Here are three things we learned in this episode.
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Texas Barbecue BrisketBryan Roof makes Texas Barbecue Brisket and equipment expert Adam Ried shows host Bridget Lancaster his top pick for coolers.
1. When Cooking in Close Proximity to Coal, Fat Is Your Friend
Texas Barbecue Brisket requires a low-and-slow fire to turn this tough cut of meat tender. Since this recipe calls for cooking the meat on a regular charcoal grill, you'll want to leave a fair amount of fat on the brisket. Doing so prevents the meat from drying out and overcooking on the grill. We recommend leaving anywhere from ¼ to ½ inch of fat all over and using a boning knife to do so; it helps easily shave off excess fat better than a chef's knife.
2. The Density of a Cooler's Insulation Impacts Its Cold Retention
We learned this fun fact during our testing process. In the final stage of picking out our winner, the Yeti Tundra 45, we grabbed some safety goggles and sawed each cooler in our lineup in half to check out the insulation. We found a couple of surprises, but what we noticed right away was that the coolers' insulation varied in thickness. We assumed that thicker insulation would naturally help promote cold retention, but we were wrong. Thickness didn't play a factor at all—but density did. That's because air does not conduct heat well, making it a good insulator.
3. A Charcoal Snake Will Get You a Steady Stream of Indirect Heat
Most home cooks don't own a commercial grill, so we had to find a way to get a charcoal grill to behave like one for our Texas Barbecue Brisket recipe. A commercial grill has a firebox that's set away from the smoking chamber. This allows the brisket to get long, slow hours of indirect heat and cook nice and evenly.
Since we didn't have that as an option, we found the next best alternative: a charcoal snake. It's simply a row of briquettes that goes all the way around the inner edge of the grill. When set up perfectly with 116 briquettes (yes, we tested it!) you're able to get a slow, gentle cook for a whole 6 hours.