The past week has been chock full of wildlife - and for once I don't mean my little monkey of a 21-month old. One morning last week, Jeff got her out of bed and brought he into the kitchen and immediately went running out the backdoor. A deer had made an appearance. She was pointing and saying "deer" in her cute little voice as daddy carried her across the grass in her jammies. The deer quickly took flight.
Then on Saturday, we took her to the zoo. There's a great zoo in suburban NJ called the Turtle Back Zoo. Perfect for a day-trip, we arrived at 10 a.m. and made our rounds in about 2 hours. She loves pointing at the animals, especially the horses and monkeys ("ah-ahs").
One would think that was enough for animal sightings, but on Monday night, we sat on the deck eating dinner and something caught my eye out by her slide. It was a raccoon that was about twice her size. Brave daddy quickly left the deck to scare it off.
And last but not least, this morning I looked out the window and saw a big, orange fox. Now, I don't live in a woodsy area. My neighborhood is pretty developed so wildlife is usually limited to squirrels, birds and such. So now I'm wondering what will show up next... a wolf? (I tried to snap a pic of the fox and went running barefoot across the grass, but it took off when it saw me coming. I'll be better prepared next time - I've got the zoom lens on my camera now)
Anyway, enough about wildlife in suburban NJ. I took advantage of the recent Jewish holiday to get a great deal on a beef brisket. I've never made brisket, but have long wanted to make barbecue (other then ribs). I turned to my old friend Laurent Tourondel for some guidance.
This could be served plated, but we decided to go with sandwiches. I topped them with homemade cole slaw and some aged cheddar from Oscar's Smokehouse... Delish!
Barbecued Beef Brisket with BLT BBQ sauce
Adapted from The BLT Cookbook by Laurent Tourondel
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
3/4 teaspoons celery seed
3/4 teaspoons salt
2-1/2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
3 Tbsp hickory chips for an indoor smoker (or use an outdoor smoker if you have one)
3 cups BLT Barbecue Sauce, (recipe follows)
To serve: Homemade cole slaw, buns and sharp cheddar cheese
Make the Dry Rub
In a bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Place the meat in a roasting pan and rub on all sides with the mixture. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.
Smoke the Brisket
In the bottom of a stove-top smoker, arrange the hickory chips, mounding them slightly in the center. Place the pan and rack on top, and place brisket on top of the rack. Cover tightly with the lid and place over low heat for 1 hour. For an outdoor smoker, follow manufacturer’s directions.
Preheat the Oven to 325° F.
Roast the Brisket
Place the brisket in a large roasting pan. Pour the Barbecue Sauce on top of the meat. Pour 1-1/2 cups of water into the pan around the meat. Cover with aluminum foil, making a tent so that it does not touch the meat. Cook for 4 hours, basting occasionally, until the brisket is tender when pierced with a fork at the thickest part.
Makes about 5-1/2 cups
15 garlic cloves, peeled (about 1 whole head)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups ketchup
3 ribs celery, chopped
1-1/2 medium size sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Bermuda, chopped
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the Oven to 375°F.
Roast the Garlic
In a small baking pan, toss the garlic cloves with the oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 30 minutes or until very soft and beginning to brown.
Cook the Sauce
Combine all of the ingredients in a large heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the sauce, stirring it frequently to prevent it from scorching, for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the sauce looks dark and rich.
Blend the sauce
Let cool slightly. Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning.
Sauce will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.