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Dave the Cook

Smoking Brisket: The Topic

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A number of reasons. Like I said above, first and foremost it helps keep the meat moist. Second, it catches the drippings. Last but not least, it acts at a temperature stablizer. If you open the smoker, obviously that will let heat out but it hardly takes any time to get back up to temp because the water heats the air. Likewise, if the fire gets too hot, it has to heat up the water too for the overall temp to rise. It basically acts like a shock absorber. As Dave mentioned, adding bricks to the smoker will also help stabilize the temp.

Dave, great to hear you have good access to brisket, and please do give a report on how your first one goes.

Jaymes, when I can walk on water, I'll let you know! :smile:

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Dave,

Just a quick reminder incase you don't already know....NEVER use pine wood in your pit!!!!!!

john


JTL

Is a Member of PETA..."People Eating Tasty Animals"

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Klink is so dreamy. :wub::wub::wub:


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I recently received a question about brisket that I don't believe has been addressed before so I'll post about it here.

when you buy a whole brisket in cryovac, do you trim any of the fat (including the pretty hard line of fat)?  Do you separate it into point and blade?  (Whatever the hell that is.)

Whole briskets come in sizes between 10 - 14lbs and they're considered "untrimmed." The pointy end is called the "point" and is about twice as thick as the "flat" end. Most sources will tell you to trim the excess fat and leave within 1/8" to 1/4". I however don't trim any of the fat off. If somebody doesn't want the fat, I'll let them trim it off after I smoke it because if I trim it, it'll be more likely to dry out. Most sources don't even mention the point so I assume they toss it. Me? The point is my favorite part. It's positively riddled with fat but after it's been smoked it has lost more than half it's weight leaving behind the juiciest and most tender part of the brisket. What I find deplorable is that some sources say to trim off the fat after it's been smoked. That's where all the flavor is!!! It's not like chewing on gristle but it alsmost is as soft as butter but 10 times tastier.

As for the point and the flat, yes I usually do cut the brisket up. For big parties I normally don't cut it up and leave it whole, but that takes 10 to 14 hours to smoke. So most of the time I do cut it up into about 3 or 4 pieces. This way the brisket will smoke in about 6 or 7 hours and will end up being smokier. It also smokes the point more evenly and gives you more control over smoking the flat which is far leaner, allowing you to pull it off earlier.

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You don't need a smoker to have a good Brisket BBQ.  Don't get me wrong, I have a weber bullet and love smoking....but the following recipe has won raves for BBQ.  Lifted from the Allrecipes paperback.

Ingredients   

4 pounds lean beef brisket

2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring

1 tablespoon onion salt

1 tablespoon garlic salt

 

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder

salt and pepper to taste

Directions   

1 Pour liquid smoke over brisket. Rub with onion salt and garlic salt. Roll brisket in foil and refrigerate at least overnight.  2 days is even better.

2 Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Place brisket in a large roasting pan. Cover and bake for 5 to 6 hours. Remove from oven, cool, and then slice. Put slices back into pan.

3 In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, ketchup, butter, water, celery salt, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir, and cook until boiling.

4 Pour sauce over meat slices in pan. Cover and bake for 1 more hour.

Is this "lifted" directly from the book? If so, it may be a problem with our Copyright policy. If you've changed it enough to post it here, let me know and we will put it in the archive.

Thanks! :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Do you wrap it in foil during the cook?

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Nope, I wouldn't dream of it except in one condition, the brisket has been stripped of all of its fat and it needs to keep as much moisture as possible. But usually in that instance I'm more likely to mop the brisket with something I've come up with in the kitchen using plenty of evoo mixed with vinegar and whatever I feel like (usually hot sauce and mustard).

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There's a very good Web site dedicated to this. Vitual Weber Bullet. ALthough it's geared specifically towards the Weber Bullet smoker, you can apply the information to a grill or any other smoker.

Also, here's some info from my family's cookbook.

SMOKING FOOD

from Mike

First, follow your smoker's directions. You should get the basics from its documentation. (This is especially true if it is gas or electric; I accept no responsibility if you follow these directions and blow yourself up.) These instructions are for a water smoker, as the recipes are not designed to dry the food but rather slow cook it.

A 'cylinder-style' charcoal and wood blocks/chips water smoker is the most common smoker. It looks much like a capsule or a bullet about 1 yard tall and 18 inches wide. It is divided into 3 sections. The very bottom holds the charcoal or wood; the lower middle is a water basin used to keep the food moist and the upper 2/3s is where the food cooks. Water smokers can be found in hardware stores for about $30 but can go as high as $300 at specialty shops.

One of the main problems in smoking food is the inconsistency of temperature during the cooking process. This is where an electric or gas smoker clearly has the edge. However, you shouldn't use an electric smoker if it is raining or where the ground is wet or damp.

When using charcoal and wood, the secret is to start off hot. Each of the smoking recipes included here use a 250°F (120°C) as the target temperature. It is easier to start hot and maintain a high temperature than it is to boost up a low one three hours into cooking. Also keep in mind the usual variables, season, air circulation, moisture, weather temperature, wind, and quantity and proximity of coals used can hinder or vary cooking times. Where and when are you smoking? Christmas Eve in Chicago is significantly different than Christmas Eve in Sydney, Australia, expect different weather patterns to change your finishing time. A 12-pound turkey can take 4 hours in the summer, 7 or 8 in winter.

Water smokers usually have a thermometer built in. Unfortunately, the temperatures warm, ideal and hot are not very descriptive readings. To get an actual reading I drilled a hole in the cover of mine and inserted a meat thermometer.

The best way to maintain a high temperature is to use a smokestack charcoal starter. (Never use lighter fluid... yeech!) They sell for about $12. It's just a round metal cylinder with a wire screen inside to hold the charcoal. Fill it up with your coals, crumble up a newspaper underneath and light the newspaper. 10-15 minutes later your coals are red hot and ready to add to the smoker.

At first I thought it to be a little ridiculous to buy a gadget like this but it makes sense to use it. Without it, when you put coals in the smoker, the energy that is used to cook the food is transferred to getting the coals hot, not cooking the food. Putting coals in while they are reaching the red hot stage allows additional energy to cook your food and you don't have to wait 20 minutes for the coals to get ready and the temperature to get back to where it was. It works wonderfully.

Another aspect to achieving and maintaining the 250°F temperature concerns water. For the same reason you don't put charcoal in the smoker without firing it up first, boil the water in the microwave before pouring it into the basin. I use a long plastic funnel (designed for putting oil in a car) that works really well for funneling the water through the small opening at the bottom of the smoker. Try to keep the water at a reasonable level. Not too much, not too little. The more water you have, the more energy required to boil it; the less you have, the dryer your meat will be. I usually use between 1 quart (litre) for stuff like ribs to 6 cups (1-1/2 litres) for whole turkeys.

Another problem I have encountered is the charcoal smothers itself out after a few hours. I solved this by buying a good quality metal colander (the kind you use for draining pasta). Inside the smoker I put my coals in the colander. During the cooking grab the colander with a tong and shake it about every hour. The ashes fall through and the coals show their red-hot surface.

Using the right wood can add some nice flavor to your food. Soak the wood for about 15 minutes before adding it to the fire. You want the wood to smolder, not flame up. The listing on the next page, SMOKING FOODS - A GUIDE TO USING THE RIGHT WOOD, should help guide you along. Don't add your wood to the smokestack charcoal starter. After adding the charcoal to the smoker place the wood blocks on top.

Also, if you are smoking for more than two hours, you will need to add additional water and charcoal/wood. I alternate every half hour between adding wood or water. For example, if the food goes on at 2 p.m., I’ll add more charcoal/wood at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and so forth. I’ll add additional water at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 and so on. This method helps make that 250°F (120°C) goal as close to being a constant as you can.

So basically, the steps for a good smoke are:

1. Take the weather into consideration when smoking or barbecuing. Is it windy, raining and cold?

2. Let meat sit in room temperature for 1 hour before starting

3. Start off with a lot of charcoal in a smokestack charcoal starter (the goal is to get to 250°F

4. Soak your wood for about 15 minutes

5. Place a metal colander inside the smoker

6. Boil about 1 quart of water in the microwave

7. Place charcoal and wood in the smoker

8. Insert basin and pour water in

9. Place food on wire racks above the water basin

10. Keep smoker covered because it takes about 30 minutes to recover the heat after opening

11. If you are cooking more than 2 hours, keep an eye on the thermostat and add charcoal/wood and water; alternating every half-hour or when necessary

12. Don't open the cover except to check the temperature of the food (if you inserted a thermometer into the meat) or to remove it. No peeking!

Other things to do

I also experiment with adding things to the water. Sometimes adding 1 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot wine in the water basin along with some fresh herbs, whole peppercorns, mustard seeds, or liquid hickory smoke can add nice flavors.

Stove Top Smoking

I have also smoked foods on my kitchen stove. I use a fish steamer and wood chips. Soak the chips for about 15 minutes and place them in the steamer, no additional water is necessary. Place the tray above the wood, add your food and cook over medium heat. Cooking times are about the same as a barbecue. I've tried this with chicken and fish and have had favorable results.

SMOKING FOODS - A GUIDE TO USING THE RIGHT WOOD

from Mike

Sorted by wood

Alder - A medium, tart smoke taste goes well with beef, fish and game.

Apple - A light, sweet flavor goes well with game, pork and poultry.

Cherry - Distinctive and delicious goes well with beef and game.

Grapevine - A strong smoke flavor goes well with beef and poultry.

Hickory - Heavy smoke flavor goes well with bacon wrapped roasts, fish and lamb.

Maple - Sweet, hearty smoke flavor goes well with bacon wrapped roasts, fish and lamb.

Mesquite - A light smoke flavor goes well with bacon wrapped roasts, beef and pork.

Oak - Heavy smoke flavor goes well with bacon wrapped roasts, jerky and pork.

Pecan - A rich, sweet flavor Goes well with everything!

Sorted by food type

Bacon Wrapped Roasts - Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Oak and Pecan

Beef - Alder, Cherry, Grapevine, Mesquite and Pecan

Fish - Alder, Hickory, Maple and Pecan

Game - Alder, Apple, Cherry and Pecan

Jerky - Oak and Pecan

Lamb - Hickory, Maple and Pecan

Pork - Apple, Mesquite, Oak and Pecan

Poultry - Apple, Grapevine and Pecan

Use about 4-6 wood blocks to start with charcoal barbecues and smokers. Use wood chips with gas or electric barbecues and smokers, or, if you want to smoke over the stove in the kitchen. Soak wood or chips in water for 15 minutes for best results. This prevents the chips from burning too rapidly which gives a bad charred flavor.


Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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My husband picked up a brisket this morning to be smoked for dinner tomorrow. I had to pop by the house on my lunch break, and peeked in the refrigerator. To my horror, he had purchased a rather thin, longish, fully trimmed Costco brisket.

Now, I know very little about the manly art of cooking with fire and smoke, but I'm pretty sure we would've wanted one with some fat on it. My question- can this thing be used? Would the lack of fat mean simply we would do a lot of mopping?

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Much mopping should help. Is it a whole brisket (10 to 15lbs) or a brisket flat (3 to 5 lbs)?

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My husband picked up a brisket this morning to be smoked for dinner tomorrow.  I had to pop by the house on my lunch break, and peeked in the refrigerator.  To my horror, he had purchased a rather thin, longish, fully trimmed Costco brisket.

Now, I know very little about the manly art of cooking with fire and smoke, but I'm pretty sure we would've wanted one with some fat on it.  My question- can this thing be used?  Would the lack of fat mean simply we would do a lot of mopping?

how about brining it? just got a smoker this week and will use it this weekend for the first time. i have read hundreds of articles this week and they mostly seem to suggest brining

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how about brining it?  just got a smoker this week and will use it this weekend for the first time.  i have read hundreds of articles this week and they mostly seem to suggest brining

Brining truns brisket into something else entirely: corned beef.

Smoked corned beef. Yum.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I think it is a brisket flat, but I'll need to check it again when I get home.

However, I do have a ridiculous amount of bacon hanging out in my fridge, that needs to have something done with it soon. This could work out well.

The force is strong here.

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I think it is a brisket flat, but I'll need to check it again when I get home.

However, I do have a ridiculous amount of bacon hanging out in my fridge, that needs to have something done with it soon.  This could work out well.

The force is strong here.

If it's a brisket flat you should be fine, it'll only need 3 or 4 hours in the smoker - just baist it every half hour and your golden.

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The brisket came out tasting quite good, but was still a bit underdone, and we had cooked it for much longer than anticipated. The following day, I went out and purchased two oven-type thermometers (my husband had drilled a hole through the door and stuck a dial thermometer there, but I was suspicous it wasn't reading the correct temp).

Last night, we fired it up and cooked some ribs. The two thermometers that I placed on the top rack agreed almost precisely with each other- and 100-degrees off from the door thermometer.

I can't believe we've been cooking with this thing so far off the target temp. Thank goodness nobody came down with food poisoning! :blink:

(by the way, the ribs were the best that we've made yet!)

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I made my first brisket. No recipe but the goal was a BBQ-style brisket without the smoke.

I started with a 3 lb First cut brisket (trimmed). It was bought for me so its what I had to work with, and apparently the butcher was crazy busy.

I dry rubbed it the night before and Food saver-ed it.

The next morning, I seared it on both sides, covered it in tin foil, and put it on a rack of a roasting pan.

I cooked it for 1.5 hrs per lb at 225 F(actually a little longer) in my electric oven. The meat was good, though a bit dry since there was no fat cap to baste the meat, and I did not mop it. I added a generous amount of homeade sauce afterwords so it was extremely tasty.

However, I have a few questions.

Should I have mopped/basted it?

Should I not have covered it in foil?

Should I have just braised it with a BBQ style braising liquid?

If can find a brisket untrimmed, will searing it set the fat so it won't render off?

I do plan to try again multiple times changing these factors, but if anyone can help elimate some future mistakes from experience, that would be helpful.

I have seen many resources on smoking brisket in a smoker, just none on trying to replicate a similar style, withthout smoke, in an oven.

Thanks for your help.

Msk


Edited by Msk (log)

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First get one with as much fat as possible. If I am not smoking, I use a cooking bag. There is a recipe floating around called Aggie Brisket. I saw it in the Treebeards cook book. You basically put on whatever rub you like and toss it in the baking bag with a couple of cups of strong coffee. Then you cook away at about 250. You can't really get BBQ without a slow hangout in a smoker but this makes a pretty damn good piece of brisket.

Oh yeah... No searing.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Thanks Fifi,

I won't sear next time either. I know it won't compare to smoked brisket. Certainly not one a Texan would approve of. :smile:

I am however, determined to come up with something as good as I can given the constraints..

Msk

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That recipe with the coffee has become the family favorite, short of firing up the smoker. When the kids are in town, I usually do this one because it can pretty much sit in the oven all day while we go tooting around town doing other stuff. I will say that I have added leftover red wine to the coffee and that was good, too. I think the original was heavy on lemon pepper but my general "rub" for a couple of years has been Emeril's Rustic Rub and that is good, too.

I have posted in the This Really Works thread that the big 2 gallon Hefty One Zip baggies are great for putting rub on a big piece of meat and massaging it in.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I'd skip the foil, add a pan of water over your electric heating element to add some humidity during the cook. Try and locate a whole brisket, which may prove difficult but not impossible, if your in NY.

There is always "liquid smoke" you could add to the rub mixture, if you so desire.

Are you under some type of constraint, why it's not possible to cook it over a woodburning fire?

Equally important, is forget the hours per pound method. That is probably what dried it out, which is pretty hard to do.

Use a calibrated thermometer to determine doneness, (195º) or when you stick a fork in it, you will feel no resistence.

woodburner


Edited by woodburner (log)

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All of the "foil" techniques pail before the cooking bag. I don't do foil anymore.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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All of the "foil" techniques pail before the cooking bag. I don't do foil anymore.

fifi,

I thought "foil" was the "Texas crutch". :biggrin:

Just kidding, because your a great gal. The foil debate still rages, some do, some don't, many do but won't admit guilt.

woodburner

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I made my first brisket. No recipe but the goal was a BBQ-style brisket without the smoke.

I started with a 3 lb First cut brisket (trimmed). It was bought for me so its what I had to work with, and apparently the butcher was crazy busy.

I dry rubbed it the night before and Food saver-ed it.

The next morning, I seared it on both sides, covered it in tin foil, and put it on a rack of a roasting pan.

I cooked it for 1.5 hrs per lb at 225 F(actually a little longer) in my electric oven. The meat was good, though a bit dry since there was no fat cap to baste the meat, and I did not mop it. I added a generous amount of homeade sauce afterwords so it was extremely tasty.

However, I have a few questions.

Should I have mopped/basted it?

Should I not have covered it in foil?

Should I have just braised it with a BBQ style braising liquid?

If can find a brisket untrimmed, will searing it set the fat so it won't render off?

I do plan to try again multiple times changing these factors, but if anyone can help elimate some future mistakes from experience, that would be helpful.

I have seen many resources on smoking brisket in a smoker, just none on trying to replicate a similar style, withthout smoke, in an oven.

Thanks for your help.

Msk

:blink::rolleyes:

MsK: I responded to a similar posting on Chowhound in July 03, 2003 on the General Topic Board: "Slow Dry Roast for a Beef Brisket". This recipe response that I posted received over 30 positive email responses and i've also gotten email from posters who tried it for this Chanacuah with success.

This is a fall apart in the mouth, effective recipe.

If your not able to find this recipe, since i'm not computer savy enough to provide a link i'll attempt to one finger type in onto eGullet for your benefit.

Irwin


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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MsK: I responded to a similar posting on Chowhound in July 03, 2003 on the General Topic Board: "Slow Dry Roast for a Beef Brisket". This recipe response that I posted received over 30 positive email responses and i've also gotten email from posters who tried it for this Chanacuah with success.

This is a fall apart in the mouth, effective recipe.

If your not able to find this recipe, since i'm not computer savy enough to provide a link i'll attempt to one finger type in onto eGullet for your benefit.

Irwin

Save those digits Irwin.

This should help:

Maybe you could just cut and paste it right here on this board??

Irwin's Writings

woodburner

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      I have to admit that I don't have this sausage problem when I'm alone in the house, have a couple of hours to kill, and know I won't be disturbed. I just settle in, take it nice and slow, not a care in the world, and everything comes out fine. But with someone else around, forget about it.

      Despite this mishegas, my wife is as supportive as she can be. She humors me patiently about these things, gently chiding, "Slow down! The house isn't on fire. It's just your sausage." Though I know she loves me despite my foibles, that sort of talk just adds fuel to that fire -- I mean, she can speak so glibly because it's not her sausage we're worrying about.

      Even if I am I able to relax, the prospect of sudden, precipitous sausage humiliation comes crashing down upon me. Think of it. All seems to be going so well -- a little too well. I'm keeping things cool, making sure that I'm taking it easy, following the plan step-by-step, trusting my instincts. I smile. I get cocky.

      And then, the frying pan hits the fire, and within moments I'm hanging my head: instead of forming a perfect bind, my sausage breaks and I break down. I want a firm, solid mass, and I'm watching a crumbly, limp link ooze liquid with embarrassing rapidity.

      Given my gender, in the past I've tried to subdue sausage anxiety with predictable contrivances: machines, science, and technique. If there's a tool or a book useful for perfecting my sausage, I've bought or coveted it. I calculate ratios of meat, salt, cure, sugar, and seasonings past the decimal; I measure out ingredients to the gram on digital scales; I poke instant-read thermometers into piles of seasoned meat; I take the grinder blade to my local knife sharpener to get the perfect edge. (We've already covered the stuffer above, of course.) I've got a full supply of dextrose, Bactoferm, and DQ curing salts numbers 1 and 2. The broken binding of my copy of Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie has xeroxes and print-outs from eight other sources, and the pages are filled with crossed-out and recalculated recipes.

      It's the sort of thing that I used to do when I was younger: arm myself with all things known to mankind and blast ahead. It hasn't helped. I've learned the hard way that my hysterical masculine attempt to master all knowledge and technology has led, simply, to more panic and collapse.

      There is, I think, hope. I'm older, and my approach to my sausage has matured. I'm in less of a hurry, I roll with the challenges, and when the house is on fire, I just find a hydrant for my hose.

      If things collapse, well, I try to take the long view, recall the successes of my youth, and keep my head up. I mean, it's just my sausage.

      * * *

      Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

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