Pandemic Brisket

Sliced BrisketAt the beginning of the pandemic last year, I wasn’t dealing well with it. The scare TP and *everything else* phase hit a little hard on top of all of the other panic. So I smoked a brisket. Here’s the general procedure:

Equipment / supplies

Rub

  • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Brisket

I had better luck with brisket from Sam’s Club than Costco, but this was at the early phases of the pandemic, so that might have been part of the problem. 10 lb brisket, good marbling and a fairly trim layer of fat on one side.

Smoking

40% oak wood and 60% charcoal aiming for 250-275℉ on the hood thermometer. I let the oak wood burn fuel for the fire with whatever smoke it produced. I laid the brisket fat side up at the other end of the charcoal grill chamber from the smoker box and maintained charcoal/wood fire for 5 hours.

Low grill indirect heat

After about 5 hours, I’d gotten as much smoke as I wanted, so I put the brisket on an old cookie sheet and wrapped fairly tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil and put in the propane grill chamber opposite the burner that was lit as low as it would burn. At this point I stuck in the digital thermometer and monitored for 195℉. Once it hit target temperature, I brought it inside and let it cool a bit (mostly to make sure everything else is ready).

Leftovers

I know it will be blasphemy to most, but you can carve up extra thick slices (~1 inch thick) and freeze, for later slow warming in the toaster oven.


Vortex Race 3 TKL LED Programming for Mac

I decided to switch to my Vortex Race 3 TKL for a more programming-centric job from the Vortex Tab 90M that felt a little better for email and spreadsheets. The Race 3 has Cherry MX Silent Reds vs. the Vortex Tab 90M’s Cherry MX Silent Blacks.

A couple of things that were a little bit difficult to follow were:

  1. How to set up the Race 3 for Mac (it had been used on a Windows PC most recently and never really used on a Mac). This Reddit thread gives some suggestions on how to optimize that.
  2. How to program the LEDs (for just basic effects):

The LED programming was fairly simple once I understood it (see here for a copy of the manual). The cool LED effects when you type are accessible by pressing the Pn key + one of the ‘1’ through ‘5’ keys. ‘4’ and ‘5’ have multiple effects:

Pn + ‘4’ cycles different “display single color LED mode”s which means that the interactive LED effects appear in context with your

  • [no effect?]
  • Interactive mode – keys light up as you type.
  • Flash vortex mode – keys pulse around the keyboard originating from your keystrokes
  • Aurora mode – keys pulse in color around the keyboard originating from your keystrokes

Pn + ‘5’ cycles different “Display full color LED mode”s which means “display on all the keys regardless of context”:

  • [no effect]
  • Full key light mode – just 100% on
  • Breath mode – keyboard pulses
  • Vortex mode – RGBs cycle in different phases with each other.
  • Rain drop mode – random drops of “color” appear on the keys

Pn + X – brightness down for the above effects

Pn + V – brightness up for the above effects

Pn + [< key] and Pn + [> key] are LED speed up and down.