MILE LOW CITY - Just two days into the Year of the Horse, the Denver Broncos looked ready for the glue factory by the 12-second mark of Super Bowl XLVIII, begging the question: Was this the Worst Super Bowl Sunday Ever?
Like most Americans, I woke up yesterday morning thinking it was going to be a good day… but it started with the news that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was dead and went downhill from there. Reeling a bit from this – the dude was my age, after all – I then heard just enough snippits of Terry Bradshaw’s father dying to think that everyone was talking about Terry.
Lord help me, the first thing that went through my mind was that he’d already had a pretty long shelf life for a football player. Bradshaw may be better known as the caricature FOX yokel these days, but that would’ve cast a pretty dark cloud over the rest of the festivities none the less… and I didn’t want to consider it. Condolences to him, but I was relieved he’s still with us and thus there was still hope it was going to be one of the great games, with so many good story lines. The most compelling of which was that I’d gotten up early and rubbed down a big 13-pound piece of Costco brisket. It was already smoking away in my big charcoal barbecue (and it wasn’t the only thing smoking all day, ahem). The day was still young and full of hope…
You saw the game, even if I use that term loosely. It was a throwback Super Bowl – to the days when the NFC routinely blew out teams like Denver every year – when we were accustomed to the game sucking. If you’re going to suffer a gaffe like Denver’s center Manny Ramirez–another Manny being Manny - you want to do it on the first play, when there’s lots of time to come back. Of course, you have to get a first down usually before you can get a touchdown, and the game was already more or less out of hand before they got their first one. They played like somebody had sprinkled a little crack into their super bowls. Forced to go for it on fourth down and failing right before the half meant the rare +175 no-score-in-last-two-minutes-of-the-first-half finally came through for my buddy Montana John.
By the third quarter the question was whether or not the most prolific offense ever would be shut out. By the fourth quarter the only question was whether we’d get the highest scoring or biggest blow out in Super Bowl history, though by the end both of those marks still belong to the 55-10 shellacking John Elway’s Broncos suffered in XXIV.
The end was so anticlimactic even Richard Sherman was subdued in his post-game interviews.
Now back to my brisket. I’d never done one of these before, but managed to meticulously keep my charcoal grill around 250 degrees for some low and slow smoking with hickory chips. No mop, but I had hit it with an injector full of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and the rub I’d made (the usual paprika/cumin/salt/black, white, and cayenne pepper), pumping it up before heaving it on the cool side of the grill. I kept it fueled through the front, never opening the lid – because if you’re looking, you ain’t cooking.
After about six hours the meat was around 170 degrees, and it was time for the “Texas cheat,” wrapping it up tight in foil, then adding some more coals in there to bring the heat up. I flipped it over so the fatty side was now on the bottom – to protect it from getting too scorched. Two more hours like this. The biggest fear with the brisket is that it’s easy to dry out and become tough, but I’m happy to report complete, juicy success. This stuff fell apart under the knife, it melted in your mouth. With some cornbread and slaw, it turned the worst Super Sunday ever into one of the best. Now it’s just a few more weeks until pitchers and catchers report.
Come back tomorrow for a man that catches his own pitches, Fake Sandy Alderson/Big Al Sternberg/Suburban Matt.
Filed in: West Coast Craig