribeye steak packs a lot of natural flavor and doesn’t need much help from a pile of spices. I like to put a light-to-medium coating of kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder over all the meat section of the tomahawk (no need to season the bone). However, I do like to add a few more ingredients when it comes time to sear. More on that later.

THE REVERSE SEAR METHOD

I’m a firm believer in the reverse sear method. You know how some folks immediately sear the steak for a few minutes and then put it in the oven to cook internally until done? Well, reverse sear is the opposite of that. Slow cook first, sear last. With the slow cook, I love to smoke the meat to infuse that smoke flavor into it. I prefer using either hickory, oak, or pecan wood. I smoke it at 225 degrees until internal temp reaches around 125-130 degrees. To measure internal temps, I love using the Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks. Gets me fast, accurate results every time! Then I remove the steak and get the grill hot enough for searing.

A true searing temp begins around 550 degrees. Searing helps develop a tasty crust to the steak which adds another element to the flavor. You can sear directly on the grates of the grill, in a cast iron skillet, or even put the steak directly on the hot coals (aka- caveman style!). I prefer the cast iron skillet because the surface of the meat gets a more even crust cooked into it that way.

Do you want to know a secret to cooking a tomahawk ribeye steak in a cast iron skillet? Turn the skillet upside down! If not, the long bone on the tomahawk will keep the whole surface of the meat from touching the surface inside the skillet. But turning the cast iron skillet upside down gives you a flat surface to cook on and the bone won’t interrupt the sear. I recommend searing with avocado oil (good for high temp cooking), a clove of garlic, and a sprig of rosemary. Sear for 1-2 minutes on each side before removing.

RESTING, SLICING THE TOMAHAWK

Resting the tomahawks for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Once your tomahawk ribeye steak has reached the desired internal temp, place it on a large cutting board to rest. At this point is the ideal time to place a tablespoon of butter on top and let the butter melt into the steak during the rest. I like to use garlic herb butter from Chef Shamy because it has garlic, herbs, and a bit of Parmesan cheese in it. As the ribeye steak is resting, it will likely experience carry over temp increase of a few degrees. That’s because the meat has been exposed to really hot temps and while the external is cooling off, the internal is still holding in that heat. Remember that meat is muscle and as it relaxes, it’s like sweating. Except that it’s sweating those savory meat juices. Let rest about 15-20 minutes before slicing for optimal flavor.

Ready to feast on this?

TOMAHAWK RIBEYE STEAK RECIPE

Tomahawk Ribeye Steak (Reverse Sear)

Tomahawk Ribeye Steak (Reverse Sear)

Tomahawk ribeye steaks have grown in popularity and availability in meat departments, but can also get pricey. Want to make sure you get the results you deserve from cooking it? With a few simple ingredients and the reverse sear method, you will look like a grilling expert and serve up some of the best tasting steak you'll ever have!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tomahawk ribeye steak (about 48 oz.)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Instructions

1. Preheat grill to 225 degrees on indirect heat with hickory wood. Mix kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder together then sprinkle evenly on tomahawk ribeye steak

2. Place tomahawk ribeye steak on grill for 90 minutes or until internal temp reaches 125-130 degrees. Remove and sear on high heat on the back of a cast iron skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side. Put avocado oil, garlic clove, and rosemary on skillet before searing steak. Remove steak from grill and place on a large cutting board.

3. Place butter on top of tomahawk ribeye steak and let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Notes

1. Cast iron skillet turned upside down on the grill keeps the elongated bone from the tomahawk ribeye steak from pulling up on part of the steak and ensures the entire surface of the meat gets seared.

2. Feel free to substitute hickory wood for oak or pecan.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

6 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 460Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 42g

Nutrition information isn't always accurate.

Porterhouse vs T-Bone Steaks

Is this a porterhouse or t-bone? After reading this article, you’ll know for sure!

Note: this post is sponsored by Omaha Steaks.

Do you ever dream of a world in which one steak is actually two steaks? Or have you found yourself wanting a more tender cut of beef AND one that is a little more firm? Well that dream has come true (been a reality for about 200 years now, actually) with both the porterhouse steak and t-bone steak! Both of these cuts have the the tenderloin filet and the New York strip, but what makes the porterhouse and t-bone different? Let’s dive into the details!

Where do these steaks come from?

Porterhouse and T-bone steaks come from the short loin of the cow.

Both the porterhouse and the t-bone steaks come from the same section of the cow: the short loin. As seen in the diagram above, the short loin comes from towards the back of the cow, just past the ribs. This section has the internal abdomen of the cow. The tenderloin runs through this section, which provides the filet side of these steaks. The other side of the lumbar vertebrae (the t-shaped bone that makes the porterhouse and t-bone) we find the more firm strip steak.

What is the difference?

So if both steaks come from the same section, then aren’t they the same? The short answer is no. While they both come from the short loin (with tenderloin running through), the t-bone comes from the section closer to the front of the cow while the porterhouse comes from further back on the short loin where the tenderloin is bigger. And that, my friends, is what makes the difference between the porterhouse and t-bone: the size of the filet.

According to the USDA, this is a porterhouse because the filet is at least 1.25” wide.

According to the USDA’s standards, the size of the filet on a porterhouse steak has to be at least 1.25 inches wide, measured from the bone in the middle out to the widest part of the filet itself. Meanwhile, the t-bone steak is a filet between 1.25″ and half and inch in width.

How to cook a porterhouse or T-bone steak

A simple salt and pepper based seasoning is perfect for beef.

The tricky thing with the porterhouse and the t-bone is that they have two different cuts of beef on them that ideally cook at different speeds. The filet will finish faster than the strip, so keep in mind when gauging heat levels on your grill. I like doing a pan sear to get an even crust, but that means my filet will be a little more done than my strip but depending on the day, I don’t mind. I’d say the best thing to do to get a more even cook throughout would be to get one side of your grill hotter than the other and cook the strip side on the hotter section, flipping over top to bottom (instead of left to right) so the strip stays on the hotter side.

If you’re looking for medium rare, then finish between 135-145 degrees. Let rest about 10-15 minutes before slicing for maximum flavor to get those juices built up inside. And slice against the grain for a better bite.

Personally, I’m more of a filet guy so I love the porterhouse. But I sure wouldn’t turn down a t-bone! Which do you prefer?

BRAZILIAN GARLIC PICANHA RECIPE

Picanha sliced to serve.
Make Brazilian-style picanha in your own backyard!

If you’ve ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse (aka- churrascaria or rodizio-style), chances are you’ve had picanha. The servers that come by your table will bring this beef on the skewer that is shaped like a “C” and slice it off the front and onto your plate. Picanha is my favorite meat at the restaurant! And with your own rotisserie attachment for your grill (or a long metal skewer that you are willing to manually rotate over an open flame), as well as a few simple ingredients, I will show you how to make this Brazilian delicacy (with additional garlic flavor) in your own backyard!

WHAT TYPE OF MEAT IS PICANHA?

Picanha is made from top sirloin cap (aka coulotte or rump cap) such as this one.

If you live in North America and ask your butcher for meat to make picanha, they may not know what you are talking about. To help you get this cut, tell him/her you want a top sirloin cap, coulotte, or rump cap. This cut of beef will be roughly four pounds. Butchers like to cut this up and sell sirloin steaks, so you may need to convince your butcher to either get a sirloin cap from the back or special order you one for later.

PREPARING THE GARLIC PICANHA

Slice the sirloin cap into thirds and season with kosher salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

Once you have this sirloin cap, take the fat cap on top and score the fat by slicing criss-cross cuts into it. Do you best to not cut into the meat. Take some kosher salt and sprinkle all over the fat cap and meat-exposed sides.

Once that is done, slice the meat into thirds, from the widest side down to the smallest (as seen in the picture above). Apply some more kosher salt to the freshly sliced sides that didn’t get covered earlier. Now apply some black pepper and then some minced garlic, both over all sides of the pieces of meat.

TIME FOR THE SPIN CYCLE

Brazilian picanha ready to cook rotisserie style.
Skewer the sliced Brazilian garlic picanha and cook rotisserie style.

The traditional way to cook picanha is to form the meat into a c-shape form and pierce it onto a big, metal skewer. A rotisserie attachment for your grill is highly recommended, although you could use a large metal skewer to put over the hot coals and rotate ever so often. But seriously, look into getting a rotisserie. The folks at Kamado Joe make a Joetisserie attachement that fits most 18″ ceramic grills.

Picanha cooking up over them coals.
You spin me right round baby, right round… (that song gets stuck in my head every time I use the rotisserie)

Cooking it this way means the meat is basting in its own juices, enhancing the flavor even more. Cook it this way for 20-25 minutes until the meat reaches the desired temp you are looking for. I like to cook my Brazilian garlic picanha to medium rare. Using a digital thermometer, like the Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4, is a fast and accurate way to gauge meat temps.

REST, SLICE, SERVE

Once that is done, put on some heat resistant gloves and place onto a cutting board to rest for a little bit before slicing. I do this to help the meat build up juices and maximize the flavor in every bite. Leave the meat on the skewer for the Brazilian steakhouse effect. Slice the meat by cutting the tops of the cuts of picanha parallel with the skewer. I prefer to cut in thinner slices. After slicing a couple of times, feel free to put the skewer back over the coals for another spin on the rotisserie to cook the fresh surfaces and develop some more crust for future slices (if you’re looking for a side to serve with this, might I suggest some elotes or bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers).

THE VIDEO!

THE RECIPE!

Yield: 20 servings

Brazilian Garlic Picanha Recipe

Brazilian Garlic Picanha Recipe

Brazilian steakhouses (or churrascarias) are known for their sirloin on skewers cooked rotisserie style, known as picanha. Combining this sirloin cap with kosher salt, black pepper, and minced garlic, this recipe will replicate that same flavor in your very own backyard!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 top sirloin cap (about four pounds)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill. Set up rotisserie attachment.
  2. Score the fat on top of the sirloin cap by cutting into the fat (but not the meat) in a criss-cross pattern, with cuts being an inch apart. Sprinkle kosher salt on top of the scores fat.
  3. Sliced meat into thirds, applying rest of kosher salt, black pepper, and minced garlic on all sides. Skewer meat by forming cuts into a c-shape form and poking skewer through as seen on the recipe card photo.
  4. Cook meat on rotisserie, make sure it is spinning. Cool this way for 20-25 minutes until internal meat temp reaches 130-135F. Remove, rest for 10 minutes and slice off tops of meat, parallel with the skewer.

Notes

  • after slicing, put remaining picanha (still on skewer) back on grill to cook if you want to get more crust
  • Picanha also goes by top sirloin cap, rump cap, or coulotte. Your butcher should know one of those terms.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20 servings

Serving Size:

1 piece

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 430mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 16g

The Top Tomahawk Ribeye Steak Recipe

Tomahawk ribeyes are essentially steaks on a stick. Giddy up.

Tomahawk ribeye steak is becoming more popular thanks to an increase in folks who like to grill and BBQ influencers (such as myself) on social media promoting these magnificent cuts of beef. These steaks are a bit pricey at the butcher and that alone can make it intimidating for a newbie who is afraid he/she will screw it up. Don’t worry about screwing it up. I’m here to make sure you won’t screw it up.

What’s the difference between a regular ribeye and a tomahawk ribeye?

The main thing that makes the tomahawk ribeye steak different than a regular ribeye is the giant rib bone attached, measuring about 18-22 inches long. It definitely brings a “wow factor” to the meal. It drops jaws, turns heads, and makes some grown men cry (don’t judge me).

Another element that makes the tomahawk ribeye different is the thickness. Since the rib bone is attached, the ribeye will be around 2 to 2.5 inches thick. Some butchers can cut a regular ribeye this thick for you if you special order them that way, but right off the shelf you end up with an inch of thickness or less so they can sell more steak to more people. Expect a tomahawk ribeye to be around three pounds: two pounds of beef, about a pound of bone.

Prepping the Tomahawk Ribeye

Simply apply a savory, salt and pepper based rub before smoking.

Getting the tomahawk ribeye steak ready for the grill is just like prepping any other steak. I prefer mine with a simple salt and pepper-based rub. The main ingredients I use are equal parts kosher salt and ground black pepper, then a little less of garlic powder (feel free to mix in a couple more ingredients such as onion powder or paprika). Sprinkle the blend of spices over all sides of the meat portion of the tomahawk ribeye steak. Feel free to let it sit for a little while at room temperature to let your seasoning sink in a little. It is okay for beef to sit out a little while, not so much for poultry or pork.

Reverse Sear = Smoke then Sear

The end result is worth it. Trust me!

You may be familiar with searing: the process of grilling the meat at a high temp (usually 550F and above) to start off and then moving to the oven at a lower temp until done. Reverse searing is the opposite of that (hence the name) because you start off by cooking at a low temperature and then finish it off with the high heat on a direct surface.

Why reverse sear instead of traditional sear? Because you can infuse smoke flavor into the tomahawk ribeye steak first and then sear to lock in that flavor AND those juices from the meat! I like to use smoking woods such as hickory, oak, or pecan for beef. Smoke it between the 225-250F range until internal temp reaches about 125F. This can take about an hour.

While the tomahawk ribeye steak is smoking, make sure to get another grill surface as hot as you can for searing. As you gauge temps inside the meat, like I do with my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks, you will have a better feel for when to get the sear going on the other grill.

NOTE: don’t feel ashamed if you sear on a skillet on the stove burner in your house. As long as you have a hot surface to cook on you’ll be fine. But there’s a chance you may set off the smoke alarm in your home.

Searing with a Cast Iron Skillet

Turning the cast iron skillet upside down covers the entire surface of the tomahawk ribeye steak.

While some folks like to sear on the grill grates, I prefer on a cast iron skillet. Reason for being is that the hot cast iron will cover the entire surface of the steak so you get more of that savory crust as compared to the lines where the grates are. Also, you can throw ingredients such as butter, garlic, and rosemary onto the cast iron to add flavors to that crust.

Are you ready to hear a cooking hack? Turn the cast iron skillet upside down! Do this so you can get the entire surface of the tomahawk ribeye steak seared. You’ll notice if you try to lay the steak in the skillet, the bone keeps the bottom portion of the steak from hitting the surface. Turning the cast iron upside down gives you a perfectly even sear on each side. Sear for 1-2 minutes on each side or until internal temp reaches 135F, which is good for medium rare.

Rest, then Slice

Resting 20 minutes and then slicing is optimal for flavor.

Once the tomahawk ribeye steak has reached your desired finishing temp, remove from the heat and let it rest for a good 20 minutes before slicing. This way, you let the juices build up and the meat will stop cooking inside. Slice against the grain and feel free to devour right off the cutting board!

Goes well with corn pudding on the side!

The Recipe!

Yield: 6 servings

The Top Tomahawk Ribeye Steak Recipe

The Top Tomahawk Ribeye Steak Recipe

Tomahawk ribeye steaks can be intimidating to cook in large part due to the size and price. You want to make sure you cook it right and don't waste your money. Following this recipe will make you look like an expert right away!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tomahawk ribeye steak (about 36 oz of meat)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to 225F on indirect heat with either hickory or oak wood
  2. Combine kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder and apply on all sides of tomahawk ribeye steak. Place steak on grill for about an hour or until internal meat temp reaches 125F.
  3. On a separate grill (or stovetop) get cast iron skillet up to searing temps (starts at 550F) Place butter, garlic and rosemary in skillet right before moving tomahawk ribeye steak to the surface for searing. Sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side, with internal temps reaching 135F. Remove and rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

Notes

1. To sear entire surface of tomahawk steaks, turn the cast iron skillet upside down. This way, the bone doesn't keep the lower portion of the steak from touching the surface.

2. Feel free to sear in a cast iron on your stove top if you don't have another grill accessible.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6 servings

Serving Size:

6 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 460Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 42g

BBQ Travels: BBQ Summit at Certified Angus Beef ® HQ

Certified Angus Beef  ®  tomahawk ribeyes reverse seared to perfection at the BBQ Summit.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@learningtosmoke), you may have seen my IG story back in late April/early May when I made the trip to Wooster, Ohio for the BBQ Summit at Certified Angus Beef  ®  headquarters. To be honest, initially I was indifferent on going to this event. I’m traveling to Ohio in April? I’m going to tour facilities? Yay.

But then I spoke with my friend Christie Vanover at www.girlscangrill.com and she filled me in on some of the details I was missing: 1) we get to go in their lab and get hands-on with butchering a quarter cow, and 2) the lineup of folks coming to this event. I thought it was just a few social media folks, but that was the tip of the iceberg. Big names in barbecue such as Kent and Barrett Black from Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, TX, Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q), Amy Mills (17th Street BBQ), Anthony DiBernardo (Swig & Swine BBQ), Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ), and John Lewis (Lewis Barbecue, previously from La Barbecue in Austin) were gonna be there. So, I GET to travel to Ohio in April? YAY!

Group shot with fellow BBQ social media folks: Malcolm Reed and Rachelle Ross (How to BBQ Right), Mikey May (Man Meat BBQ), and Christie Hanover (Girls Can Grill).

The event was a blast! Not only do I get to hang out among these legendary pit masters and fellow BBQ bloggers such as Christie, Mikey May (www.manmeatbbq.com), and Malcolm Reed (www.howtobbqright.com), but we get to eat some of the tastiest meals served up by some chefs who are passionate about their craft. Tomahawk ribeye? Check. Prime rib? Check. Cowboy fondue (sirloin steaks cooked on pitchforks) with doughnuts for breakfast? Check. Braised beef with bone marrow and Asian-infused split shank on steamed bao buns? Check. They had salad too, but whatever.

Asian-infused split shank on a bao bun at the BBQ Summit.

Another highlight was going to the meat lab and being instructed by meat scientist Diana Clark on how to cut up a quarter cow. We were divided into groups and each of our groups were given a quarter cow (front quarter), some boning knives, and a saw (as well as lab coats and gloves to stay sanitary) and taken to school. Doing this helped me better understand where certain cuts come from, why they get their tenderness (or toughness in some cases), and which cuts I should definitely try out when I get home (such as the chuck eye steak).

Learning about the different cuts on the quarter cow from beef scientist Diana Clark.

I feel I should also note that we went back to the meat lab the next day and learned about some cuts in the hind quarters of the cow. Some I am familiar with (such as the tri-tip), and some I need to try (such as hanger steak and ball tip steak).

Butchering a quarter cow in the meat lab at Certified Angus Beef HQ.

Another thing we did in the meat lab was make beef sausage. I teamed up with the likes of Greg and Kristina Gaardbo from Chicago Culinary Kitchen and Kent and Barrett Black (Black’s Barbecue) to make a “hamburger sausage” using a blend of ground brisket, ribeye, and chuck. We also had cheese, pickles, and onions in there to make it taste like a classic cheeseburger. It. Was. Awesome!

Kent Black (Black’s Barbecue) and Greg Gaardbo (Chicago Culinary Kitchen) grinding up some brisket, ribeye, and chuck, as well as some other ingredients, to make the sausage.

On the last day we headed out to a Certified Angus Beef  ®  farm and got to meet the farming family, see their Angus cows, and hear about how their practices to help the cows grow and live healthy lives. This is also where we were treated to the Cowboy Fondue and doughnuts all cooked in their cauldrons on site. Hot and fresh and oh so delicious!

Visiting a Certified Angus Beef  ®  farm while at the BBQ Summit.

Cowboy fondue with some Certified Angus Beef  ®  sirloins.

I can’t believe I was able to be in attendance to learn so much about the many cuts of beef and rub elbows with some of the best in the world of barbecue. Many thanks to the folks at Certified Angus Beef  ®  for inviting me!

BBQ Smoked Brisket

Up close and personal with a slice of some smoked BBQ brisket.

Ah, brisket. The cut of beef I was so intimidated by when I first started BBQing. Gotta admit, I was working the smoker weekly when I started and it took me months to work up the courage to attempt it. After an experienced friend of mine smoked brisket with me for the first time, it didn’t seem so scary after all. If you are planning your first attempt at this beast of a cut, you’ve come to the right place. Or maybe you’ve smoked your share and are researching different methods, I applaud you for staying sharp in the craft.

I’ve cooked many of these BBQ smoked briskets over the last five years and done a variety of methods. I love brisket and it may be my favorite cut of beef to do on the smoker. The process will involve some work, patience, and attention to detail. But don’t be intimidated. It’s fun!

THE SUPER-CONDENSED VERSION

I’m about to dive into the specifics of each step of the brisket cooking process, but if you want to simply read the summary now and skip down to the recipe at the bottom, well you’re in luck because here it is!

I trim off the silver skin on the non fat side, trim some of the fat off of the skinny sides, especially where the point and flat overlap. Trim down to about a 1/2 inch on the fat side, which is a little more left on than others but I Smoke it fat side down because on the grills I use the indirect heat source comes from the bottom. That fat layer on the bottom helps protect the meat from burning. It’s like the fat is sacrificing itself for the meat. I rub with a S&P based rub, something simple for beef. I don’t go too generous, but cover it enough. Spritz a few times during the cook with either apple juice or Dr Pepper, which I think helps with the color more than the flavor due to the sugars burning off on the surface during the cook. I measure temps where the point and flat overlap, pulling off when it hits 195-199F. Then let it rest for 90 minutes to 2 hours before slicing. (NOTE: don’t forget you can make brisket burnt ends too!) If you want to read the breakdown, keep going!

TRIMMING THE BRISKET

Brisket diagram courtesy of eggheadforum.com

I have another blog post in which I review this in more detail and you are free to go check it out. For the sake of keeping this post from being a novel, I’ll go over the important points for you to know.

Trim a brisket for multiple reasons: to enhance the smoke penetrating the meat, creating some tasty bark, and removing some thick portions of fat that don’t render. There is one side of the brisket that has a bunch of fat on it, this is called the fat cap. The other side will have some light sections of fat on it, but likely a bunch of silver skin.

If cooking the brisket fat side down (recommended if your indirect heat source comes from the bottom: pellet grills, ceramic grills, drum smokers), then I recommend trimming down to about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I’ve burned the bottom of many a brisket going fat side up because the indirect heat source came from underneath. The heat cooks hotter when its closer to the source. Having the fat on the bottom will act as a protective layer to keep the meat from possibly getting a thin, burnt layer.

If going fat side up, I recommend trimming down to 1/4 inch. The hard fats don’t render, but can add a little flavor to your slices.

Brisket all trimmed up (this view is fat side down).

Here are some bullet points to that I elaborate on in my brisket trimming post:

  • plan about 20-30 minutes for trimming
  • a boning knife is preferred for the trimming due to the skinny point and curve
  • trim fat side down 1/4 inch for cooking fat side up, 1/4 to 1/2 for fat side down
  • trim off the light fat and silver skin on other side of brisket. Silver skin will make for a tougher chew and keep smoke from penetrating meat as well.
  • don’t cut into the fat that separates the point and the flat
  • cut off any little flaps of meat on the brisket. These portions will burn to a crisp due to smoking for many hours
  • best to trim brisket straight out of the fridge. Fat will be harder thus easier to trim

RUB AND REST

Now that the trimming is out of the way, we can get to the applying the seasonings, or the rub as us BBQers call it. If using a bottle of rub, it is recommended to go with one that is more savory as compared to the sweet rubs which are great for pork. As for me, I like to go simple with brisket: 2 Tbsp kosher salt, 2 Tbsp ground pepper, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder.

While you may go generous on the rub when doing another meat such as pork shoulder, I like to go modest to medium on brisket to let the natural meat flavor stand out. Make sure to apply rub on all sides of the brisket, even the narrow thin ones. The crust will have good flavor and compliment the real star of the show, the beef.

Brisket trimmed, rubbed, and awaiting the smoke treatment.

You can let the beef sit at room temperature for a little while without the risk of contamination (unlike poultry and pork), so feel free to let the meat sit for about 20-30 minutes to let the rub soak in a little before hitting the grill. NOTE: before applying rub and letting meat rest would be a good time to get grill/smoker going.

TIME FOR THE LONG SMOKE SESSION FOR THE BBQ SMOKED BRISKET

Get your heat source for your grill/smoker up to 250F using indirect heat. As far as smoking wood goes, I have a few that I like, such as hickory, pecan, and oak. To stick with traditional Texas-style brisket, let’s go with oak (post oak to be more specific).

Place the brisket on the grill either fat side up or fat side down (I prefer fat side down due to the types of grills I own: ceramic, pellet, and drum smoker. This was explained earlier in the trimming section). I like to put a water pan in the main chamber to help keep the meat from drying out (then again, I do live in a dry, desert climate).

I do like to spritz with Dr Pepper two or three times during the cook. To help the Dr Pepper spray better, open the can hours before spritzing. This helps the soda to go flat and spray better. I love the color it helps impart and the subtle flavor it gives the bark.

THE EFFIN’ STALL

During the first few hours of the cook, the meat temps will climb quick. Even at the 250F smoking temp, I’ve had briskets go from 50F to 130F internal in three hours. You would think with that type of start that you’re on pace to finish in two more hours. But the brisket will eventually hit a point that it’s internal temperature will stop climbing and level out. This is called “the stall”.

The stall usually happens around 160F. To get a deeper dive in the science of it, the folks over at Amazing Ribs have a great article on it. To summarize, the meat starts sweating and the moisture evaporates and cools the meat. With that said, this is about the time I stop spritzing. The internal meat temp will stay leveled out in this zone for hours.

The BBQ smoked brisket getting wrapped in pink butcher paper to help accelerate the cooking process.

There is a common method to push through this and it’s known as the “Texas crutch”. The Texas crutch is when you wrap the meat in either foil or pink butcher paper to accelerate the temperature the meat is cooking at and giving it no choice but to cook faster.

If going with this method, I prefer the pink (or peach) butcher paper as it allows air flow to go through while still retaining heat. Foil traps the heat and creates moisture inside the cocoon you’ve created and can cause the outside of the meat (aka-the bark) to get soggy and feel like roast beef. If you do go the foil route, I recommend unwrapping during the last hour or so of the cook to help the bark develop.

WHEN IS THE BBQ SMOKED BRISKET DONE?

Smoked brisket resting and begging to be sliced.

There’s some debate on how to tell when the brisket is done. Some go by time, others by temp, and those who prefer by feel. I recommend temp because it is easier to monitor throughout the process.

On a whole (or packer) brisket, make sure to put the meat probe in the section where the point and the flap overlap. Go halfway in. When the temps reach between 197-201F, pull off the grill and let the smoked BBQ brisket rest. At first, the temp will rise a few degrees while resting but then start to cool off. Let rest about 90 minutes to two hours before slicing. Speaking of…

SLICING IT UP

The flat portion of the smoked BBQ brisket sliced and ready to devour!

Whole briskets have two different sections of meat and the grains go different ways. I like to slice down the middle to separate where the point and the flat are, against the grain. Slicing against the grain makes for a more tender bite. Find the directions the grains go and slice the opposite way for the best meat experience.

Some say a good measure of a great brisket is the smoke ring and the color of the bark. While these features are aesthetically pleasing and quite photogenic, they don’t necessarily mean the brisket automatically tastes good. I’ve overcooked briskets that passed the eye test more than once. Also, I’ve had briskets with very little smoke ring and not as dark of bark but still tasted pretty good. Bottom line is, go off of flavor. If it tastes good to you, then you did it right!

As a reminder, you can use the point portion of the brisket to cube up and turn into mouthwatering burnt ends! Enjoy!

THE RECIPE

Smoked BBQ Brisket

Smoked BBQ Brisket

Brisket is the king of all barbecued meats. It can be intimidating to cook due to the time and cost, but this recipe will guide you and make you look like a natural to your friends and family!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 14 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 whole (or packer) brisket (11-14 lbs.)
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 oz. Dr Pepper (for spritzing)

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill/smoker to 250F using indirect heat and oak wood
  2. Remove brisket from packaging. Trim fat side of brisket down to 1/4 inch (boning knife preferred). Flip brisket over and trim off silver skin. Also trim off any random flaps of meat as they will burn during cooking.
  3. Mix kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder together and apply on brisket. Apply more on the exposed meat and less on the fat.
  4. Place brisket on grill fat side down. Spritz with Dr Pepper a few times during cook. Wrap in pink butcher paper when meat reaches internal temp in the 160s to accelerate cooking process. Let cook for 12 hours or until internal meat temps reach between 197-201F.
  5. Remove brisket from grill, unwrap and let rest for 90 minutes before slicing. When slicing, pencil thin is the ideal width.

Notes

  1. It's best to trim the brisket straight out of the refrigerator while it's cold due to the fat being more solid and easier to cut off.
  2. After seasoning brisket, one option is to let the brisket rest for about 30 minutes before putting on grill. Some do this to let the meat sweat a little and let the seasonings blend in.
  3. If you don't have oak wood, other woods such as hickory or mesquite will work too (I like pecan with beef, as well)
  4. Measure internal meat temps by placing digital thermometer into the spot where the point and flap overlap. Push thermometer halfway in.
  5. If cutting sugar from your diet, spritz with beef stock or beef broth instead of Dr Pepper

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

4 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g

Homemade Brisket Pastrami

Homemade brisket pastrami is worth the time!

This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Are you interested in making homemade brisket pastrami? Or looking for a new recipe? I’m guessing its either one, otherwise you might be here because you are either a super loyal fan (hi mom!) or a bot. Anyway, making this recipe for homemade brisket pastrami was a fun process from start to finish, from making the brine to that glorious moment when you slice into the finished product five days later.

What’s the difference between pastrami and corned beef?

Pastrami and corned beef look similar, usually come from the same cut of beef (brisket), and go through a brining process. But the main difference is how they are cooked. While corned beef is usually boiled then simmered until done, pastrami is smoked (and, as in this recipe, wrapped near the end and cooked on a higher heat).

Trimming the brisket

Picked up my Certified Angus Beef brisket flat at my local grocery store.

Most recipes call for a five pound brisket flat. I tend to find them to be bigger at my local butcher who sells Certified Angus Beef. The one I used for this recipe (and in these pictures) was close to nine pounds! That just meant more homemade brisket pastrami for me!

Brisket all trimmed up.

Not a ton of trimming to do on this one, just trimming off the silver skin on one side (which can take a little while) and leaving the fat side mostly the same, which mine came trimmed down to 1/4 inch mostly (if you want details on how to trim a brisket, check out this blog post).

Preparing the brine

The process of curing the meat starts with making an awesome brine. A simple brine consists of kosher salt and sugar mixed in water, but brining for homemade brisket pastrami requires more ingredients to help with the curing process. For this brine, I use kosher salt, sugar, brown sugar, honey, Prague powder #1, ground black pepper, garlic, and pickling spice. Speaking of pickling spice…

Brining ingredients.

If you have researched other homemade brisket pastrami recipes, you will see a lot of them have coriander seed, mustard seed, allspice, peppercorn, chili peppers, and bay leaves. Pickling spice combines all of these ingredients, saving you from the need to buy all of these spices separately. If you can’t find this at your local grocer, you can always head to Amazon like I did.

Combine all of these ingredients with two quarts of water in a large pot and heat to a boil. Keep it this way until the salt and sugars have dissolved, which should take about five minutes. Once those two ingredients have been dissolved, add two quarts of ice water to the pot to cool it down. We do this so the meat doesn’t cook while brining, thus ruining the whole dang thing. Experts say the water should be about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a good idea to aim for a temp in that range.

Adding the pickling spice to the brine.

Pour the brine into your bucket or whatever container is large enough to submerge your brisket in a gallon of brine. While I do have a standard, five gallon bucket I use for brining poultry, I went to the store and bought a flat, rectangular storage bin that was big enough to hold a brisket flat and it worked great. Keep the brisket in the brine for five days, flipping over each day.

Brine time!

Time to smoke this stuff!

Now that you have exercised patience over the last five days, the time has come to exercise more patience and smoke this brisket pastrami! Preheat your grill/smoker to 275F using indirect heat. I used oak wood for this one because I like the flavor of that smoke with the brisket.

Brisket getting that oak smoke.

While the grill is heating up, make sure to rinse off the brisket thoroughly when you pull it out of the brine. When that’s done, pat dry with paper towels. Now smother some spicy brown mustard and apply a simple beef rub, even one that is a little heavy on the pepper. Once that is done, put on the smoker and let it ride for five hours or until the meat reaches an internal temp around 160F. I like to use the Thermoworks Smoke (as well as the Signals) to monitor temps while I am away.

When you’ve reached that point (five hours of smoke or internal temp of around 160F), get a large cutting board and lay out a couple of sheets of aluminum foil that are large enough to wrap the brisket. Take the cutting board with the foil sheets laid out to the grill, remove the brisket from the grill and place on the foil. Wrap tightly, crank up the heat to 325F, and place the wrapped brisket back on the grill.

Wrap in foil and crank up the heat!

Let cook until the internal temp reaches around 195F, then remove the brisket pastrami from the grill, place on your cutting board and open up the foil halfway, then let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Finally! Time to eat!

It is important to let meat rest after cooking so the juices can build up inside and enhance the flavor. To get the best bite, slice your homemade brisket pastrami against the grain, which will likely be at a diagonal angle as seen in the picture at the top of this post.

Here’s another shot of that sliced homemade brisket pastrami.

You can either eat the slices as they are or make some epic homemade brisket pastrami reuben sandwiches by taking said slices and putting them on a sandwich with thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese all in between a couple of slices of toasted rye bread. So. Dang. Good!

Homemade brisket pastrami also makes some killer reuben sandwiches!

The recipe!

Homemade Brisket Pastrami

Homemade Brisket Pastrami

Making pastrami at home is so much better than store-bought! While it takes five days to brine, and another seven hours to cook, it's actually a fun process from start to finish. You'll be so glad you did!

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 brisket flat (size varies)
  • FOR BRINE
  • 1 gallon water (2 quarts for cooking, 2 quarts ice water)
  • 1 1/2 Cup kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Prague powder #1
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup pickling spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • AFTER BRINE
  • 1/3 Cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 Cup salt & pepper rub

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, combine two quarts of water, kosher salt, honey, garlic, Prague powder #1, sugar, brown sugar, pickling spice, and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until salt and sugar granules have dissolved. Remove from heat and add two quarts of ice water.
  2. Pour cooled down brine into container, put in trimmed brisket, put on lid. Place in fridge for five days.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat grill/smoker to 275F. Take brisket out of brine, rinse and pat dry. Apply spicy brown mustard followed by salt and pepper rub.
  4. Place brisket on grill/smoker and cook for five hours or until internal temp reaches around 160F. Double wrap brisket in foil, place back on grill and turn up temp to 325F. Cook until internal temp reaches the 190-195F range.
  5. Remove brisket pastrami from grill, unwrap and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly and enjoy!

Notes

  1. I used oak wood for the smoke flavor with this, but feel free to use whichever smoking wood you prefer for beef.
  2. Spritz with apple juice on occasion during the first five hours of the cook.
  3. Make brisket pastrami reuben sandwiches!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

varies

Serving Size:

3 ounces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 900mgCarbohydrates: 0.4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 18g