Talking Shit with Brisketlab
48 hours ago Daniel Delaney’s paypal had a balance of $0. Since then he has sold 2500lb of brisket at $25/lb. Do the math. It’s a lot of money to make in 2 days for someone when asked, “What do you do?” jokingly answered, “Nothing.”
But Daniel, who started VendrTV, has been up to something called Brisketlab. After driving an 18ft smoker from Texas to Brooklyn, he devised a genius marketing plan with a “strong viral backbone” and essentially brisket mind-fucked everyone.
“I didn’t disclose a lot of information… and the way that the copy was written, it was very lavish: ‘I’m forming an underground smoked meat guild. I’m recruiting tallow loving carnivores.’ It was very colorful. But also very ambiguous. That combination drove a lot of interest. Folks had a sense they had to shit or get off the pot. They had to act quickly.”
I shat. Daniel used the fundraising platform Launch Rock. When I logged in there were 800lbs, the next day when the likes of Brooklyn Based and The Brooklyn Kitchen were tweeting all over it, only 7lbs were left, then none. As we ate biscuits at Marlow & Sons, Daniel received email after email from disappointed brisket lovers, “Is it too late?” For now, it is.
Don’t worry, Daniel isn’t stopping at 2500lbs and plans to open a restaurant in Brooklyn, so there will be plenty brisket for everyone. In the meantime he has corralled a drooling bunch of “brisketeers” who will be the first to taste and critique his brisket skills in 100lb increments at over 25 pop-up events over the summer, which he envisions “underneath bridges and on rooftops and on a boat.”
“Brisket is the hardest piece of meat to cook. Bar none. Brisket makes pulled pork a walk in the park. The brisket itself is a very strange piece of meat. It’s two connected muscles, the flat and the point, one is completely laden with connective tissue and fat. The other is almost devoid of fat. The problem is you have to cook it together. You have to cook it so this part doesn’t dry out and this part renders out it’s fat. So most brisket is not done well. Most brisket turns to gristly shit. I would bet that 99% of the people who signed up for brisket lab have never tried great brisket.”
You must be saying to yourself, who does this guy think he is? Daniel was the first to admit, “I’m a fucking dork,” and “I shouldn’t be talking shit. I’m just starting.” But he does have a lot of experience with BBQ, which he has been perfecting for the past 5 years in a 6 ft smoker on his balcony in Williamsburg. And he has eaten a whole lot of BBQ.
“I’ve been to 120 BBQ place in the United States, I think I’ve enjoyed myself maybe three or four times. It’s not disprespect. A lot of the old timers, a lot of the people who have made a name for themselves are just phoning in… Even the Texas places are not doing it anymore.”
Is there a secret Brisketlab recipe? “It’s not about recipe. It’s about technique. It’s salt and pepper and meat and smoke. That’s it,” he said. But it’s not that simple, “The brisket takes 18 hours to cook.”
Any BBQ spots he likes in NY? Nope. For “technical reasons,” Daniel believes there are no great BBQ spots in the city mainly because, “space is a premium, no place in Manhattan is going to be able to have a big backyard with the smokers. It’s not happening.” Because of a recent shift in the food culture in NY, that “if it’s exceptional people will travel for it,” Brisketlab can exist in a place like Bushwick, where there is room for the smokers, which will make Brisketlab, “the first BBQ place in NY that is doing completely outdoor smokers.”
One thing you can be sure of is that he takes his brisket very seriously.
“I’m not nervous about raising money. I’m not nervous about finding locations…Or finding bands. I’m not nervous about any of this. I’m nervous about the brisket. Out of everyone in the room, I am the worst critic, and I know what I want it to be. I know the bar that I want to hit.”
I will report back to you after I claim my 1lb of brisket this summer! Geez I wish I’d pre-ordered more.