26 February, 2007

Hush yer mouth: BBQ Beef Brisket

Sunday in the kitchen Part 1: BBQ Brisket.
It was a long day, but happy. Oscar Sunday started for me at 4:46 AM, I had to get dinner going.

Okay I really got started early last week when my neighbor gave me a frozen piece of brisket to smoke (don't ask me how I got it lit). The beef thawed in the fridge for a few days and I put a rub on it Saturday. Here's the rub mix (adapted from The Virtual Bullet)

1/8 cup salt
1/8 cup ground black pepper
1/8 cup paprika
1 T granulated garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard powder

The meat we had was the flat cut of the brisket that had been well trimmed. If feel up to it just get a whole brisket and trim it yourself, leave about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fat on it. I rubbed it in a large ziploc bag and left it overnight.

On Sunday morning I put the brisket on the smoker at 5:46 AM, the hood temp was 250F. I figured it would take about 12 hours to cook the meat to a finished internal temperature of 200F. By 7:45 AM the internal temperature was 160F. So, will I be having Brisket for lunch? No. At 4:00 PM (that's 16:40 for all my military and continental readers) I removed the meat for serving with the final temp only reaching 190F.

Brisket is a funny smoke, but man is it good. You don't need a smoker to do this recipe, just about any charcoal grill with a hood will do. Take a look at the Slow Pork Taco Recipe, for details on smoking in a kettle grill.

Hot smoked beef brisket for Oscar night. But wait there's more.


Hush yer: Hot Links

Sunday in the kitchen part 2: Hot links.

What's a party without sausage? I had bought some pork shoulder for S to make this crazy good Lasagna from Jamie Oliver's book, Jamie's Dinner's. Look it up, it's really good but it's not simple.

Anyway I've got some shoulder left over, I'm making BBQ, how about some hot links? Let's go to the tape:

1.6 kg pork shoulder cubed

30 g salt

18 g paprika

8 g sage

8 g crushed red pepper

6 g anise seed (a couple of pulses in the spice grinder)

5 g ground black pepper

2 g dried basil

2 g dried oregano

2 g ground cumin

45 ml cider vinegar

135 ml water

Mix all the dry ingredients with the pork and run it through the grinder. With the paddle attachment add the water and the vinegar and mix until the ingredients start to come together, about 1 minute.

Stuff into hog medium casings and twist them into pairs so that they can can hang. Hang in the fridge to dry overnight. Hot smoke to an internal temp of 150F, 1 to 2 hours.

The recipe I used was adapted from a lazy one that I kept finding on the net over and over again. I couldn't find any others. I would like to fine tune tune it a bit, but it is still real good. serve it next to the brisket swimming in bbq sauce.

It's a long day to Oscar night, better start with a good breakfast. Look for part three for early bird specials.


Hush: Breakfast Before BBQ

eating light the day after, gravlaks et un peu de moutarde de d'dorf.
Sunday in the kitchen part 3: Salmon Benedict.

I have always liked watching the academy awards. I always think about having a party but I never make plans. This week things just sort of fell together: I wasn't planning on smoking brisket, my neighbor sent it over. I wasn't planning on making hot links, but I wanted something to go with the brisket. I wasn't planning on having a busy Sunday, but I already started curing some fish...

Mom (and gma) came to visit last weekend and she bought some of the freshest laid eggs from her girls. Mom also brought her double boiler. Mom loves the cured salmon, we did this once before (see the previous post gravlaks) and it is so good and so easy, I don't think there is any need to buy lox at the store. Here's what I did:

300 g salmon fillet, skin on, about 1 inch thick.
92 g salt
150 g sugar
small handful of fresh chopped dill
Grindings of black pepper
splash of brandy
EDITOR'S NOTE 12-28-07: Yeouch too much salt and sugar for quanity of fish. See this Gravlaks Recipe for better proportions.

I rinsed and patted dry the fish, then rubbed the salt and sugar, scattered the pepper, splashed the brandy and applied the dill. I wrapped it tight in some plastic wrap, then into a ziploc bag and then into the fridge for three days. I flipped it daily.

After three days the fish is noticeably firmer. To slice, I got my longest sharpest knife and started with the blade perpendicular to the fish then swept diagonally as I cut, finishing with the blade parallel to the fillet, leaving the skin on the cutting board.

Now for breakfast. Mom started making the hollandaise sauce( we sort of used a recipe from Joy of Cooking). Watching her stir stir stir, I figured I could help, I had never made hollandaise but what could be hard about stir stir stirring? Ma hesitantly turned over the whisk and started poaching eggs.

You always hear the warnings from the fancy pants chefs about sauces breaking for no reason and I think, phooey, they are just trying to scare me. Well right before my eyes...

Umm honey?

What ma?

It's not supposed to look lumpy...

What tha.....?

And in a matter of seven seconds it was (as we say on the Southside) all broke up. S being the cool calm museum professional, assessed the sit and resuscitated the patient with the immersion blender.

Final assembly on cinnamon raisin toast. Sounds funny, but with the toast, it tasted as good as I had imagined. You gotta make the bread a day ahead, of course. Broken sauce and all, not going to win any image awards, but robo-yum. What did you do this weekend?


21 February, 2007

Milwaukee Public Market

Milwaukee Public Market.

This place was so cool we went twice. We drove to Milwaukee last Saturday to spend the night at the downtown Hilton. The have an indoor water park and the kids love it. I get to watch HBO and drink beer. But before we checked in we stopped at the public market.

At the West Allis Cheese Shoppe, we got some cold pack beer cheese and a little summer sausage.

At the St. Paul Fish Company we had a cup of the shrimp and sausage gumbo.

The smoked fish case looked pretty nice.

Sushi a- Go- Go, had the Hawaiian Big Plate Lunch. This place was a revelation: Giant pork buns called Manapua.

Pulled pork baked into a bun, Manapua? More like Manna from Heaven.

The next day we stared at the beautiful displays of cured meat at Ceriello Fine Foods.

From Ceriello's we got a mozzarella tomato and basil panini.

We drank a lot of coffee from Cedarburg's and got chocolate covered Oreos from Kehr's Candies.

All the stores there looked great including an outpost of The Spice House. If you are visiting Milwaukee, the public market is a great place to stop and load up. A couple other places to go is the flagship Spice House location on Third St and right across the street from there is the Usinger sausage factory. Good times.


13 February, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

Making sausage without a grinder.

You got company coming this weekend so you hit the sausage blog for some menu ideas. Saucisson has got you covered. You say to yourself, "Gee, yeah I wanna make sausage, but I don't have a grinder." Saucisson says "No worries!" (No, I don't really say that). But really, what says happiness better than the aroma of breakfast sausage cooking on a cold winter morning? Let's get started.

First things first. You might want to make this the day before, unless you have children who get you up at 5:45 and eat only granola bars.

The ingredient list is simple: Garlic, sage, ginger, pepper and salt. I used a bit of pork belly left over from another project, but at the store I would get pork shoulder. Dice up the pork shoulder and mix in the herbs and spices.

If you have time put this mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. Next spread the mixture in one layer onto a cookie sheet preferably lined with parchment paper. Put the sheet into the freezer until the mixture is not quite frozen solid but crispy, about 1/2 hour.

Now the fun part.

At this point you could get grinder out and let the machine do the work. But say you lent your grinder to the neighbor and he is off skiing. Find your biggest sharpest knife. Lay out the mostly frozen sausage mixture on a cutting board. Start chopping.

And chop and chop and chop and keep chopping, and chop chop chop. After a few minutes it will start looking like course sausage. In the picture above I chopped a little under two pounds of meat.

But we're not done yet. Put the chopped mixture into a bowl and stir in some cold water. Mix it big wooden spoon for a minute, or two, or until it starts coming together. Now go take a break your arm is tired.

Form the sausage into nice patties, put a film of oil into the saute pan and cook.

Before you start cooking the sausage, you need to make some biscuits. If you have a favorite biscuit recipe, get to work. We like big fluffy biscuits like the ones we get at Wishbone. I used to be the biscuit king in the house, but S. kicked me off that throne. She starts with the Fluffy Biscuits recipe from Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, but it calls for a couple of ingredients that we don't usually have on hand: Cake flour and buttermilk.

To get her biscuits tall and fluffy, S. uses all purpose flour with a tablespoon of corn starch, and instead of buttermilk, plain yogurt. here's the adapted recipe:

2 cups AP flour

1 T corn starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

8 T (one stick, or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

3/4 heaping cup of plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 450F. Whisk together dry ingredients in large bowl or in a food processor with the metal blade. Cut in the chilled butter or pulse in the processor just until the mixture resembles wet sand (coarse sand like in Michigan, not Chicago sand). Stir or pulse in the yogurt until the dough starts to come together. If it seems too dry add some milk. Quick doughs don't like to be handled too much, so don't over mix. Divide into 8 or 12 pieces and cook on an ungreased baking sheet. 10 minutes should do it.

For making scrambled eggs, use only the freshest eggs laid by buff orpingtons, still warm from the hen house, a little salt, a little pepper. Lightly beat with the tiniest bit of milk which breaks up the protein strands and allows the eggs to fluff while cooking. Do not burn.


Here's the sausage ingredient list. I adjusted the amounts for a pound of pork. A pound is plenty for breakfast. You'll also notice I call for dried sage. I usually would never use dried herbs for anything, but I also don't like paying for the boxed stuff at the grocery. If you have a good source for the fresh stuff, get it and at least double the amount of the fresh as called for the dried. Or just use dried, or if you got some outside under the snow...

It works.

Ginger and Sage Breakfast Sausage

1 lb (455g) Pork Shoulder
8g (heaping tsp) Salt
10g (Tablespoon) Ginger, grated
2g (2 Tablespoons) dry rubbed sage
4g (4 cloves) garlic, peeled and minced
2g (1 tsp) Ground black pepper
50ml (1/3 cup) ice water

Please note the volume measurements are approximations of the metric measurements. Just do what smells right and have a great breakfast.


07 February, 2007

Saucisse en Brioche a la Lyonnaise

Pigs in a blanket. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. Did you think it was an American invention? Nah, they have been mixing up in Lyons for centuries. In Lyons, According to Larousse Grastronomique, they use a saucisson- cervelas, which is described by Jane Grigson in her book, The Art of Charcuterie, as a cured sausage containing pork, bacon, steak and garlic and may be lightly smoked. Since I had some saucisses de Campagne, left over from last week's cassoulet, I just used that instead. Call it, Saucisse en Brioche a l'Owl Head.
The Dough.

Brioche dough is a yeast dough with a lot of eggs and butter. I used the recipe from The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This dough takes a couple days to make so plan accordingly. It's really sticky.

After 24 hours in the fridge the dough is ready to be worked.

I sauted the sausages and let them cool a little bit.

I did a couple of chicken hot dog for the guys.

I let them rise for about 30 minutes, then into the oven at 325F for 20.

Ye ow, puffy. This was my first time for Brioche dough, some tweaking is in order.

The boys liked their hot dogs.

A little mustard from D'Dorf, heaven in a bun. I served it with a cabbage and potato soup, a great way to keep warm on these cold days.