Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Smoked Bison Brisket



















Ingredients

1 Bison Brisket
8 oz marinade (Gold Buckle Brand)
2 oz Paprika
2 oz Granulated Garlic
2 oz Chili Powder (optional)


So if you know me very well at all you know that brisket has been one of my signature dishes for a long while.  Beef brisket.  Beef from a cow.  Well, a while back my wife (from Colorado) introduced me to bison meat.  Some folks call it buffalo, and that’s cool, but technically it’s bison in North America.  Anyway, we had bison burgers and a little later, bison rib-eye steaks.  Both were delicious.  Lean and very beefy flavored. 

So, I was at Central Market a while back, and I saw they had bison brisket for sale.  I just had to try it. 

The first thing that surprised me about the bison brisket was that it was rather small, just a couple of pounds.



But it looked like a complete piece of the flat (of a cow’s brisket) so I didn’t think that they had trimmed or halved it.  Perhaps the brisket muscle is just smaller on a bison, even though they are a bit of a larger animal than a cow.  (or maybe they harvest the meat from smaller ones.  Anyone know?)

I did some research, and what I found confirmed my suspicions.  Bison is very lean meat, and this includes the brisket as well.  Apparently it still has some tough connective tissue (collagen) like a cow’s brisket, just not as much.  The lesson here is I was going to have to use a much shorter cooking time to keep from drying out and overcooking this beautiful little piece of meat. 

I started out treating it like my normal brisket recipe, giving it a nice rub of paprika and granulated garlic, then marinating it in Gold Buckle brisket marinade overnight.  



When it came time to cook, I fired up my Weber kettle in smoker configuration, just half a chimney of charcoal and some hickory chunks.  



I got it settled in at about 225F, and I smoked the brisket for two hours. 



At this point, the meat was at about 160F internal temp, and I didn’t want to leave it on the smoker any longer for fear of it drying out.  But, it still felt a bit tough, so I knew there was still some collagen left to break down.  Solution:  I transferred the meat to the oven.

First, I boiled the reserved marinade liquid, then added it to the brisket in a casserole dish, hoping this would help keep the meat from drying out, as well as add additional flavor.  



I set up a very slow oven, 180F, and roasted the brisket (covered in foil) for an additional two hours.  At this point I removed it from the pan and let it rest for fifteen minutes. 

Then I sliced it up.  



The collagen had broken down beautifully, and the brisket sliced like butter, similar to one of my beef briskets that would have cooked for 18 hours or longer.  All this in only four hours. 

We served it with some roasted red potatoes and Cowboy Beans, and it was a hit.  



The brisket was every bit as flavorful as my traditional Texas-style brisket, and it a quarter or so of the time.  The only down side was the cost.  Bison meat can be quite expensive.  I paid over twenty bucks for this two pounds of meat, about the same as a 15 pound beef brisket when you catch it on sale. 

So, final verdict.  The taste is about the same as beef, so if you’re pressed for time, and money is no object (and if you can find it) then bison may be the way to go.  For me, I’ll probably stick with my beef recipe most of the time, and do the bison now and then for a change of pace. 

Until next time,

Don’t be buffaloed, try some bison!


Chris

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