Established in 1932, Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas, is the oldest continuously operated barbecue restaurant in the state. Part of its secret lies in the cookware, write Ardie A. Davis and Paul Kirk in America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes From America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Andrews McMeel). The cooks here employ “a rectangular pit with heavy lids, using indirect heat.” If you like a thick bark on your barbecue, don’t wrap the brisket in aluminum foil after smoking it, or the result will mimic a pot roast.
Recipes of the week
¼ cup salt
¼ cup coarsely ground black pepper
1 (9- to 10-lb) beef brisket
Prepare pit or grill: An indirect-heat pit with lid is preferred. We recommend using hardwood such as post oak for heat and smoke. Some woods—mesquite and other types of oak—emit a strong, harsh flavor that is undesirable to many people. Try different hardwoods to suit your taste. Heat pit or grill to 250–350 degrees. The lower the heat and the more smoke, the better the flavor.
Mix salt and pepper together. Hand-rub salt-and-pepper mix into brisket. Place brisket in pit or grill and cook to desired doneness, 8 to 12 hours. Serves 15.
Southern-Style Potato Salad
This potato salad recipe, which also appears in America’s Best BBQ, was inspired by a visit to Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro, N.C. “Wilber’s is one of the few barbecue joints in North Carolina that serve” this particular dish, write Davis and Kirk. Our version adds a few of our favorite ingredients.
2 to 3 lbs potatoes
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
½ cup sweet pickle relish
2 tbsp diced canned pimento
½ cup diced sweet onion
¼ cup diced green bell pepper
Sea salt and black pepper
1 cup real mayonnaise
2 tbsp yellow mustard
Wash potatoes; cover with water; bring to boil, simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until tender. Drain water from potatoes; set potatoes aside to cool. When potatoes are cool, peel and dice. Add eggs, celery, relish, pimento, onion, green pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until mixed. Stir mayonnaise and mustard together until mixed; add mixture to potatoes; mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 6 to 8.
Smoky, charcoal-crusted grilled shrimp
Most grilled shrimp recipes result in “overcooked shrimp swimming in a bath of mouth-puckering sauce,” said the editors of Cook’s Country Best Grilling Recipes (America’s Test Kitchen). Their goal: Find the best way to grill citrusy shrimp with a smoky, charcoal crust.
Grilled Lemon Shrimp
1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 lbs extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp sugar
For marinade: Combine all ingredients in bowl; let marinate for 15 minutes or less. Measure out and reserve 2 tbsp marinade for serving.
For shrimp: Pat shrimp dry with paper towels, add to remaining marinade, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade and skewer them. Sprinkle one side of shrimp with sugar. Alternating direction of shrimp as you pack them tightly on skewer allows you to fit more shrimp snugly on each skewer.
For charcoal grill: Open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (100?briquettes, or 6?quarts). When coals are hot, pour in an even layer over half the grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, open lid vents completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. (Adjust the burners as needed to maintain a hot fire.)
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place shrimp, sugared side down, on grill (over coals if using charcoal). Cook (covered if using gas) until lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip shrimp and slide them to cooler part of grill, away from coals if using charcoal, or turn off all burners if using gas. Cover, continue to cook shrimp until second side is no longer translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove shrimp from skewers, toss with reserved 2 tbsp marinade, and serve. Serves 4.
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