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Labor Day BBQ

I hope everybody enjoyed their long labor day weekend. Having been a student for much of my life, I always appreciated the sort of "buffer" Labor Day provides for those still not quite ready for a new school year. Though it wasn't exactly ideal pool weather, any day spent lounging with the family is a good one! With the help of some delicious bar-b-que, we managed to brave the passing showers and enjoy our hard-earned day off.

If your family is anything like mine, perhaps the most important Labor Day question is what's for lunch. After bouncing around burgers, hotdogs, and ribs, we settled on the classic back yard brisket. This 4 pound hunk of beef, smoked for a total of 8 hours, made for a delicious Labor Day meal. For our cooking method, we turned to our trusty Traeger, a top-of-the-line electric smoker. If some look down on the use of electric smokers as opposed to the more traditional smokebox, all I can say is you need to try this brisket. The ability to maintain consistent temperature, administer the perfect amount of smoke, and monitor the built-in meat thermometer make Traeger the best way to deliver knockout BBQ every time.

While I sometimes opt for the intensive preparations with marinades, injections, herbs, and spices, we kept it simple this time, applying only liberal doses of salt and pepper. For smoke, we used pellets of hickory wood, great for its versatility and use on large cuts of meat. Our first 2 hours on the smoker were on the Traeger's "smoke mode", which, at about 180 degrees Fahrenheit, is just warm enough to create some smoke. From there, we bumped it up to 250 and observed the 3-2-1 method (3 hours direct smoke, 2 hours wrapped in aluminum foil, then one more hour uncovered). After about a 30 minute rest, we cut it up and chowed down.

Though I fully admit personal bias towards my own BBQ, I was assured by everyone else who tried it that this brisket was the real deal. With a side of homemade baked beans and coleslaw, it put me in just the right mood for my favorite Labor Day activity: a nice afternoon nap!


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