This weekend I treated my family to the ultimate BBQ meal: Snake River Farms Brisket cooked on the Pit Barrel Cooker. I have to say this treat had a hidden agenda (I was practicing for an upcoming #KCBS competition) but the fact that there wasn't one ounce of brisket left indicates my family didn't mind my ulterior motives.
The Order: Snake River Farms website is super modern and easy to use. I found what I wanted without being bombarded with frivolous ads or popups. I noticed that it was also a google trusted store, so that was nice. I placed two 12-14 lb. black grade (they have two grades of wagyu brisket, black and gold, as well as a traditional choice grade) briskets in my cart and proceeded to checkout. The shipping selection interface is the best I have seen in terms of ordering perishable items. It allowed me to select the delivery date (very handy if you are planning for a competition) and then proceed to checkout. One cool thing is that I had a promo code that was about to expire, but I was able to complete the order and select a shipping date two weeks away but still use my promo code!
The Arrival: The briskets arrived on the scheduled date and were still mostly frozen. The packaging was sleek and impressive (I really wanted to show it to my neighbor but I didn't plan on sharing with him)! Both briskets weighed 12.4 lbs. One brisket went in the fridge and the other straight to the freezer where it is still waiting on my next competition.
The Preparation: I did a fairly basic brisket trim to remove large fat deposits. As I was trimming, I could not believe the marbling in this piece of meat. I looked more like a rib eye than a brisket. It was gorgeous. I wanted to keep this brisket simple by using a simple "Texas-style" rub of kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. Since I was trying to replicate my competition cook I also used Butcher BBQ's Prime Brisket Injection (available here). I let the meat sit covered for about an hour before heading to the smoker.
The Cook: I cooked the brisket following this video tutorial from Pit Barrel Cooker and the total cook time ended up being about 5 hours. When the brisket probed to the tenderness I wanted, the final temperature read 210 on my trusty Thermapen, which is about what I expected. Some people say the Snake River Farms briskets cook faster, but mine ended up cooking in about the same amount of time as ones I get at the grocery store. I left the brisket wrapped (after venting the steam for about 5 minutes) and placed it a cooler covered with a towel. I then forced myself to wait two hours while the brisket rested (this was the hardest part because I really wanted to taste it).
The Reward: I sliced up the Snake River Farms black brisket using my trusty electric fisherman (reviewed last month) and placed the slices in a foil pan. After I sliced it up I poured the au jus from the foil back over the top of the brisket and set it out for service. Everyone in attendance instantly said it was the best they had ever had and people coming back for thirds were disappointed that it was all gone!
The Verdict: Overall, I was very happy with how the brisket turned out. It was easily the best I have ever cooked and the only thing I changed was the meat. Snake River Farms had an easy to navigate website, great shipping options, and provided me with an overall enjoyable shopping experience. The only downside to the SRF brisket is the cost, but in this case you get what you pay for: a great cut of meat with outstanding flavor!