Grilling strategies to get deep flavor from big cuts of your holiday meat
While you can get a great coffee and beef flavor with almost any meat, Joachim says the pairing works particularly well with brisket because the cut boasts so much meaty, beefy flavor. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
"You should think about grill-roasting because you can. The greatest invention in grilling is the lid,'' says David Joachim, co-author of "Fire It Up! More than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything" published by Chronicle, with Andrew Schloss, a fellow Pennsylvanian, food writer and cookbook author.
Joachim is right. Grilling gives terrific flavor and can speedily cook small items of food. Big items, however, are problematic without a lid to trap the heat.
The grill essentially becomes an oven, he notes, allowing you to use indirect heat — cooking away from hot coals or gas jets — to cook the food slowly to a perfect doneness.
When it comes to big cuts, like beef brisket, pork shoulder or leg of lamb, you have to let them cook until they're fork-tender, Joachim says.
Little or no special equipment is needed: disposable aluminum pans to capture juices released while cooking (boil down to make a sauce) and a brush or baster with which to apply a flavorful mop (or grilling sauce) while the meat cooks. That's it.
In the recipe here, coffee is the surprising flavor agent for beef brisket. "It's such a powerful combination," says Joachim.
While you can get a great coffee and beef flavor with almost any meat cut, Joachim thinks the pairing works particularly well with brisket because the cut boasts so much meaty, beefy flavor. Coffee bolsters that flavor at each crucial step: a rub before grilling, a mop while cooking and a sauce for serving.
Gas or charcoal grill? Depends on you.
"Charcoal is not more difficult; it just takes a different kind of person," Joachim says. "If you drive a stick shift car, you probably will like charcoal more. If you're someone who just wants to turn a knob, gas is more convenient."
Espresso-powered barbecue brisket
Prep: 45 minutes
Chill: 8 hours
Cook: 4-6 hours
Note:This recipe is adapted from "Fire It Up!" by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cups strong brewed coffee, preferably espresso roast