Memphis Pellet Grill Review
For some this is the apex of bbq.
For others its a challenging cook that can easily go sideways and morph into leather.
So who ya gonna call to guide you on the safe, smoky path to ensure your brisket cook doesn't go south? Enter the Memphis Wood Fire Grill!
Back in August I smoked a 13-14 lb full packer brisket for 15 hours. I thought it came out ok but this time I wanted to change things up (and have a shorter cook) so I opted for a first-cut brisket which weighed about 7 lbs. This style of brisket removes the deckle and a fair portion of the fat cap, so when I smoked it I opted to drape some bacon strips over it for more “lube”. It was a beautiful cut of beef but I am ashamed to admit that I paid $12.99 per pound for it. Yes, I know, flog me! This is from the same guy who charges $20 for a 4 lb chicken...and people pay it. Amazing. Suffice to say I’ve found a new butcher and I will only go here for specialty cuts or out of pure convenience moving forward. Nevertheless, the brisket was beautiful, a nice reddish hue and well marbled for being just the flat portion of the muscle.
I decided to take a simpler approach to this cook compared to the big brisket in August. For the full packer I coated it with a mustard base and then applied a rub among other seasonings.
This time it would real simple, Texas-style:
- Coarse kosher salt.
- Cracked black pepper.
- A pinch of coffee rub.
Temp set at 250°.
Indirect heat plate
Brisket was placed on bottom rack in an aluminium roasting pan. Draped about 6 pieces of organic Applewood bacon on her. What was left of the fat cap and the bacon were topside. Filled a small (Weber?) roasting pan with beer (I think it was Lone Star, maintaining the Texan theme) and placed it on the top rack. Pellet choice was good ole’ Texan Mesquite. I knew that Mesquite has the potential to be overbearing but it’s the indigenous flavor of Texas and that’s how we rolled during this cook.
The brisket cooked for 7 hours then I pulled it at 200°. It had that beautiful jello-like jiggle which made me think I nailed it but we still had the rest for optimal results.
After the 7 hour cook I wrapped the brisket in butcher paper a la Aaron Franklin and set it in a cooler with towels above it. I then let it rest for one hour (may have been slightly longer). The butcher paper is definitely the way to go. While foil has been used for the Texas crutch for years I recall reading that Steve Raichlen felt that the brisket took on a pot-roasty consistency due to the inability for the brisket to breath. All that moisture will build up and things will get stewy. No good. Butcher paper (unlined!) is the way to go. I even cooked the brisket in the butcher paper for a few hours during my big brisket cook in August, but I don’t think that’s imperative.
Time to Eat
I took the brisket out of the butcher paper, laid it on the cutting board and proceeded to slice. The bark was so dark and coarse to touch. But the knife literally went through without effort. . The smoke ring was so pronounced. The knife cleaved through the brisket like it was butter. And the juice, the JUICE!. It was literally pouring out every time I sliced back and forth. You couldn’t get any tender this.
While the aesthetics were great , the real story was the taste. My family raved about it and the leftovers, which were used for sandwiches the following day were arguably better! I didn’t have tremendously high hopes bc this was a first cut brisket, but even without the deckle and all that fat, it didn’t really matter. I had exceeded expectations and cooked a tastier brisket than the one in August.
Conclusion: The Memphis Grill Rocks
The Memphis was truly the hero of this cook. The ease of use and delivery of such quality is truly a testament of how incredible this product is. I love the fact that the Memphis grill doesn’t overly saturate the food with smoke (even at a lower temperature). It seems to just deliver enough to give a nice smoke bath that will perfume the food with smoke, all while allowing you to work with it while avoiding getting your clothes hair and skin covered in smoke (which happens with my ceramic smoker).
Even though I cooked during the day, I would have no qualms about letting the Memphis ride overnight, even in the winter, as I know it’s going to hold the prescribed temperature accurately. While it probably makes sense for me to make the next brisket on the ceramic smoker so I can compare and contrast on the blog, I just may in fact default back to the Memphis...I’m addicted to this thing!