As I open the gate to enter the backyard of a potential client, I notice the backyard is in need of a complete overhaul. From the landscaping, pool, and patio, everything could use a burst of energy. Mundane colors dominate this backyard. The sun casts through the trees and I see a glimmer out of the corner of my eye. I notice a sparkling chrome handle of a bbq grill. The 48 inch, 800 thousand btu monstrosity, do all things, rotisserie, led light grill, is staring at me. Like a head to head threat. He brought along the warming tray, quad door with pull out shelves, the quad side burner, the Big Green Egg, Keg cooler, and 900 can refrigerator. This setup is ready for war! Upon first glance I notice how clean this all is. We have a $39 thousand dollar weekend warrior’s wet dream sitting out in the corner of this yard…. But it looks brand new. As if it’s never been used… I ask the client. “and what are we doing with the bbq area?” Oh that? We want to keep all of that.” I go further and ask how long they have had it and if they use it. The client proceeds to tell me that they use the grill only. They don’t really entertain. They don’t use the accessories. They have never once put a keg in the kegerator.

I see this type of thing time and time again. A designer’s fantasy land and a bbq unit that is way overdone. Takes up valuable space in the yard, and simply is a waste. I see things moving in the direction of more in the world of outdoor kitchens and I often ask myself why on earth someone would invest so much money into a space they may only use once a month or every other month to show off to their friends. The majority of grill spaces are melodramatic and with a few exception, are the norm.

I am taking a stand right now to try to make a push to go in a different direction.

Many societies around the world use cooking and the stove as the communal gathering place. The spot where ideas are discussed and improvements are made in their lives. From weddings to funerals, we see various cultures cooking over live flames. They use it as a part of the entertainment. A part of the mood. To show appreciation for those gathered.

Create a space with an open flame. From the large stand up Mongolian style grills that I have recently seen as a push from some modernists – to the Ceramic Kamado style grill, to the highly desired pizza oven. We can do so much more with our outdoor kitchen spaces. Sterile and repetitive is what I’ve seen. How many different ways can create a bar top? How many ways can we create an island? Create spaces for gathering. Create spaces that encourage use and fellowship. Build structures that have open flames so we can cook like cavemen!


I want to pass along a little brisket love recipe here as a token of my appreciation. I love the slow and low and the impact that time, heat, vapor, and smoke will do to a beautiful piece of meat.
8-12 lb brisket. – Full lobe – Cleaned and Trimmed
Recommend Certified Angus
1T Pink Salt (nitrate)
1/3 C Sugar
2 T Fine Ground Espresso
1 C Brown Sugar
¼ C Ground Cumin
½ C Non Sweet Cocoa Powder
¾ C Fine Ground Espresso
¼ C Paprika
¼ C Garlic Powder
2 T Fresh Ground Pepper
After carefully selecting the brisket have the butcher clean and trim. Don’t worry too much about keeping the
outer fat, as it prevents the penetration of smoke when kept. Brisket should be rinsed and dried. Cut off that
gnarly brown grey fat!
Mix all Dry Brine Ingredients together
Gently coat the brisket with dry brine
Place brisket on a grated pan to allow for air to fully encapsulate the brisket.
Place panned brisket in a refrigerator for 4-24 hours to complete dry brining process.
This process breaks down fats, removes moisture, and aids in flavoring.
Using lump charcoal or wood, get the grill to stabilize at 225-250. Use a disposable aluminum pan as a water
pan and place in grill. You want a very small, yet hot fire. I would encourage you to obtain the book, “Meathead”
from Amazon which will explain proper fire techniques.
Remove Brisket from the refrigerator.
Rinse all dry brine ingredients off of the brisket.
Pat dry and brush on a little oil of your choice.
Liberally coat the brisket with the dry rub and pat to allow excess to fall.
Place the brisket in the bbq on the opposite side of the coals.
I recommend buying a remote thermometer to monitor the temp the bbq (thermometers on top are never
accurate) as well as the piece of meat
Lightly Sprinkle wood ships of your choosing over the hot coals to engage smoking. We want a blue smoke. We
do not want to stifle the fire. We only need a little some for flavoring.
Maintain a grill temp of 225-250 for 6 hours. Every 30 mins to an hour, sprinkle some wood chips over the hot
Maintain water in your water pan. I am not a fan the “spritz” or the “spray” either. All we need is the water pan
to create a humid cooking zone.
As the temp of the meat starts to creep up, it will likely stop rising around 150-160 degrees depending on your
elevation. This is known as the “stall”.
At this point, meat cannot really take on any more smoke, only heat.
You can now turn on your oven to 225-250 (lower the better, but takes linger) or continue to cook on the grill,
but there is not really a need unless you have no oven space.nick-buchholz-bloom-outdoor-environments-tributary-revelation-21
Remove that beautiful piece of meat and thoroughly wrap it in a few layers of parchment paper.
After the parchment paper, wrap with heavy duty aluminum foil.
We can also pierce our wrapped meat with a thermometer. Wrap the entry point with foil as well to prevent any
moisture loss.
This is where we wait and monitor the rising temp of the meat. With brisket, there is a range of acceptable
temps depending on what you want to do with the meat.
If you want to cut thick juicy pieces, stop cooking at 198.
If you want to “pull” or “shred” the meat, cook to 203.
Once your desired temp has been achieved, pull the meat from the oven and allow to rest for 2 hours. As much
as you want, refrain from opening the wrap.
This rest allows the fats to re-congeal and firm up a bit.
Now, Slice or pull, and enjoy.
Top with a little apple cider vinegar and you are done.
I’ll hit you with the slaw recipe next time!
Nick Buchholz
Bloom Outdoor Environments