Fire Roasted Beef Brisket

Two days ago I had a pretty awesome idea for a recipe and wanted to share it with you. I know this isn’t a cooking blog, but hey, it’s a part of my life.  I remember going to this friends house about 5 years ago and hearing how he cooked this flank steak by burying it with coals under the sand overnight. Anyways, it was awesome so I decided to try my own variation. After searching all of the internet for recipes and not finding anything I realized I would have to improvise.

  1. I bought a $30 piece of beef brisket. This may not seem like a lot to you but I almost never buy meat and $30 is a lot for me. It was almost 7 lbs and came with a fancy steak rub that can be seen on the right hand side.


2. I marinated it for about 6 hours in fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes) and 10 cloves of garlic. Flip every hour.


3. I wrapped it tightly with all of the juices and marinade in about 8 layers of tin foil.


4. I prepared a fire and burned it down to white coals. I used a fire pit but in hindsight you may want to use a hole in the dirt/sand or something that restricts the airflow a little more. I would wait until the flame completely dies out, but as you can see from the picture, I cheated a little.


5. I put 2 large pieces of wood over the piece of meat so that it would cook over night.  At this point it was about 8:30 pm and the meal was about 21 hours away. This would give the meat plenty of time to cook and should be really tender.


6. After a while I noticed that the coals were pretty hot so I buried the whole mess in fresh grass clippings. Pack them in around the edges, restricting the airflow.


7. At this point, this picture shows my general expectation for the likely hood of this experiment actually turning out.  I figured there were one of two options. The first is that the piece of meat would turn out awesome. The second, which I gave about a 25% chance, is that it would be charred and dried on the outside.  Nothing prepared me for what I would find in the morning when I woke up.


8. I slept in a little bit but decided to check the fire at 9:30 am to see if the fire needed any more wood or grass. When I opened up the fire this is what I found.


9. That’s it. 2 scraps of tin foil. The fire had completely incinerated my entire $30 investment.  It was an entirely unanticipated outcome that can only be wielded when cooking with stumps, grass clippins and 2000 degree Fahrenheit.


10. It turned out ok though, because the 20 people that were coming to my house for dinner were not arriving for another 8 hours so I had plenty of time to thaw out frozen chow mein noodles.To my credit, a couple of people commented on how good the recipe probably would have been, had it turned out.

As for me, I’m still not going back to Betty Crocker.


13 thoughts

  1. Had a friend who used to smoke briskets overnight in a smoker. I have a smoker and have smoked alot of fish and jerky, but haven’t ever tried doing a brisket or turkey in it yet. But I’ve wanted to try.

    By the way, his smoked brisket was AMAZING.

  2. OH BEN! That is the most surprising ending!!!! Who knew that would be the result?! Somehow this ending just makes for a better story 🙂

  3. That’s a pretty funny story. I thought the ending was going to be a spiritual life lesson or something. Although maybe it’s a sign that you shouldn’t eat meat, or maybe you just have incredibly sneaky and dexterous raccoons in your backyard.

  4. Rhett-I was thinking the same thing as soon as it happened. I was like, “What are we going to serve the 20 people now?!” And Ben said, “Don’t worry, babes I’ve got it covered.” Gotta love that man.

  5. I was so gonna try that after I saw how you used grass clippings and now I’m both majorly disappointed and laughing my head off.

    By the way don’t you basically feed your family on $30 a year? In Crawford dollars that’s like losing a car.

  6. Funny story… my thought was, wouldn’t marinating the meat that long in lime juice really cook it too quickly? Acid like that usually starts to cook something. I know when I marinate something with part lemon juice, you can literally watch it start to cook the meat…

  7. Ever since reading this post I’ve been wanting to try to smoke a brisket. Maybe I’ll try this weekend.

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