Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day of Bouncing Around

Unusual day for me, as I bounced around quite a bit between several little things, watching far more football and far less news than usual - a couple of hours in each game today. 

I was up at 6:30 to start smoking a beef brisket, the mainstay of Texas barbecue.  The smoker was ready to haul outdoors and get running quickly.  The brisket was small; around 5 pounds, and only the flat cut of a whole brisket, but it was also ready to go after being seasoned and resting in the fridge overnight.  The last time I did this, I put the meat in and then started heating.  Today, I preheated the smoker, then added the brisket, and finally added the wood chips to start the smoking. 

In barbecue, as opposed to grilling, the rule is "low and slow": low temperature, slow cooking.  Typical for a brisket is to set the smoker temperature to 250 until it's done.  "Done" is based on a combination of internal temperature of the meat (over 190) and the feel, but feel is more important than temperature.  The cooking started a little after 7 and I pulled it at 5:45, 10 1/2 hours, with an internal temp of 195.  That's actually a bit short for a Texas brisket where 16 hours seems typical, but longer than I thought it would take for the small size I was cooking.  After the mandatory "rest" of over a half hour, this what we had:
Up at 6:30 AM, eating at 6:30 PM.  Babysitting the smoker consists of adding fresh wood chips every hour or so, and just making sure the temperatures look like I expect.  There's no reason to look inside until 8 or 10 hours have gone by, and I looked after 8 hours. 

Around that, I worked on my big project, the CNC conversion of my Grizzly mill, by tweaking the G-Code files (the ones that tell the machine how to move to cut the metal) and verifying they seem good.  There are programs that will let you visualize the path the cutter will take, so verification doesn't need to be proof reading.  Add in a hard workout, and it's a day. 

So I haven't heard a word of politics, what any bozo said or did.  Apparently, no news item was so big that they felt the need to burst into the NFL playoffs, which is a good thing.  Being out of touch seems good for the soul every now and then.


  1. Many years ago when my father retired he adopted the motto "Why put off until tomorrow what you can ignore completely."

    I have found it to be good advice.


    1. I'm working on it. This is my second week of retirement, and I'm still working on "it doesn't have to be done before the weekend's over". Next up is "just because I've had to do it after work in the evening for the last 40 years doesn't mean I'll always have to do it in the evening". Creature of habit?

      It's a process...

  2. And sadly, there are those in the world what have no idea that the words "CNC conversion of my Grizzly mill," can be exciting, alluring, and frightening all at the same time.

    And yes, of course I want to convert my mill. But there are other new hobbies to try out before I remove the stake from the CNC conversion heart.

    Keep the news coming.

    1. exciting, alluring, and frightening all at the same time That's an excellent description!

      Going over my "documentation" (such as it is) I found a part I missed. I need to figure out how to make it. Not sure if it's the milling machine by itself, or if it's done on the lathe and mill. On the other hand, that's real world machine shop!

  3. I made pastrami from brisket for new years eve meal. Discovering the wonders of Prague powder...

    20 grams for a kilo of some mediecore Australian shoe leather beef. Marinated for 3 days with the usual corned beef spices. Braised for an hour, then loosely wrapped in aluminum foil and steamed for another 6 hours.

    Incredible stuff but could of had another couple hours in the steamer...