Friday, September 4, 2009

Barbecue Beef

My Venture into Easy BBQ

To me, anything tastes better with barbecue sauce on it. If I could add barbecue sauce to my Fruit Loops without attracting the unwanted attention of mental health professionals, I'd do that. In the U.S., barbecue sauce recipes differ from state-to-state. This sauce is quite sweet. If you are not into sweet barbecue sauces, this recipe is not for you.

The recipe below assumes that you will be barbecuing the entire 3 pounds of brisket. To be honest, I don't normally do it that way. I like to braise the brisket and, after it is cooked, cut it in half. I then put half in the fridge (unshredded) in a covered dish with about 1/2 cup of the broth. In a separate bowl, I add the WONDERFUL strained brisket stock, cover, and put it in the fridge to chill. As the broth cools, the fat will rise to the top and solidify. The next day, I use the broth to make gravy. A lot of country cooks use the fat that solidifies on top of the broth to make the gravy. Feel free to do that if you are not getting your cholesterol tested anytime soon. I add the cold brisket to an oven-safe baking dish, cover it with foil, and re-warm it in the oven. I serve the re-warmed brisket with the hot gravy and some mashed potatoes – making a completely different meal using the brisket I cooked the day before. Nobody will know that the brisket is a leftover!

As I mentioned above, I cut the brisket in half after it's braised and put half of the meat (unshredded) in the fridge to use for leftovers with mashed potatoes and gravy. The other half of brisket I use to make barbecue beef following the recipe below. If you decide to only barbecue half of the brisket, don’t forget to cut the sauce recipe in half as well. Remember – the sauce recipe below assumes you are barbecuing the entire 3 pounds of brisket.

The good news is…I remembered to take a picture of it! I was drooling all over the plate as I was setting up the shot. It's so good! It's sweet. It's tangy. It's truly sinful! And because it is done in your oven, you can make it anytime of the year. Enjoy – and happy barbecuing!

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Barbecue Beef

(Printable Version)

1 recipe for Braised Beef Brisket

Barbecue Sauce
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 TBSP liquid smoke
Pinch of cayenne or to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. The barbecue sauce needs to be hot and lightly simmering before you add it to the shredded beef so plan your time accordingly.

Put the onion and garlic in a food processer and whiz until liquefied. Add the onion mixture to a saucepan. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, liquid smoke, and cayenne (if using). Bring the mixture to a simmer (uncovered). Turn the heat down to medium low and continue to very gently simmer until you are ready to add it to the shredded beef.

Add the shredded brisket to a rimmed sheet pan and pour just enough sauce to cover the top of the meat. In theory, this should be less than half of the sauce. Gently stir the sauce into the meat. Bake 30 minutes. While the barbecue beef is baking, put a lid on the remaining sauce and turn the heat to low to keep warm.

After 30 minutes, stir the meat and ladle some additional sauce on top. Return the sheet pan to the oven and bake 30 minutes longer. Any leftover sauce can be placed in a bowl and passed around at the table. Serve on your favorite hamburger buns.

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