I was trying to figure out how to get a smoky flavor without turning on the barbecue because I've got to be honest with you, that thing scares me.
[originally posted in 2008, during my year of slow cooking. :-)]
Alternative title: CrockPot Smoked Brisket Recipe
I have been reading Jared's blog, the CrockPot Alchemist, with interest this year.
He has the same think-out-of-the-box (crock!) mentality I seem to have when it comes to crockpotting, and not only does he come across as an awfully nice guy you'd like to have dinner with, he is quite funny.
Jared likes things to taste smokey. He uses Liquid Smoke, and has written about how it isn't a super-scary-chemical-concoction.
But I can't find it. I've looked in about 6 grocery stores around here, and just. can't. find. it. I've emailed a few people who have given me liquid smoke recipes and they can find it at Walmart.
We don't have Walmart here. I guess I need to take a Walmart field trip, which is fine by me, because they have the most comfortable tank tops I've ever worn, and I'd like to stock up on layering options for fall. (in case you were wondering. you may have been.)
(PS -- this was written a long time ago. I now know where Liquid Smoke is at my grocery store. ;-) )
Anyways---since I couldn't find any liquid smoke, and because I was spurred on by the Last Food Network Star when the comedian guy built a smoker, I turned the crockpot into a smoker yesterday.And it totally worked.
3 to 4 lbs beef brisket or comparable hunk o' meat
1 to 2 cups mesquite wood chips (depends on size of crockpot), soaked
--favorite spice rub. I used McCormick's Roasting Rub.
--1/2 cup of water. or beer. or wine. or broth.
Soak your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes, and drain the water.
Spread out a good-sized length of parchment paper on the counter, and put the wood chips inside.
Fold over the edges of the paper to enclose the wood chips and make a packet, similar to a foil packet (I was worried foil would rust), that fits inside your crockpot completely.
Put it in.
With scissors, cut teeny tiny holes here and there in the top level of the parchment paper to let smoky steam escape.
Rub all sides of your meat with spice rub. Put it in the crockpot, directly on top of the parchment paper packet (lots of Ps, there).
Cover with whatever liquid you are going to use. I stuck with water.
Put the lid on and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The meat is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired tenderness. I wanted ours to fall apart, and cooked it on low for 9 hours.
The parchment didn't disintegrate, and the wood chips never touched the meat. The brisket was flavorful and had a definite smoky flavor in each bite.
My spice rub was quite peppery, so after the first few bites, I mostly tasted pepper, but the smoke was infused.
The kids loved it, and called it "the best steak my mom has ever made in the crockpot." It cracks me up that they included the "in the crockpot" part.
I have POUNDS of mesquite chips left, and am interested in smoking some salmon.