Texas Beef Brisket – in the oven???

Well if you’re like me and you live in four-season weather (read: winter in Canada…), you miss spending weekend in the back yard, swimming in the pool with friends and family while the BBQ cooks throughout the afternoon… (ah, I’m missing it already…).  I love to smoke meats on the BBQ and even though I BBQ all-year-round, longer cooks like smoking just aren’t in the mix. I don’t mind doing up some steaks or other meats, but not a 4 or 5 hour cook…

Ok, so I’ve set the stage for doing a Texas style beef brisket in the oven, this Grey Cup weekend. I’m looking forward to smelling the slow cook all day long this Sunday!

Brisket Rub:

(approximately equal portions of the following, except where noted)

  • coriander (1/2)
  • ginger (1/2)
  • lemon pepper
  • cloves (powder) – only a small amount (usually quite strong)
  • salt (1/4)
  • pepper (1/2)
  • paprika
  • brown sugar
  • dry mustard
  • chipotle powder (1/4)
  • garlic (1/4)

Prepare the rub and mix well.  Rub the brisket thoroughly with the rub, ensuring all the cracks and sides are done. Cover the meat, I like to use a freezer bag, and sit in fridge over night.

Cooking Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcester sauce
  • 1/4 cup of liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup of black coffee or Coke
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • onion (cut in slivers)


Place cooking sauce in bottom of cover cooking pan.  Place brisket on rack (don’t sit it in the sauce), cover and cook at 250 degF/lb (usually 4-5 hours).  Check liquid after 3 hours to ensure the pan is not dry (if it is, add water and liquid smoke in equal portions).

Once cooked, you can use the juice in the pan as gravy or serve with your favourite home-made BBQ sauce (Texas style of course)!

Traits of Leading Entrepreneurs

Often, entrepreneurs are characterized as the “rock stars” of the business world. This romantic vision is appealing but, like most stereotypes, a far cry from reality. So, what makes a good entrepreneur great? There’s no entrepreneurship gene. But a new Ernst & Young survey shows leading entrepreneurs do share common traits, beliefs and approaches that empower them to drive innovation – and economies – around the world.

1. They’re made, not born

Fifty-eight per cent of entrepreneurs we surveyed have “transitioned” to entrepreneurship, and one-third say their experience as an employee enabled them to build a successful enterprise of their own. You may not be an entrepreneur yet – but you could be one soon. And everything you’re learning now will help along the way.

2. They believe knowledge should be shared

More than three-quarters of Canadian respondents are mentoring other entrepreneurs in some form. They value the lessons learned from these relationships, and they pass that knowledge on. Collaborating like this benefits the teacher, and the student.

3. They know keeping an eye on the cash prize pays off

Accessing funding is the top challenge facing entrepreneurs today, and a real stumbling block to startup success. Those who succeed do so by building strong relationships and thinking outside the financing box, looking for alternatives and opportunities long after the first “no.”

4. The best realize there’s no I in team

Good entrepreneurs surround themselves with good people – who have the technical and business skills to take the company forward, but also share the leader’s values. Survey respondents say finding people who share their vision is challenging but critically important.

5. Success can mean choosing between being rich and being king

All founders of growing companies face a central decision: do they desire wealth or hands-on involvement? The ability to make big picture decisions like these makes or breaks entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs navigate this carefully and move according to their ultimate goal.

6. Some see opportunity where others see disruption

Success lies in the way entrepreneurs view the world. Even disruptions like the financial crisis generated opportunities for entrepreneurial leaders willing to take them. Our survey reveals entrepreneurs have at their core a unique way of viewing the world around them and acting on that view.

7. Failure is best worn as a badge of honour

The extent to which a culture celebrates or stigmatizes failure can make a difference in how entrepreneurial leaders see risk. Early business failures should be seen as providing vital experience for future successes.

8. True entrepreneurs are architects of their own vision

Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed peg vision as the top quality of successful entrepreneurs. Those who succeed have helped people come together around a common purpose to achieve a goal. This comes from a vision owned not only by the people in the business, but also by investors, customers, suppliers and all those the organization touches. The entrepreneurial leader must be the architect of that vision to succeed.

9. Entrepreneurs succeed by seeking to be better

Although innovation is important, filling niches and market gaps does not need to involve radical new solutions. Often, an entrepreneurial business can simply fit a better business model or a more effective way of delivering a product or service. Pushing products, services and people to be better is at the core of the entrepreneur’s being.

10. They balance blue skies with the bottom line

To be an entrepreneur, you must not only be an opportunist, but also be an optimist. The world’s best entrepreneurs see opportunities and truly believe they can create ways to profit from them. Maintaining a deep-rooted sense of optimism doesn’t mean you are unrealistic. But it does allow entrepreneurs to push their ideas harder, sometimes giving them a competitive edge.

10 Characteristics of a Successful Leader

Leadership is the most interesting subject that I love to follow and study.  All businesses rise and fall on the quality of their leadership.  Personally I’ve found that by focusing on leadership (whether it’s reading about it or writing about it…) your attitude and actions are affected in the most positive manner!

There is no shortage of leaders to study – both in our history and present-day-world.  I believe the key is to find those that mesh best with your vision, values and character.  I have been fortunate to personally engage some of the most successful and influential business leaders of the time.  I continue to grow and have found that always remaining teachable in the areas of leadership can expand your personal success.  What do you think?

I found the following list of 10 characteristics of successful leaders to be in alignment with my beliefs in leadership, hope you enjoy them too.

10 Characteristics of a Successful Leader

1. Do what you say you’re going to do: 

Organizations don’t pay much attention to what we say. Organizations pay intense attention to what we do and the examples we set, particularly if the actions are inconsistent with the words. Any inconsistency is corrosive.

2. You are expected to be competent:

Organizations expect their leaders to be competent and act with integrity. (I mean integrity in the broadest sense of the word to include team play and respect shown to subordinates.

3. Have high self-esteem and self worth:

Leaders need to have a strong sense of self worth. This means the ability to accept failures and criticism, but without being so egotistical and hubristic that the person is not open to opinions of others. I’ve heard it said that good leaders have a level of self confidence that is slightly more than what is justified by the facts.

4. Leaders move forward:

Leaders are not afraid to act with a sense of urgency. They pay attention to the details (not by micromanaging but by taking the occasional deep dive to test what they’re hearing.

5. Good judgment comes from healthy learning moments:

Leaders exercise good judgment, usually a result of learning from mistakes. Our successes normally don’t bring with them the introspection that mistakes do. Good judgment is also a result of a wide variety of, e.g. international, experiences. Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment.

6. Leaders are connected, aware and tuned in:

They outwardly act and display what they believe internally. Leaders are particularly tuned in to the people around them and to subtle behavioral clues. They read a room well. This is akin to a good sixth sense about how to act in foreign cultures. They listen well. They have high EQ.

7. Leaders value the gift of contrarians and resistors:

Good leaders don’t like yes men and sycophants. They know these people will cause them to fail. They are not afraid of surrounding themselves with strong people.

8. Be a leader of hope:

Leaders of hope have a belief that “this too will pass.” They keep the passion of their people and they exercise patience against panic. They gather the facts in a sense of calm.

9. Involve your people:

Involve the people. The best ideas and greatest support will come when people are involved and contributing. In the end, every decision will be made by the person who can make the decision – an informed decision-maker has the people involved.

10. Always stay in servant leadership mode:

Remember leaders are there to serve. The shepherd is there on behalf of the sheep – the sheep are not there on behalf of the shepherd. Note how in most of these a good quality, such as self confidence, becomes fatal when carried to excess.