Red-hot grilling tips for the Fourth of July

July Fourth begs for a magnificent grill party. It's summer, it's a great celebration of the nation's birth and everyone is outdoors and in party mode. Why hold back on July Fourth? Why not grill everything? With a couple of days' planning, you can really do something amazingly and deliciously different.

Here are four great ideas for the barbecue. There's no reason why you can't do all of the these dishes, although it does require that planning. You will have to consider how many people you're cooking for, think about how large your grill is and make plans for placing all the dishes on the grill.

Getting organized for easy grilling

There's something else many people forget when they grill, but it makes everything easier. Remember to set up a little work station next to the grill to put foods that are cooking too fast, spatulas, mitts and your drink. Even a crummy card table will do. When building your grill fire, remember to pile up the coals to one side of the grill so you also have a “cool” side to move food that is either cooking too fast or is flaring up.

Getting spicy with 'angry chicken'

You may have heard of the pasta dish called penne all'arrabbiata, angry pasta, so-called because of the use of piquant chiles. This is chicken arrabbiata. It's “angry” because it is highly spiced with cayenne pepper.

This chicken gets grilled so if you use the breasts instead of the thighs it will cook quicker. You can leave the chicken skin on or remove it. Crispy skin is delicious, but trying to get the skin crispy on a grill is tricky because of flare-ups. You'll have to grill by means of indirect heat, pushing the coals to one side.

Finding the right fish for the grill

Many people shy away from grilling whole fish for a variety of reasons. One way to make grilling fish easier is to place a rectangular cast iron griddle over a portion of the grilling grate and cook the fish on top.

If you do that, the griddle must be on the grill for at least 45 minutes to get sufficiently hot before cooking. I suggest several fish below, but it all depends on what's locally available.

Parsley-stuffed grilled porgy and mackerel are two small-fish dishes ideal for a fast grill. You may not necessarily have these two fish available, so use whatever is the freshest whole fish of like size.

I like the contrast between the mild tasting white flesh of the porgies, also called scup, and the darker, denser meat of the mackerel. Because 50 percent of the weight of a whole fish is lost in the trimming these, 4 pounds of fish will yield 2 pounds or less of fillet.

But you can use any fish: The red fish in the photo is a Pacific fish called idiot fish, kinki fish, or shortspine thornyhead (Sebastolobus alascanus). It has delicious soft flesh.

Complementing with the right grilled sides

I think it's always nice to have grilled vegetables with any grill party. Grilled red, green and yellow peppers make a very attractive presentation. Their flavor is a natural accompaniment to grilled meats. The charred skin of the peppers is peeled off before serving, leaving the smoky flavor. You don't have to core or halve the peppers before grilling.

Chicken Arrabbiata

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts (skinless, optional)



1. Prepare a hot charcoal fire to one side of the grill or preheat one side of a gas grill on high for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the onion, tomato paste, olive oil, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste until well blended.

3. Flatten the chicken thighs or breasts by pounding gently with the side of a heavy cleaver or a mallet between two sheets of wax paper. Coat the chicken with the tomato paste mixture.

4. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, and cook until the chicken is dark and springy to the touch, turning once, about 20 to 24 minutes (less time for breasts). Baste with any remaining sauce and serve.

Meet ‘RaBBi-Q’ — Kansas City’s kosher BBQ star

Mendel Segal wears two particular titles that each reflect a devotion to tradition, imply an unending pursuit of precision and command immediate respect.

One is rabbi. The other is pitmaster.

The 33-year-old Orthodox rabbi (and follower of the late Lubavitcher rebbe) is readying to oversee the fourth annual Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival on Sunday, an event that is expected to attract as many as 4,000 attendees.

Segal — known as “RaBBi-Q” to his fans and fellow competitors on the circuit — is a kosher barbecue champion in more ways than one, standing (and cooking) at the forefront of a rising movement within a distinctly American subculture.

“I just want to energize people,” Segal said from his home in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas. “Kosher can be fun.”

After a long, slow burn, kosher barbecue is catching fire: New restaurants and food trucks are popping up from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the number of kosher barbecue events across the country has tripled, from a handful to more than a dozen. Many credit Segal’s passion and leadership as a major spark.

“Mendel’s been instrumental in changing kosher barbecue everywhere you can see,” said Mordechai Striks, a New York City psychologist and paramedic who took home the all-around title at last year’s Southern New England Kosher BBQ Championship. “He’s involved in every competition. People look to him because he runs a damn tight ship and he does it right.”

In the few years since he dived whole hog — well, minus the hog — into the national scene, Segal has racked up wins in kosher contests as well as on the mainstream barbecue circuit. In the latter he is seen as a worthy competitor and not just a curiosity — long, bristly beards aren’t so uncommon among barbecue buffs, though the tzitzit, or ritual fringes, worn by observant Jewish men under their clothes sometimes raise eyebrows. This summer he launched his own line of Mendel’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce and BBQ Rub (“Don’t worry, it’s kosher,” the packaging reassures), available in seven states.

“It happens that I’m obsessed with barbecue,” said Simon Majumdar, a Food Network regular who met Segal in 2012 while in Kansas City researching his book “Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America With My Fork.” “And what I say is that Mendel’s not making kosher barbecue — he’s making really, really terrific barbecue that happens to be kosher.”


Segal is as surprised as anyone to find an apron and tongs are now the tools of his trade. While he saw rabbinic ordination as a way of capping off his yeshiva training, professional ambitions led him to the wholesale diamond business and commercial real estate. Family — specifically, his wife’s — brought him to Kansas from his native Chicago just in time for the 2008 recession. Though he had no experience in food, “other than as an avid eater,” he applied for an opening in the kosher deli department of a local grocery store.

“I’m living in my in-laws’ basement with my wife and one kid, and a job’s a job, so you do what you gotta do, right?” he said.

Regular customers started referring to the department as “Mendel’s,” and contacts led to his current job as executive director of the community’s kosher supervisory Vaad HaKashruth in 2012. His first order of business was to plan a fundraiser.

Around this time he’d gotten his first taste of authentic Kansas City smoked brisket at a kosher event specially catered by Jack Stack, one of the most respected barbecue joints in town.

“I was like, ‘Wow!’” he said. “It was like nothing I’d ever had before.”

Inspired by a longstanding kosher contest in Memphis, one of Kansas City’s rival barbecue cities, Segal enlisted a couple of local Jewish enthusiasts and a professional adviser: Andy Groneman, a cooking instructor and 20-year vet of the competitive barbecue circuit. Segal’s committee recruited a dozen barbecue teams, mostly first-timers, and was hopeful the August 2012 event could draw as many as a thousand people. More than twice that showed up.

For the first festival, Segal had hired a kosher caterer to sell barbecue concessions. The second year he took on the task of slow cooking more than a ton of meat himself.

“It was just crazy,” he said. “But it went well. And the next year I got better at it.”

Segal is proudest of his burnt ends, which in Kansas City’s melting pot of barbecue styles is considered the local delicacy. (When a brisket is done cooking, the point end is returned to the smoker until it develops charred “bark” and is then served cubed or chopped.) The most satisfying moment of his young cooking career came when he overheard two cops working the event: “One said to the other, ‘I wonder where they got these burnt ends from — these are the best burnt ends I’ve ever had.’”

Soon, Segal was hitting the road, competing in barbecue fests as often as his schedule would allow.

His mission is twofold: “First, I want people who keep kosher to not have to suffer with subpar food categories,” he said. “If they want barbecue, they should be able to get good barbecue.”

To that end, Segal has facilitated the growth of several new kosher barbecue festivals, from Long Island to Chicago to Dallas. (See below.)

The second goal, however, is broader. Segal brings in professionals to do demos, and many of the competitors are non-Jewish and/or non-kosher-keeping cooks intrigued by the challenge of the constraints of kashrut. (Pork, big in most contests, cannot be used, of course, and sauces and rubs must be strictly kosher.)

From the beginning, Segal sought the blessing of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the governing body of competitive barbecue that this year will sanction more than 450 contests worldwide. Segal’s became the first-ever kosher event on the list, and this year Dallas and Fairfield, Connecticut, are following suit.

Currently, the kosher contests are part of the K.C. society’s Competitor Series, which doesn’t award standings points or qualify teams for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in October — the largest such event on earth, with more than 550 teams. A kosher competition could never meet the society’s current championship rules, which require entries in pork ribs and pork butt (Segal enlists “my treif guy” to cook the pork on separate equipment for the society’s events). But the rabbi has been in talks with society officials about creating a kosher subdivision with its own playoff and championship.

Once the whirlwind of the weekend passes, Segal will hit the stretch run of the season and then focus on the next steps for his product line, such as introducing prepared items that can ship to kosher-food deserts. And of course he’ll keep spreading the barbecue faith.

Segal’s short-term goal is to enter the American Royal, where he would make make history in more ways than one: first rabbi to compete, first Orthodox Jew to compete, first Shabbat to be kept at the Royal. And since this year’s event also falls during the intermediate days of Sukkot, “I guess I’d have to build the first-ever sukkah at the Royal, too,” he said, laughing.

Kosher Competition Heats Up

In the past few years, kosher-certified competitive barbecue has caught fire, sparking new contests across the country. Here’s a tasty sampling of this year’s coming festivities.

Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival
Overland Park, Kansas
Aug. 16

Southern New England Kosher BBQ Championship
Fairfield, Connecticut
Aug. 30

Long Island Kosher BBQ Championship
Westbury, New York
Date TBA

Totally Kosher Rib Burn-Off
Pepper Pike, Ohio
Sept. 7

Charlotte Kosher BBQ Championship
Charlotte, North Carolina
Sept. 7

Atlanta Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival
Dunwoody, Georgia
Oct. 18

ASBEE Kosher Barbecue Championship
Memphis, Tennessee
Oct. 18

Dallas Kosher Barbecue Championship
Dallas, Texas
Oct. 25

JCC Barbecue Cook-Off & Festival
Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct. 25

The Texas Kosher BBQ Championship
San Antonio, Texas
Nov. 8

Spicy summer steak and potato salad

Grilling season is still in its prime. Take those leftover steaks and turn them into this quick and delicious cold summer salad. Another bonus? It's a one plate meal!


1 pound Grilled steak

12 small red potatoes

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, to taste

2 Tablespoons finely minced ginger

1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh chives

4-5 ounces baby arugula


4 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter (or margerine)

¼ Cup white or red wine vinegar

Cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste.


1. Rinse potatoes under running water. Slice in half, but do not peel. Boil until just tender and drain.

2. While the potatoes boil, melt the butter. Rapidly whisk vinegar into hot butter. Whisk in cracked black pepper and salt to butter/vinegar mixture.

3. While the potatoes are still hot, slice in half or quarters and marinate in salad dressing.

4. Slice cold grilled steak into thin strips about two inches long. Mince chives, garlic and ginger. Gently stir steak, chives, garlic, and ginger into potato mixture and chill until cold.

5. Mix in baby arugula and serve immediately with your favorite bread and sliced melon.

For more recipes, visit:

Memorial Day BBQ: Beer Can Chicken

Memorial Day means it's time to fire up the BBQ, raid the local farmer's market and crack open an ice cold beer (or soda).

This recipe for Beer Can Chicken comes from my co-worker's dad, Barry Hensiek.

Thanks, Barry!


1 whole roasting chicken

1 tall can of beer, half-full

1 small onion diced

1 med-large lemon cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic powder*

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves*

*use other spices if you prefer


1. Prep your BBQ–make sure the top is big enough to completely cover a whole chicken standing upright.

2. Season/rub the chicken, inside and out, with most of the salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary or other spices that you choose to use, reserving a couple pinches of each.

3. Put about 3/4 of the lemon and onion pieces in the chicken cavity

4. Open up the top of a beer can with a church key to remove as much of the top as possible, or use a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut yourself.  Drink about half the beer (or toss if you don't want to drink it).  

5. Put remaining spices, onion and lemon in the beer can with the beer.

6. When ready, place the chicken, bottom side first, on the can, so that it is sitting up on it.  Place the chicken on the can onto your prepared BBQ so that it is supported, sort of like a tripod–with the legs and can acting as the three points of support. You can put a small aluminum pan under it to keep the BBQ cleaner and to collect juices.  

7. Cook  for about an hour over indirect heat with the BBQ top closed and inside temp between 325 – 375.  The internal temperature should reach about 160 in the breast and about 170 in the thigh when it's done.  Depending on your BBQ, you may want to rotate the chicken about half way through to get even cooking.   

8. Time to remove the beer can! Be careful when you remove the chicken from the can–there will be lots of juice and beer, and it will all be super hot. Let the chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.

9. Eat! Eat some more!

Calendar Picks and Clicks: June 30 – July 6, 2012



When Jewish sisters Selma and Jenny agree to discuss their Holocaust experiences with the younger generation of Osnabrück, the German city of their youth, they’re flooded by emotions and memories. Back home in Paris, the 80-something sisters open up about the anti-Semitism that colored their past as they cook in the kitchen together. Written by Helene Cixous and directed by Georges Bigot. Don’t miss tonight’s U.S. premiere. Sat. Through July 28. 7 p.m. $20 (general), $15 (students and seniors). Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. (310) 838-4264.


DJ Jermaine Dupri knows talent. The producer-songwriter-rapper behind hip-hop indie label So So Def has collaborated with Mariah Carey, Nelly, Da Brat and Bow Wow, among others. Tonight, Dupri spins for Bet Tzedek’s annual fundraiser, now in its 16th year. DJ Chris Kennedy, a regular on the club circuit, opens. Sat. 9 p.m. $100 (general), $175 (VIP). The BookBindery Building, 8870 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (323) 939-0506.



Experience American treasures from the Gershwin songbook at Grand Performances, featuring pianists Alan Chapman and Victoria Kirsch, sopranos Karen Benjamin and Shana Blake Hill, tenor Haqumai Waring Sharpe and bass-baritone Cedric Berry. Sun. 8 p.m. Free. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown. (213) 687-2159.



Fanilows rejoice! The pop singer-songwriter behind the hits “Mandy,” “Copacabana,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “I Write the Songs,” “Can’t Smile” and more performs at the Bowl. Surviving the constant changes of the music biz, he remains a strong force in the world of adult contemporary. Tonight, Manilow aims to please during this holiday spectacular. The program also features fireworks, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Sarah Hicks. Mon. Through July 4. 7:30 p.m. $13-$220. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. (323) 850-2000.



The Getty retrospective showcases the Viennese master’s fascination with the human figure. Featuring more than 100 drawings by the artist, including some never exhibited before in North America, “The Magic of Line” traces Klimt’s evolution from early academic realism and historical subjects in the 1880s to his celebrated Modernist icons that broke new ground in the early 20th century. Tue. Free. Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300.


The Broadway star (“Wicked,” “Hairspray”) and singer-songwriter appears in Los Feliz to perform songs from her second album, “The Offering.” Each ticket purchased comes with a signed copy of the upcoming album, due out in September. Tue. 9 p.m. $30-300. The Rockwell, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 661-6163.



The folks at JConnectLA, The Chai Center and AMIT host a party with food, music and good times at a private residence in Beverly Hills. Young professionals (ages 21-39) only. ID required. Wed. 2-6 p.m. $13 (advance, until July 2), $18 (door). 602 N. Whittier Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 391-7995.



An eclectic lineup of musicians, including the Yuval Ron Ensemble, vocalist Rabbi Hagai Batzri and Roma musicians Ferit Benli and Ali Durac, perform Israeli, Armenian, Greek and Turkish songs about the Mediterranean Sea during tonight’s concert. Israeli dancer Maya Karasso also performs. Presented by Mati. Thu. 8 p.m. $20 (advance), $30 (door). Temple Emanuel, 300 N. Clark Drive, Beverly Hills. (818) 612-8771.



Set in Italy, writer-director Woody Allen’s latest follows the stories of various people — some American, some Italian — and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into. The ensemble cast includes Alec Baldwin as a writer revisiting the scenes of an old love; Jesse Eisenberg as a young man torn between his girlfriend (Greta Gerwig) and an aspiring actress (Ellen Page); Penelope Cruz as a woman of the streets; Roberto Benigni as an ordinary Roman contending with sudden fame; and Allen as an eccentric opera director who comes to Rome with his wife (Judy Davis). Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children under 12 and seniors). Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7, 6731 Fallbrook Ave., West Hills; Laemmle’s NoHo 7, 5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, 1332 Second St., Santa Monica. (310) 478-3836.

RECIPE: “Power” BBQ Brisket

For the full article, click here.

Day 1: Prep time 30 minutes. Resting time 4-12 hours.

Day 2: Prep time one hour. Cooking time approximately four hours. Resting time up to two hours.


1. Brisket — packer’s cut with the fat cap on — at room temperature. Packer’s cut means you’re getting the whole thing with the point and flat. Get this from a butcher who will give it to you with the proper amount of fat on it.

2. Use enough of a rub to cover the brisket generously on all sides or to your taste. Use any spices you like or my recipe below.

3. Thirty-two ounces of beef broth or au jus from bouillon or concentrate — which means 32 ounces of boiling water in which you dissolve the bouillon or concentrate.

4. Injector.

5. Giant plastic brining bag (like the kind you would use for a turkey or to store sweaters).

6. Wood chips, dry. I suggest oak and a little bit of apple, but hickory and pecan are good, too.

7. Fat separator.

8. A blanket, preferably heavy like the kind movers use to wrap furniture. A couple of towels will also work.

9. Meat thermometer.


(Steps 1-4 can and should be done a day before.)

1. Boil 32 ounces of water and put in the number of bouillon cubes or concentrate called for on the container.

2. Trim any excess fat from the brisket so that you’re left with about a one-quarter-inch fat cap on one side. If there is any silver skin and membrane, remove it. The butcher can do this for you.

3. Inject about half the liquid from Step 1 into the bottom of the brisket — the side with the fat cap is the top — making sure you’ve covered the entire area. The fat cap, in addition to serving as a source of moisture, also provides a barrier to moisture escaping.

4. Put the brisket into the brining bag. Pour the rest of the liquid into the bag and seal it, making sure you’ve gotten out as much air as possible. Let it rest in the refrigerator for anywhere from four to 12 hours.

5. When you’re ready to cook, get your smoker to 325 degrees with the cover on. Once you’re there, put in the wood chips. If your smoker doesn’t go to 325, get it as high as it will go and adjust the cooking time. For example, if your smoker only goes to 275 degrees, add 30 minutes or so. (See separate instructions below for wood chips or if you don’t have a chamber for the wood.)

6. Take the brisket out of the bag and put it on a rack sitting on top of a cooking tray. I use a large cooling rack. Allow any excess liquid to drain into the tray. Don’t pat the brisket dry. You need the moisture for the rub to stick.

7. Put on as much rub as you like, but cover the brisket on all sides.

8. When your smoker is at 325 and after you’ve put in the wood chips, put the brisket on the grill fat cap down, put the cover back on the cooker and let it cook for about 2 1/2 hours, assuming it’s at least a 15-pounder.

9. At the end of this time, take the brisket off and put it in a pan. Cover it with foil. Put the pan back on the grill for 1 1/2 hours or until the point reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees. Optional: Since the actual smoking of the brisket has ended, you can move the pan into an oven.

(I’m assuming that you know what the point and the flat of the brisket are. If you don’t, please ask your butcher because it’s easier to show than to describe it.)

10. Once you’ve done all this, take the brisket out of the smoker and out of the pan, but leave the foil on top. Put it on a large piece of foil and wrap it up. Then wrap it in one of those blankets that moving companies use to wrap your dresser and let it rest for a couple of hours.

11. Take the drippings in the pan and pour them into a fat separator. Pour off the fat. Save the rest.

12. After a couple of hours, take out the brisket, slice it against the grain and brush each slice with a little of the drippings.

4 tbs. dark brown sugar

4 tbs. chili powder

4 tbs. paprika

4 tbs. salt

2 tbs. garlic powder

2 tbs. onion powder

2 tbs. black pepper

2 tbs. cayenne

4 tsps. dry mustard

4 tsps. ground cumin

Put everything in a bowl and mix well. Alternatively, put everything in a plastic bag and shake well to mix. Apply as much or as little as you like to the meat. Put the rest in the freezer.

Wood chips are what you burn to create the smoke that flavors the meat. There are two schools of thought about how to prepare the chips. One says soak them in water for a half hour before you put them on the heat. This will produce a “heavy” smoke.

I do not soak the chips. I believe it is easier to control the amount of smoke that is getting into the meat if the smoke is somewhat lighter. So, take a handful of chips and put them into the chamber of your smoker.

If you don’t have a chamber for the chips, and depending on what cooker you’re using, do one of the following:

If you’re using a grill like a Weber kettle, put a handful of chips right on the coals before you put the meat on the grill. Let the chips start to produce smoke before you put the meat on. Make sure of your temperature.

If you’re using a gas grill, it should have a smoker box, but if it doesn’t, make a small pouch out of aluminum foil and put the chips in the pouch. Put the pouch on one side of the grill, directly on the flame. Put the brisket on the other side of the grill and make sure the burners are off on the side where the brisket is. This is indirect heat.

‘Power’ Brisket: Adding Barbecue Flavor for Pesach

For the recipe, click here.

My friend called from New York the other day. He wanted to get my recipe for smoked barbecue brisket so that he could make it for Passover.

“I’m really tired of bad brisket,” he said wearily.

I think he really meant dry brisket. Face it, brisket is among the toughest cuts of beef, but one that, if properly prepared, pays off mightily.

The barbecue brisket I usually make is one that cooks for more than 12 hours, usually 16. That’s the low-and-slow method. I know my buddy has neither the patience nor the experience to tackle this. So, I gave him a shortcut: The “power method.”

The power method is to raise the temperature from the traditional 220 F to 325 F (and no higher, please) during the entire cooking time. The brisket comes out tender and full of flavor. There is, however, one trade-off: little to no bark — the crunchy exterior on the meat.

The reason, as you’ll see when you study the recipe, is that for a good portion of the cooking time, you’re actually steaming the meat. Nothing inherently wrong with this, but that’s what is happening. (I have a method for getting bark on this recipe. You can e-mail me for it at

The final product more closely resembles the traditional Passover brisket than it does, say, a brisket done for a party at my house. The value you add by smoking the meat for a couple of hours is a distinctive flavor that does not depend wholly on seasoning or marinating.

To be clear, while the cooking involves as little as four hours, the process can take up to six or seven. Still, it’s a lot less than the 12 to 16 hours you could spend and might not have on any given day.

The person who shared this with me is a barbecue champion, Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South in Georgia. Mixon basically makes a living competing across the country. He applies “power” to his championship brisket and ribs.

I give Mixon credit for everything here if it comes out right, and I take all the blame if it doesn’t, because I have adjusted his recipe to my taste and the notion that your smoker/cooker is not a professional version.

I’m going to give you the basics here and you can find the entire recipe online at

First, buy a brisket of about 15 to 20 pounds. However, it can be any size and you can adjust accordingly. You’ll also need an injector, the kind that has the plunger.

Your heat source and cooker — grill or smoker — and the wood you use is completely up to you, but I encourage you not to use mesquite to smoke. I like a mix of oak and a little apple or just hickory.

I have used many different smokers, and they all work if they’re large enough. I would not recommend smoking the brisket on a wok, because the heat and smoke easily escape. A stove-top smoker can work well, but make sure it’s one with a dome lid. (I like the one from Nordicware that resembles a Weber kettle.) Beware, however, that smoking indoors can result in a lot of smoke — indoors.

No matter what cooker you select, you are going to use an indirect heat method. This means putting the meat in a place that is not directly over heat. Usually, this means the meat goes on one side of the grill, while on the other side is the fire.

If you have a gas grill, follow the instructions it has for using a smoker box and wood chips. If you like barbecue sauce, serve it on the side. I’m not big on it with brisket, but this recipe will produce enough jus to use as a dipping sauce.

You don’t have to be a barbecue master to make this work, but you do have to pay attention to each step and be careful with the temperature. The recipe is easier to execute if you do it over two days.

Day 1 will involve about a half hour of preparation injecting the brisket with a bouillon concoction, and then you put it in a giant brining bag and into the refrigerator for at least four hours. Day 2, you cook. Preparation time is about an hour, cooking is about four and the time to let the brisket rest is about two hours.

So, if you think you’re up to the challenge, click here for the recipe.  Let me know how it turns out.

Alejandro Benes is a barbecue aficionado and a partner in Southern California’s Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill restaurant group. Benes recently prepared his brisket for 80 of his “closest” friends at an East Coast party.




Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters: “18 Pockets of Joy” Golf Tournament fundraiser to help send underserved youths to Camp Max Straus. Lost Canyons Golf Club, Simi Valley. (323) 761-8675, ext. 30.

Paramount Classics: “Mad Hot Ballroom,” a documentary that takes you inside the lives of 11-year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing opens this week. Check local listings.

Temple Emanuel: 6:30 p.m. ’50s dinner dance and celebration. Dinner, live music and dancing. $180+. 300 N. Clark Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 278-7749.

Ford Amphitheatre: 7:30 p.m. French group Bratsch performs Gypsy, Russian, Armenian and Yiddish songs, as well as their own. $30-$40.

2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 461-3673.



Temple Ner Maarav: Dinner honoring Holocaust survivors. Jeffrey Mausner of the Department of Justice speaks about prosecuting Nazi war criminals in the United States. Screening of “Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust” follows dinner. 17730 Magnolia Blvd., Encino. R.S.V.P., (818) 345-7833.


Calabasas Shul: 5-8 p.m. Shavuot cooking class with Chef Levana. Private residence. R.S.V.P., (818) 591-7485.



Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center: 7 p.m. Free Community Education Seminar on “Bariatric Surgery.” Encino Hospital Campus, 16237 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 995-5060.



Magen David of Beverly Hills: 7:30-

9 p.m. “Self Discovery Through the Eyes of the Kabbalah” series for young adults with Joseph Melamed. Free. 322 N. Foothill Road, Beverly Hills.



Skirball Cultural Center: 7:30 p.m. “On a Note of Triumph.” Dramatic reading of the original V-E Day CBS broadcast of Norman Corwin’s rumination on WWII’s significance. Introduction by Corwin. $10-$15. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.



Temple Ner Tamid of Downey: 6 p.m. Lag B’Omer Barbecue. $5. 10629 Lakewood Blvd. (562) 861-9276.



South Coast Repertory: Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” opens tonight and runs through June 26. $19-$56. Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 708-5555.



Singles Helping Others: Help today at Virgil Mills School Family Festival (323) 663-8378 or the Venice Art Walk (818) 591-0772. And tomorrow at the Brentwood Garden Tour (310) 820-5581.


Jewish Singles, Meet (30s and 40s): 10:45 a.m. Trip to the Japanese Gardens. $3. Van Nuys. R.S.V.P., (818) 750-0095.


MOSAIC Outdoor Club: 6:45 p.m. Full- moon hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.


Westwood Jewish Singles (45+):

7:30 p.m. Discussion. “Getting Out of a Relationship.” $8. R.S.V.P., (310) 444-8986.


ATID (20s and 30s): 7:30 p.m. “Shabbat: Creating Sacred Space in a Hectic World.” Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1518.


Ask Dr. Joan (45+): 7 p.m. Pyramid Rotation Dinner. $45. Le Petite Jacque Cafe, Sherman Oaks. (818) 345-4588.

Aaron’s Tent/Chabad, Century City: 8 p.m. Rooftop Party Under the Stars. 9051 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 842-5109.


Chai Center (25-35): 7-11 p.m. Dinner for 60 Strangers.