Great Guestification: Smoked Brisket with Dad Salt(tm)

beef brisket smoked on the grill

But Dad, It’s Smoky!

There’s a way old Steve Martin bit about teaching kids to talk wrong. The skit takes place in a classroom filled with young children. One child raises his hand and when called on asks; ‘May I please go to the bathroom?’. The teacher, a bewildered look on his face, says ‘I’m sorry?’ The student replies: ‘Sorry, can I moo-moo dog face to the banana patch?’ And, he is sent on his way to the bathroom.

As kids, we used ‘moo moo dog face to the banana patch’ all the time when we wanted to be excused from the dinner table or elsewhere. We all thought making up words or speaking wrong was a great idea. My brother took his own spin on Steve Martin’s craft and teaches his own kids wrong words…To be fair, he just elongates words, sometimes creating verbs out of nouns or adverbs out of …doesn’t matter. Just know that this happens and now his people (son and daughter) are also doing it.

spices salt mixes beef brisket

Dad Salt

My brother is also an inventor of sorts….and created a magical new mix of spices called ‘Dad Salt’. Don’t ask me what’s in it, cuz it’s like a secret… just know that you should put the stuff on everything. Still working on marketing and margins, but soon to be available everywhere.

I was recently with them all – GUESTIFICATING at their home in Cincinnati. And, we made a giant Smoked Beef Brisket as people in Cincinnati are wont to do. As the brisket was my brother’s creation, I have tried to channel his spirit in CRAFTIFYING this post.

Tiny apartment tips:

  1. Be a good GUESTIFIER – to ensure future invites
  2. Find GUESTIFICATION locations with outdoor grills
  3. Don’t try this in your tiny apartment
  4. LMK if you are interested in purchasing ‘Dad Salt’

Giant Smoked Brisket (serves an army….of 8)

NOTE: This is a two day process. A commitment to meat. COMMITIFY yourself.

Ingredients:

  • brisket dinner smoked

    Meats En Place

    1 Giant 12lb Beef Brisket – we got ours at Costco, the land of giant meats

  • 2 Cups Apple Juice
  • 1 14oz Can of Beef Broth
  • 2 TBSP of minced garlic – I never use the jar stuff, but a guest really shouldn’t say such things
  • 1 TBSP EVOO
  • Loads of DAD SALT(tm)
  • NOTE: If you haven’t yet ordered or received your Dad Salt, you can create your own poor imitation by mixing together – sea salt, bacon salt, garlic powder, paprika, ground pepper, onion powder
  • A meat injector
  • 2 cans of Darkish beer or ale – we used 1 can of Boddington’s and 1 can of Guinness
  • Applewood chips for the grill
  • Buns
  • Store bought sweet bbq sauce

1. HEATIFICATION of the Injecting Agent:  Heat 1 Cup of the Apple Juice and 1/2 of the can of beef broth with the garlic and olive oil over low heat in a sauce pan

meat injecting beef brisket smoked

Injecting agent heating on STOVIFIER

2. Once the flavors have come together and the mix is FRAGRANTIFIED – about :05 mins…let the mixture cool slightly

3. TRIMMITIZING: Pat dry the giant brisket and trim off most of but not all of the excess fat. The fat lends flavor and moisture to the meat…so leave about 25% of it on the giant beef

beef brisket trimmed dinner grill smoking

Giant knives scare me. Note some fat remains.

4. RUBIFICATION: Rub Dad Salt(tm) generously all over the giant meat

brisket smoked dinner grill

Rubbified with Generous Amount of Dad Salt

5. INJECTIFICATION: Fill the meat injector with the garlic, broth, apple juice mixture and inject liberally all over the meat

meat injector dinner smoked brisket grill

Injectifying Juice – messy job, so yes, do this in a large roasting pan lined with foil – those are my brother’s man hands, btw.

6. Cover the INJECTIFIED, RUBIFIED meat and refrigerate overnight

THE NEXT DAY……

7. RE-RUBIFYING: Remove the meat from the fridge and rub AGAIN liberally with Dad Salt

8. SMOKIFIER; Early, like way early in the morning, prepare the grill with very low indirect heat.

9. Prepare a large drip pan with 2 cans of beer (a darker beer is better here) and a 1/2 cup of Apple Juice AND the fat trimmings from the brisket and place it on the low rack of the grill

smoked brisket grill dinner

BEERIFYING – step 1 to SMOKIFIER prep

beef brisket recipe grilling smoking meats

Setting up the Smokifier – note coals are contained by large pieces of hickory that have been soaked for over an hour

10. SMOKIFICATION: Replace the second rack and put the Brisket over the side with the beer/juice/fat pan. On the other side, place several applewood chips that have been soaked for at least an hour in water in a smoker box

smoked beef brisket dinner grill

Let the Smoking Begin

11. Cover the grill and let meat smoke forever….Like 8 hours

12. FOILIZING: After 8 hours, remove the brisket from the smoker, put in a large roasting dish lined with foil….And, then seal the meat in foil.

beef brisket smoked on grill

FOILIZED – Ready to be ovenized

13. OVENIZATION: put the giant meat into a 250 degree oven for an additional 2 hours

14. REJUICIFICATION: Remove the meat and let it rest for :20 – :30 minutes

15. SLICERIZING: Serve warm by the slice

beef brisket smoked service dinner

Slicerizing the meats. Note fab smoke ring

We served the tender, smoky slices atop potato buns with some cole slaw and sweet bbq sauce.

I’m not sure it’s a great idea to TEACHIFY kids to speak wrong….But, I will say that now that the kids are older and able to make up their own words…it’s fun to watch. Plus, I’m sure it helps keep their creative juices flowing.

Listen, when in Rome, right? Being with my Cincy peeps is always a great GUESTIFICATION.

IMG_7457PS – LMK if you want to know more about Dad’s Salt(TM)

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When Fabulous People Are Coming to Dinner: Ina’s Beef Short Ribs

scott's short ribs ina garten

Fall Off the Bone Tender Goodness

I’m about to be butchered by Ina Garten lovers everywhere. So I’ll just start by saying, I love to cook her recipes and I even watch her show(s).

She makes her own chicken stock and never fails to mention it when including it in any recipe: “2 cups of home made chicken stock. It’s really the best.”

She grinds her own spices.

She uses only “really good olive oil”.

She grows her own herbs. “This is rosemary right from my garden.”

She’s a master of the kitchen and all things kitchen related.

That said….She’s a bit of a name dropper.

Each time I tune in she’s about to host a luncheon/dinner/beach party for every fabulous gay person east of Nassau County. I honestly think I recently I heard her say: “Truman Capote and Liberace are coming for lunch, so I’m making cornish game hens and apple turnovers.”

Or maybe it was more like: “Andy Warhol agreed to paint my hallway so I’m making him salmon with lentils!”

Ina garten short ribs jeffrey

Ah…Jeffrey

 And, then there’s Jeffrey. Jeffrey (for the non-Ina aficionado) is Ina’s husband. They’ve been married for like a gazillion years. Jeffrey works and lives in Manhattan Mon – Fri – venturing out to Ina’s Hampton’s home only on weekends. And, when he arrives, Ina kills the fatted calf – or in her case – chicken.

Friday shows always start something like: “It’s Friday and Jeffrey’s coming home from the City tonight so I’m making his favorite chicken. My perfect roasted whole chicken in fact.”

Ina gives the impression that Jeffrey is unable to do anything by himself – except live in NYC. So, Ina gets busy in the kitchen making all of Jeffrey’s favorite meals whenever she has to leave town. And, seriously, sometimes she’s planning to be gone for a just a few hours. “I’ve been invited to go skating with Brian Boitano tonight, so I’m making Jeffrey’s favorite cappuccino ice cream for him while I’m away.”

OK. I feel better. So, back to the fact that I love her recipes (‘How Easy Is that?”), I’ve made her Scott’s Short Ribs a half dozen times and they are easy and delicious.

Ina Garten’s Scott’s Short Ribs (Serves 8 – hers serves 6, but I was having 8 to dinner)

Important to note:

  1. The entire process of making this meal, including chopping…takes about 4 hours
  2. In a small apartment like mine…If you can close your bedroom and bathroom doors while the meat is in the oven…do it. The beefy winey aroma is lovely on the evening it’s made…Not so much the next day on your linens or towels
  3. There’s a bit of chopping…so, make Anne Burrell proud and mise en place if you can
ina garten short ribs mise en place

Pretty Mise En Place

Ingredients:

  • fennel whole foods vegetables

    This is Fennel I’m sure of it

    8 Beef Short Ribs, trimmed as best you can of the fat. Ina’s butcher does it for her…but that might not be what happens to you….or, me.

  • 1/4 Cup Good Olive Oil – whatever you do, do NOT use shitty olive oil! That would really piss Ina off!
  • 2 Medium Sized Onions Chopped
  • 4 Cups Large-Diced Celery – Ina says that’s 6 stalks, but only if the stalks are from her magical giant celery growing garden….It’s more like 10 stalks of celery
  • 2 Carrots peeled and large diced
  • 1 Small Fennel – fronds, stems and core removed and large diced
  • beef broth Whole Foods

    WF Owner is a Vegan, But this is good beef broth

    1 Leek, cleaned large diced, white part only – (to clean it best…chop and submerge pieces in ice water then fish out with a spider…the dirt/grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl)

  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 750ml bottle of Burgundy or Pinot Noir or other dry red wine – plus 14 bottles for your thirsty friends who are coming to dinner
  • Fresh Rosemary – from your garden…Or, Whole Foods or other
  • Fresh Thyme Sprigs
  • 6 Cups of Beef Stock or Broth – I use the 365 Brand at Whole Foods and 6 Cups is a box and a half
  • 1 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper – Ina prefers Kosher Salt, of course

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

1. Place the short ribs on a sheet pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper

short ribs whole foods

Try to get the same size short ribs…

2. Put the ribs in the oven and roast undisturbed for :15 minutes (go to step 4) – remove from oven and set aside

3. Reduce heat to 300 degrees

4. While the ribs are roasting, heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven (I use my pretty blue Le Creuset, of course) over medium low heat

blue le creuset short ribs williams-sonoma

Pretty Blue Le Creuset

5. Add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel and leek and cook for about :20 minutes stirring occasionally

le creuset short ribs ina garten jeffrey

Vegetable Softening Nicely

6. After :20, add the garlic and cook for another :02 minutes – or until you can smell the garlic goodness

7. Pour the wine over the veggies and bring to a boil

ina garten short ribs add wine

I heart cooking with wine

8. Continue to cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by about 1/2

9. Add a TBSP of salt and 1 TSP of pepper

10. Make a bundle of several sprigs of rosemary and several sprigs of thyme and throw them in the pot

Herb Bundle

Herb Bundle of rosemary and thyme

11. Nestle the ribs into the winey vegetables and pour the beef broth over them – the ribs should be totally submerged

ina garten short ribs scott's

The beef ribs all nestled

ina garten short ribs 365 brand stock broth

And totally covered with broth

12. Throw in the brown sugar

13. Bring to a simmer over high heat….Once simmering, put the lid on the dutch oven and carefully put it into the oven for 2 hours. The meat will be very tender.

14. After 2 hours, remove the pot from the oven and the ribs from the pot. Set ribs aside keeping them warm if possible

scott's short ribs ina garten

Fall Off the Bone Tender Goodness

15. Discard the herbs and skim off the excess fat

16. Over medium, cook the vegetables and sauce for :20 minutes until reduced slightly

ina garten short ribs recipe

Ribs  and herb bundle removed- sauce a-simmer

17. Plate the ribs and pour some of the sauce and veggies over them

18. Plate the veggies separately

ina garten short ribs recipe veggies

Drunken veggies plated

19. Serve

20. Ask yourself: How easy is that?

This is a great meal for groups because it’s delicious and impressive. And also because all of the work will be done hours before your guests arrive.

But don’t even think of making the short ribs for Jeffrey and Ina on a friday. They’re having chicken with Jodie Foster and Neil Patrick Harris.

Now That’s a Crock of Publicity and White Chili

Chicken Chili

White Chili: Chicken & Beans

This past week, Chanel No 5 debuted its new ads featuring Brad Pitt. Yep, in case you missed it – which might have been impossible…cuz the spots are running constantly – even targeting men – during Sunday’s morning news programs and the afternoon and evening football.

Is it a men’s fragrance? No. It’s Brad waxing confusingly – I think about not being able to get a woman out of his mind. But, I’m not really sure…

What I do know, though, is that everyone’s talking about it.

Brad Pitt Channel No 5

He Does Look Good

Jen Chaney of the Washington Post describes it as: “what it looks like when Pitt tries really hard to make pretentious sentences sound meaningful while wearing a casual button-down shirt.”

No easy feat.

The use of a man and the ad itself have been a little polarizing. People either think that Brad’s careful, slow delivery is uber sexy OR they want to know ‘what the hell does this all mean?”

What it means – whether you love the ad or hate it  – is that Chanel has launched its most iconic fragrance into the forefront of conversation for people of all ages. People who would have never before considered Chanel No 5 might now. People who have never heard of Chanel – have now. Chanel has garnered more press, more chatter, more engagement than it probably ever had.

And that’s a big crock of free media – well they reportedly paid Brad Pitt a cool $7mill….so, sorta free.

Speaking of big crocks….it’s crock pot season and I guest crocked at a friend’s recently.

White Chicken Chili (serves 6-8)

1. In a large saute or fry pan over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil

2. Stir in:

  • two medium onions chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers – deveined and seeded – and then chopped – best to either wear gloves for this or wash your hands immediately after working with the peppers.
  • 1 tbsp + 1tsp dried oregano – crush the oregano in your palms to release the flavors
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
Saute vegetables

Saute Veggies

Saute until moderately tender – about 5 mins

3. Add in 7 chopped garlic cloves – don’t worry, you’re going to slow cook this. The garlic will not overpower. And, saute until fragrant – about 2 mins.

4. Add in 4 cooked chicken breasts – shredded. I used a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods, because it’s just easier.

If you want to cook the breasts yourself – you can cube them and cook with the onions in step 2.

White chicken Chili

Whole Foods Roti Chicken makes this easy!

5. Add in Salt and Pepper

6. Once heated through and all flavors are combined – about 4 mins – transfer to the slow cooker

7. In a small bowl, mash up 2 15oz cans of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) with 1 cup of Pacific Organic chicken broth.

white chicken chili beans

Mash the Beans

Pour into the slow cooker.

8. Add in 1 additional can of Cannellini bean and 3 more cups of chicken stock to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot White Chili

Everybody in the Pool!

9. Cover and cook on low for 2hrs :45mins

10. After 2hrs :45mins, add about 1 1/2 cups of shelled frozen edamame and stir. Cover again and allow to cook an additional :15 – :20 mins.

I used 365 brand shelled edamame.Whole Foods Brand

11. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley and shredded cheddar cheese

White chili with chicken

Pretty Presentation

The chili certainly isn’t as pretty as Brad Pitt. And, like the new Chanel ads, it could have used a little more spice. Next time I’d add a little hot sauce or maybe some cayenne.

As for Brad and Chanel – I’m still not sure what it all is supposed to mean. Some may think it’s a crock full of crazy – but I think it’s a crock full of free press.

Little Lies, Illusions and A Succulent Pot Roast

Pot Roast Plated and Ready

A good friend’s mother told him once that if he didn’t have time to clean his apartment before people were coming over, he could just use lower wattage light bulbs. In the dimness, guests would miss the dirt and dust. Makes sense to me.

Spanx

Little lies, illusions and cover ups surround us every day. I used to work for a shapewear company and our motto was always ‘fake it til you make it’.

I mean do you really think all those celebrities are cellulite-free? No. No they are not.

And the regular people? We’re all frantically double-Spanxing just to keep up. (note: I can’t believe that ‘Spanxing’ just passed my spell check!)

It’s cold out and slow cooker season is officially on. With the slow cooker, comes so many illusions. As prep is generally pretty easy and results are more than always pretty good – it can trick your guests into believing that you are a fabulous cook. They will think that you slaved for hours over the meal. That you reinvented cooking. You may literally change the way they see less expensive giant meats.

Annie’s Choice

I don’t have a slow cooker anymore – too big for small living. And when confronted with a Sophie’s Choice between my Le Creuset large dutch oven and the All-Clad Slow Cooker, I had to let the slow cooker go.

No worries. The dutch oven works just as well if not better.

So, it’s really slow and low cooking season at my place. And, last night I teased my neighbors with the warm wafting aromas of beef and herbs – providing the illusion that I was an amazingly fabulous chef, hostess and meat miracle worker.

Slow and Low Cooking Pot Roast (Serves 6)

Ina Garten-style with a few tweaks (some on purpose, some by accident and some because I had amnesia at Whole Foods)

Honestly, this is all about the prep…

1. Go to Whole Foods or similar and buy a giant, inexpensive piece of meat – 4-5lb boneless beef chuck roast. Ask the butcher to tie it as this will help keep it together during the slow roast. My butcher did this string pattern with just one piece of string!

Giant Meat from Whole Foods – Perfectly Tied

2. Mise en place your veggies:

Veggie Mise En Place to Make Anne Burrell Proud

  • 3 cups of leeks – it’s supposed to be just two but I forgot to buy onions so I increased the leeks
  • 2 cups chopped carrots – about 5 carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery – about 4 stalks
  • 2/3 of a single onion chopped – because that’s all I had in my fridge
  • NOTE: these are going to be pureed, so don’t kill yourself chopping. Just try for somewhat similar size across all veggies.

3. Smash up 4 garlic cloves – Ina uses 5, but I was hesitant to do so. Would have been fine in the end

4. Mise en place your Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I didn’t do this, and it would have been real smart if I had. Put a teaspoon measure by them

5. Bundle 3 branches of fresh rosemary with 4-5 branches of fresh thyme

Herb Bundle

Muir Glen Tomato Puree

6. Open a 28oz can of tomato puree. The Muir Glen was on sale yesterday at Whole Foods – Yay!

7. Pour 2 cups of good red wine into a measuring cup. Ina uses Burgandy, I had some really good Montepulciano – 2 cups for the roast, 1 glass for me

8. Pour out 1 cup of chicken stock and open up a Knorr’s chicken bouillon cube

‘Cooking’ Cognac

9. Pour out 2 tbsp of either Cognac or Brandy. I had a pretty good cognac on hand – but that’s a story for another time

OK. That was the hardest part.

Pre-Heat oven to 325 degrees

10. Generously salt and pepper the giant meat on all sides and then dredge in flour. Ina uses a lot of salt (1 tbsp) I might use a little less next time.

11. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over med / high heat and sear the meat on all sides. Once seared (about 4 mins on each side) remove the meat and put on a plate

Searing the Giant Meat

12. Turn the heat down to medium – Add 2 more tbsp of olive oil to the pot and stir in all of the vegetables and smashed garlic. Add in 1 tbsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of pepper.

Cook over medium heat until tender – about :10 mins

Simmering Veggies Pre-Booze

13. Add the wine and cognac and bring to a boil

14. Once boiling, add in the pureed tomatoes, the chicken stock and the bouillon cube. Ina then adds 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper…I’d skip the salt here as mine turned out pretty salty.

15. Throw the Thyme/Rosemary bundle in there and then add in the Giant Meat and bring to a boil. Cover and put into the oven.

Sauce Smothered Meat Oven-Ready

16. Bake for 1 hour and then turn heat down to 250 degrees and cook for an additional :90 minutes

17. Remove from the oven and take the roast out and put onto a carving board

18. Carefully ladle some of the veggies and sauce into a blender or Cuisinart and puree. CAUTION: allow to cool a bit before blending or it will blow the lid off of the blender. Just sayin’. Puree in batches until you have enough sauce.

NOTE: I didn’t puree the entire pot of goodness – didn’t need that much.

Veggie Booze and Sauce Puree

Also – Ina puts the puree back on the stove and does some magical adding of flour and butter here, but, really, you don’t need it. The pureed veggies and booze make a lovely sauce all on their own.

19. Slice the roast and serve over egg noodles covered with the sauce and some chopped parsley

In an apartment, aromas seep into hallways from everyone’s home. Some better than others. Slow cooking takes the aroma flow to a new level as the scents of deliciousness flow out of my kitchen for hours.

Last night even the doormen 14 floors below had heard from my neighbors that ‘Annie was cooking something amazing smelling all day’. Ah, but ‘all day’ in this case is really the illusion. For with very little work, you can produce an amazingly succulently, moist pot roast.

But, don’t tell anyone.