Spring is in the air…

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Its spring time and that means braai time! I did not post last Friday because I was supposed to have posted on Saturday, but things got out of hand… here’s what went down.

2:15 am
I’m awake, Pria pushed me out of bed.   Today I’m attempting to smoke my 2nd brisket, it’s quite a process, which for this cut of meat means about 8 hours of cooking. This means I’m going to have plenty of time on my hands…

2:45 am

Now, I’ve done most of the prep work already so it’s just a matter of lighting the coals. Which I’ve done. I’ve got some time to kill while waiting for the braai to reach temp. Time to break out an old friend.

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It’s been a while since I’ve played this. I anticipate a lot of rules checking.

3:15 am

Disaster! The braai hit temp in time and it was perfect. BUT. The drip tray had a hole in it. All the water was gone. Now I have to boil more water because cold water will lower the temperature too much. Some cooking time gone.

3:30 am

The temp hit 200F so I put the meat on. We used boiling water so the temp rose quickly. I hope it wasn’t  just the heat from the water. Might have to use a crutch toward the end. I was planning too anyway.

*crosses fingers.

4:00am

Temp is 200F, Mage Knight is setup I think I’m good to go. I’m slightly behind schedule but hey, no use crying over what you cannot control.

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Good to go, at last!

5:00am

Temperature on the braai is fine, I check it approximately every 7 minutes or so. I’m 2 round in of MK. Things started pretty good but I took some early hits in a mage tower and a dungeon.  This lead to a lot of time spent healing, now I had to move if I want to finish the game in the remaining time. Gaining a spell and artifact was worth it though.

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Hmm, South to the 2 enemies and maybe get a decent reward or North to an easy kill and a level up?

I also managed to recruit a pair of units along the way, which will help.

6:00am

Ok then. Exploring was fun, but the enemies are getting crazy! Venturing north revealed both cities and they are very heavily defended. The dragons don’t help either.

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Right, 3 dragons. I’m fighting the worst one in a dungeon! (The worst one is always the one that you are currently facing)

I got 2 artifacts out of this dungeon. I think I selected the wrong ones 🙁 2 rounds to go. My units are wounded and I’m getting desperate. I think I might just try to attack a city. Let’s see what happens.

Oh, the meat has been smoking for a little over 2 hours at a decent 220F. I’m not particularly stressed, mostly because I’m having a fun game of Mage Knight.

Damn, I just realised that both cities have enemies that have paralysis attacks! If I can’t block, I’m out for the round . This is very very bad.

7:00am

It was a devastating combat but I managed to clear the first city and move out towards the 2nd. Phew. New round and an awesome unit is available in the city. *sigh*. I cannot really go back now. I need to wait it out a bit.

On the plus side the smoking is coming along nicely!

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I think that’s decent. low and slow… well I think I had it at that temp the last time.. Maybe I should have wrote it down.  Lets go google.

7:45 am

Oh what a combat!

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That initiative card is AMAZING! I managed to kill everyone but the Alter Mage.

I ended up using every card in my extended hand and blasted through most of the Defenders of the City! It was tight, I almost missed it but then I realised that I could sacrifice my Endless Gem Pouch for 1 of each colour mana, I guess it wasn’t a waste after all. Unlike the units that I recruited, they spent 90% of the game wounded…

And that won me the game. I don’t recall ever winning the Conquest scenario before! Right, now time for a break. Pria wasn’t idle all this while we have fresh cookies, time for tea 🙂

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I drew a full hand of cards and starting from the glade I was imbued with black mana. This combined to give me the win with a Fireball! I did take a few wounds though.

Final score : 141

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Looks messy, but it’s gloriously messy.

9:00am

Ok, so I’m back had a nice break. The fire is still good. I’m worried about the level of the water in the drip tray. It’s not as deep as the old one was. I’ll have to take a look at some point but not right now let’s give it another hour or so.

After the brain burner that was Mage Knight, it’s time to ease off a bit.

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Something a bit lighter now.

9:19 am

Ok, that was quick.  Fast, fun and light. I confess to playing on the shorter game mode. I should have made some notes about the game  so I can write a bit more.  Some rules were missed but I’m just rusty.

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Fast but still fun. I just love the theme.

Final score : 106 note to self, collect income next time!

9:45 am

 

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Looks like it’s crutch time. Also I think there isn’t enough rub on it. It’s just an experiment (that’s me comforting myself)

I need to get that suckered to 190F. So crutch it is. The crutch is a double foil wrap, this allows the meat to steam in its own juices. Hopefully that makes it tender, if I’ve not left it too late.

My last attempt was over smoked and over salted, in my opinion anyway. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this isn’t the opposite!

10:50 am

Ok, it has been a while.  In the interim Pria and Samara returned from shopping and I found a hole in my foil wrap! The juices were leaking out 🙁 *sigh* I wrapped it on my own, Pria is better at making a foil bag than I am. *crosses toes*

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I wanted Stone Age, he wanted to race.

While I was waiting Ronin setup a game of Formula D for us to play.  It’s been a while. We played twice, super close games, the first was pretty epic, I had quite a big lead and he came out of nowhere but I just pipped him on the finish!

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What a lead, I though I had this in the bag
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But it turned into an exciting race!

11:25am

The brisket is off. I’ve not checked the temperature because I don’t want to open up the foil. I just realised that it has been cooking for essentially 7.5 hours and not 8 oops. From what I gather the brisket must rest, preferably wrapped up inside a cooler box.

I don’t have a cooler box, so I just double wrapped it with thick towels. Apparently the internal temperature can raise another 10 degrees during the resting period. I’m hoping that will do it.

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This is a nice, quick filler game. Braaaains! Ronin and I had 2 rounds of this until Samara was ready to play then they they both vanished. I’m tired I think I could use some brains of my own about now.

Now to wait for the guests to arrive. ETA 1:30.

They arrived on time at exactly 1:30, I could have used a few more minutes of rest but such is life. We had an AWESOME time, essentially a small party that lasted well into the wee hours of Sunday morning. We got suitably smashed playing a drinking game called Pig Out. It’s one of the oldest board games I own, I don’t think it’s even on BGG.

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The brisket actually had a lekker bark on it.

The meat actually turned out too dry. The flavor was great but I just preferred how juicy my previous attempt was.

Brisket and board games 1
It was too dry for my liking. The taste was great and some gravy made from the juices made it very yummy. As you can see too much fat was trimmed off. also it was the oddest cut of brisket I’ve ever seen, maybe I need a new butcher.

Lessons learned.

  1. Don’t ask the butcher to trim the fat, they take of way way too much, do it yourself.
  2. Make a proper crutch, I need to practise this.
  3. More Smoke. The first time I had way too much, this time I have just too little, somewhere in between.
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My Previous attempt, far juicer.

Tomorrow is a public holiday, Heritage Day. For South Africans this means National Braai day. I’ve got family that I’ve not seen in a long time coming over, I wonder if I can twist some arms for a board game or two?

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One thought on “Spring is in the air…

  1. Oh My Goodness!! Looks like you had a spectacular day of Food, Family and Fun (Board Games).
    Good job with MK – I would’ve probably given up looking at monster nestled around the Red City!!

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