I waxed poetic about sharing memories with our daughter in my first post about visiting Mr. L’s Midwest hometown. For this follow-up post I wanted to focus on just one thing: Brisket. As a native Southerner I feel pretty strongly about what makes good barbecue (pork, vinegar, loads of crushed red pepper), but during my years in Iowa most of the barbecue I ate was Kansas City-style and I was none the worse for it. In fact, I now consider myself an opportunist when it comes to barbecue—I love the one I’m with. The barbecue item I fell for during my Midwest years was a good smoked brisket and the salty burnt ends. Through all my informal barbecue research (i.e. eating) I have learned one thing: Always be nice to the friend/relative/neighbor that knows how to make good barbecue. The barbecue master in my Illinois family is my brother-in-law, Dustin. While we were in town he made a couple of briskets for us and let me follow him around with a camera to capture just how he does it. As with all good cooks he doesn’t use or need a recipe, so the instructions here are rough, but he gave me a very good piece of advice about making the brisket: “You just have to try out things and see how it goes.” That and to cook it to 190°F internal temp then wrap it in heavy-duty foil and let it rest in a towel-lined cooler for an hour. Oh, and that the burnt ends are the cook’s treat. Enough talk, here is a step-by-step guide full of mouth-watering pictures that will inspire you to make your own or follow the smoke to your nearest barbecue joint.