Chef Paul combats a barbecue hangover
My diet this week has not been stellar, or at least from a health standpoint anyway.
Tuesday, I noshed on brisket and brownies. On Wednesday it was pit beef and hot milk cake. On Thursday? Pit Turkey and cupcakes. And on Friday, more meat and chocolate cake.
It’s a good thing that I at the very least committed myself to copious amounts of water.
As we were prepping for a pit beef stand on Saturday as part of our annual fundraiser, I found myself surrounded by my favorites; pit beef, pit turkey, Berk’s hot dogs and BBQ brisket, of course paired well with the goodies from the bakeshop.
Throwing in a few trays of our homemade bacon set the stage for me to act as Pavlov’s dog. Bacon on hot dogs, bacon on the pit beef and bacon on the cupcake worked wonders. Bacon=drool.
But now all I want is a salad. I feel like I’m playing a cameo in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as it is now time to eat through one green leaf and take a break, affording my body the ability to recoup from the onslaught of the slaughtered slabs.
There is something mystical about smoking and/or grilling a large chunk of beef. Not wanting to confound anyone with the nuances of Northern v/ Southern barbecue, suffice it to say that both have earned their place in my repertoire and I love both. I just do things my way sometimes.
The favorite item of mine this week has to be the brisket. Barbecuing this fine piece of beef sums up everything that I love; meat, smoke, full flavor and an experience to be remembered.
When you buy your fresh brisket, make sure that you are not buying one that has been marinated for corned beef. This will not be complementary to your finished product.
When it comes to the rolls, please do not skimp to save a buck or two. The roll is one of the most integral and important facets of a sandwich. Besides, you just spent a great deal of time and energy (not to mention money; brisket is expensive) on your BBQ so don’t ruin it will a cheap roll.
I prefer brioche rolls, but knowing that they can be difficult to find, I also like any roll that is rich with butter and eggs. This is easy to identify since the roll will have a yellowish tint to it.
For the BBQ sauce, I have made my own since the 90s but I am not opposed to bottled sauces if they are good. The only one that I can hands-down recommend without any hesitation is Sweet Baby Ray’s. Their line of sauces is great and for the price they cannot be beat.
In this recipe, however, I use my own homemade barbecue sauce with some of SBR’s Sweet Chili Sauce added to it for added sweetness and kick.
Now that the BBQ ready to be served, I ogle the bowl of cole slaw and the big batch of stewed tomatoes that are to accompany.
Set next to the fried chicken and baked chicken, I get excited at this good ole Delmarva buffet. Finished off with mounds of freshly baked chocolate cupcakes, I don’t think I’ll see a frown in the crowd tonight, as everything about this meal says not only summer but summer in the South.
I just need to get through tonight and then it’s back to the green leaf; that one big green leaf.
Dry rub (recipe follows)
BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)
Sweet Baby Ray’s Chili Sauce
If the brisket still has both the flat and the deckle (you will be able to tell if there are two pieces of meat with a large amount of fat in between), separate and clean the two of fat
Rub the meat thoroughly with your cocoa rub and allow to stand in the refrigerator for a couple of hours
Place in a smoker set to 220 degrees and smoke for 2-3 hours
If the smoker maintains proper temperature, leave it in there at about 230F until it shreds. Figure on about an hour per pound to give yourself time
Baste during the last few hours with your BBQ sauce and the Chili Sauce. The latter is another fantastic product from the Sweet Baby Ray’s lineup and no I am not sponsored by them. It’s just darn-tootin’ good
Cocoa Dry Rub
This could make enough for the summer!
¼ c. Paprika
½ c. Salt
½ c. Brown sugar
¼ c. Granulated garlic
2 tsp. Chili Powder
2 Tbsp. Onion powder
2 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
¼ c. Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp. Cumin
Combine all ingredients well, testing it on a small piece of chicken
Adjust the spice mix to your taste and enjoy
Homemade BBQ Sauce
2 c. Ketchup
1 Tbsp. Dry mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
¼ c. Cider Vinegar
½ c. Brown sugar
1 tsp. Ground black pepper
2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Chili powder
Combine all ingredients and allow to simmer for at least an hour
Adjust the flavor to suit you
Chill properly if not using at once, or set aside until service