And a fine Memorial Day to you
May 25, 2015
Hope you’re enjoying your three-day weekend. We ate to excess here at Chez Brockwell yesterday, albeit it was not traditional Memorial weekend fare.
There are also no pictures, because, well, I didn’t take any.
I had in mind to sous vide and then smoke a brisket that had been reposing in my freezer, But the calendar and a lack of forethought conspired against me; all the recipes I read called for a 48 to 72 hour cook with the circulator, followed by some time on the grill, and I didn’t pull said brisket out of the freezer until Saturday morning.
Not to mention the forecast was for rain, which I figured would commence about the time I got the grill rolling good. (As it turned out, it held off until last night; no guarantee it would have done so had I had the grill in use, as Mother Nature is a hateful hussy sometimes.)
So I fell back on something I’d wanted to try — a Coca-Cola brisket, also known as Atlanta brisket. This is a canonical piece of Southern cookery, immortalized by the Southern Foodways Association. And indeed, it produces a copious (well, that depends on the size of brisket you start with, I guess) mound of shards of beef that is too tender to slice, and is extremely moist and tasty.
It also uses Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Egregious violation of all the foodie rules and regs, I know, but, well, sue me. It was good.
To cook this brisket, one whisks together a 20-ounce bottle of Coke, a cup of commercially prepared chili sauce, and the aforementioned onion soup mix. (Note: Do this in a larger bowl than you think you need. Coke foams up when you whisk it. ) Whisk it all up together and pour it over your brisket, which you have placed in a baking dish that is not much larger than it is. Cover that tightly in aluminum foil or with its own lid, and slide it in the oven.
There are differing views on how long and at what temperature to cook the brisket. The SFA recipe called for four hours at 325. But I have cooked brisket all night at 250, and that fit better with my schedule for the following day, so that’s what I did. Started it about 10 p.m., and got up at 6 and turned the oven off. It cooled until I got back from church, and I took it out of the sauce and sliced it, or attempted to, and resorted to just going ahead and piling up the shredded meat.
Brisket, of course, has a lot of fat on it, I strained the remaining sauce into a small saucepan and stuck it in the freezer to let the fat solidify. I took doggoned near a full inch of fat off the top and tossed it, along with copious quantities of fat I took off the cooked brisket and tossed into the trash, sending Lucy into paroxysms of “I want that!” piteous whining, which did her no good. But I was still left, from my 6 pound or so uncooked brisket, with about 3 pounds of lean meat, of which we ate about half. I cooked the defatted sauce down until it thickened, and we had that to go over the meat.
It was good. The sauce lends a faint sweet-tangy note to the beef. It’s certainly marvelously moist. And I have no idea what I’m going to do with the leftovers, as it’s not the season for soup or stew. I had a bit of fresh corn left over, enough to make a couple of arepas, so I may do that and fold it around some of the beef; I’m thinking I may get out the sealer and just vac-seal the remainder for future use later.
We had the first fresh corn of the season, grocery store corn, but it was moderately freshly picked, I cut the kernels off eight ears, and there was about one big serving of corn left. We had frozen peas from last year’s stash, and asparagus. And for dessert, I cut slabs of the strawberry bread, put diced strawberries macerated in sugar over it, and sweetened creme fraiche over THAT. It was well received. Not strawberry overkill, as I’d feared it might be, and not too sweet, either. Will have to remember that for next year.
Today I am going to fetch my eldest grandchild and bring her back to spend a few days with her KayKay, which I expect will be great fun. We will picnic, and we will cook, and we will go to the library and the park and generally have an excellent time. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have a fine long weekend, cook something good, and remember those who gave their lives on the battlefield so you could.