There’s a lot of things in life that I’m impatient about:
3) New seasons of Dexter and Homeland to start
So for me, slow-cooking is a real challenge. I’ve been known to burn an entire layer of skin off the inside of my mouth because I can never wait for things to cool down before I dive into them, because sometimes things just look sooooo goooood that I am willing to sacrifice a burnt tongue and those funny little blisters that form on the roof of my mouth to get that first bite.
And after waiting 6 hours for this Texas Beef Brisket to cook, well let’s just say R.I.P tastebuds.
I found this recipe on Food Network, and after reading a lot of the reviews underneath, it seemed to me that most people used it as a base and then added their own touches to it. Which is exactly what I did, and while sometimes my ‘a little bit of this and a little of that’ can lead to a mess of a dinner, this time I’m pretty sure I nailed it. And what better to serve Texas Pulled Brisket on than buttery biscuits?
Don’t even think about those 100 calorie sandwich thins. Don’t you dare.
Texas Pulled Beef Brisket Biscuit Sliders
*Inspired by Food Network – Biscuit recipe from Alton Brown
For the Brisket:
3-4 lbs of beef brisket
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons chilli powder
1 bay leaf crushed
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons stone ground dijon mustard
2 cups beef broth
2 – 12oz cans/bottles beer of your choice
(I used Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale which is like an IPA)
1) Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, prepare your spice rub by combining all of the spices (from Kosher salt to red pepper flakes). Set aside.
2) In another small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and dijon mustard until combined. Then rub the mixture all over the brisket. After the brisket is covered in the dijon marinade, you can then cover it with the spice rub.
3) Place the brisket in a roasting pan and cook uncovered for 1 hour.
4) After an hour, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Remove the brisket from the oven and add the beef broth and beer to the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover with foil and cook for another 3 hours or until the meat has become fork tender and shreddable.
5) Shred the brisket, place the meat in a dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet with the juices from the bottom of the pan and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours. This step really is optional, but I like to let the meat absorb all the flavors of the juices. You could also take the juices and reduce them in a small saucepan to make a reduction for the brisket.
For The Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup chilled buttermilk
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2) In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.)
3) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
4) Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter (I don’t have a cutter, but the top of a wine glass works great!) Be sure to push straight down through the dough.
5) Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.
6) Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until biscuits are tall and light gold on top.
7) Assemble your sliders by slicing a biscuit and loading it up with shredded brisket.
I had some broccoli slaw that I threw on for a splash of color, but even just on their own, these are little pieces of heaven 🙂
Not only did a Hurricane blow through this week, but so did Halloween! Luckily, Sandy swept in and out just in time for a cool, fall night for the kiddos to do some trick or treating. And this guy got to hand out lots of candy…
I was trying to find the perfect Halloween dinner (hot dogs were off limits) and I went through lots of pumpkin/squash/fally’ type entrees. But then, for some reason, short ribs popped into my head, followed by tacos. So boom – Short Rib Tacos it was! I investigated a variety of different recipes, but this one from So Tasty, So Yummy sounded like the best flavor combination to me. I took the base of it, added a little of this and a little of that, and I don’t often throw rose petals at myself, but Halloween night, it was a shower of rose petals, because man were these good! We paired them with those delicious Pickled Red Onions from the Southwestern Pulled Brisket Taco recipe, some cilantro and fresh homemade salsa, and oooh it was a Halloween dinner to remember!
Short Rib Tacos
*Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy
8-10 short ribs (bone in or boneless)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 small cans of black beans
1 – 14.5 oz can tomatoes w/ green chilis
1 – 14.5 oz can regular diced tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored but I don’t think it matters – if you wanted to kick up the heat, you could probably use 2 cans of the tomatoes w/ chilis)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilli flakes
juice of 2 limes
3 cups beef broth
*corn or flour tortillas
1) Mix the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in a bowl. Rub each short rib in the spice mixture and place them in a large ziplock bag. Let marinade in the fridge for at least an hour (obviously, the longer the better! I think I did mine for about an hour and a half)
2) In a food processor, take the 2 cans of black beans and the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and puree together. Set aside.
3) In a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) heat 4 tbsp. olive oil. Brown each short rib on both sides and then set aside on a plate.
4) To the same dutch oven, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Then add the garlic and chili flakes and saute another minute, or until fragrant.
5) Add the beef broth, lime juice and black bean/tomato puree to the garlic and onion mixture, scraping the brown bits from the short ribs. Return the browned short ribs to the dutch oven in a single layer and let come to a boil.
6) Reduce heat to low and cook the short ribs on low heat for up to 4 hours, depending on how much time you have (the longer cooked, the more tender the meat). After about an hour and a half, shred the short ribs and return the shredded meat back to the sauce to soak in the flavor. If they’re on a bone, the meat can be removed from the bone and shredded, or if they’re boneless, you can just shred the meat.
7) Be sure to reserve some of the sauce from the short ribs and reduce it for 10-15 minutes before serving. It’s a great little accompaniment to the tacos!
Serve the short ribs on corn or flour tortillas with the reduced sauce, some salsa, queso fresco and cilantro. Mmmmmmm.
Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!
When I started working at my current job 7 years ago, I was a spring chicken at the ripe old age of 23, which back then I thought was ancient. During my interview, I wore my ‘I’ll-only-be-caught-dead-in-this-at-job-interviews’ black business suit, ready to impress. And while I was pretty sure I had the job in the bag, being that my future ‘boss’ was a family friend, I still wanted to come across as very professional and ‘adult’, even though I was only a year and change out of college, and still considered Thursdays to be the start of the weekend. But all you need to be a professional adult is a business suit and a fancy leather folder for your resumes right? Right!
I met Suzanne – she was sweet and inviting, putting me at ease – I could tell that she’d much rather chat about what had happened on last night’s episode of the Bachelor than my credentials, which I loved! Then this other woman charged in the door – wide eyed and guns blazing – and she didn’t even have to utter a word for me to know that she meant business – “Hi , I’m Paula, the Exhibit Sales Manager – you’ll be working with me.” She asked me everything about myself but my blood type and social security number – and the room started to feel smaller and darker, like I was in the middle of an interrogation vs. a job interview. I left feeling good, like I nailed it, but at the same time thinking to myself “I’m kind scared to work with that Paula-woman!”.
And now, 7 years later, Paula is someone who has influenced my life in more ways than I could ever describe. She became a not only a mentor, but a friend, teaching me everything from how to count booths on a floor plan, how to make the best homemade pie crust and how in life, shit happens, and sometimes you just have to ‘let it go’. The life lessons and stories that she’s passed on and her ‘Paula-isms’ like “He’s as old as Jerusalem” or use of the word “Boink“, which still makes me blush, I now use myself, and stop myself. And every time one of them slips past my lips, I chuckle about how much she has rubbed off on me.
Today is her last day with the company – she’s pursuing her lifelong love of writing, hoping to inspire people all over the world with the ‘power of the pen’ and inspirational magnets – and if she can do for them 1/2 of what she’s done for me over the years, than the world will be a much better place.
In the midst of wisdom, she’s passed on some damn good recipes. As a self-proclaimed ‘guinea’, her cooking is beyond incredible – and her recipe for crockpot meatballs is a perfect fall dinner. Takes a little bit of time, but is well worth the wait if you can be patient – and the smell that will fill your house while they’re cooking is better than any celebrity perfume out there.
Paula’s Crockpot Meatballs
(straight from the horses mouth – or email from 2009)
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
1 lb ground beef 80/20 (more fat makes a softer better tasting meatball)
½ lb ground pork
½ cup Progresso Italian flavored bread crumbs
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup water
2 TBS chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
½- tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1) Mix bread crumbs, egg, water, cheese, parsley and spices together to form a soft paste like consistency.
2) Fold in ground beef and pork, turn to mix paste into meat. Do not over mix you’ll toughen the meat.
3) Shape into meatballs and place on cookie sheet bake at 350 8ish minutes both sides, remove to rack. No need to overcook as they’ll to in the crock pot.
FOR THE CROCK POT SAUCE:
2 large cans of Tomato sauce – whichever brand you prefer
1 large can of crushed tomato – I use a Whole Foods organic Marzano tomatoes
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 onion cut in quarters
3 TBS butter
5 TBS Olive Oil
½ cup beef broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cumin
2 tsp brown sugar – sugar cuts acidity and brings out the fullness of the tomato flavor
fresh basil – I use 3 leafs
1) In sauce pan melt butter and oil on medium heat, add onions and cook til translucent – do not brown.
2) Add garlic and let it flower – do not brown.
3) Add the 3 cans of sauce and all spices except basil, bring to a slow boil.
4) Add a couple spoons of sauce to crock pot bottom. Add meatballs, then more sauce and the rest of the meatballs. Make sure meatballs are covered with remaining sauce.
5) Cook on low for 5 hours. About 1 hour before done add fresh basil.
*NOTES FROM PAULA – that are totally true
PS – better to make the meatballs the night before and refrigerate this prevents them from breaking apart in the sauce.
PS – I also remove a lot of the onions during the cooking process because they have a tendency to make the sauce acidic
So thank-you Paula, not only for these fantastic crock pot meatballs that I’ve made 39843958490 times, but for everything you’ve been to me over the last 7-years. I’m sure that someday, I will be making these for my grandchildren, telling them about my “Good friend Paula who gave me the recipe.”
It should be said that I ONLY share recycled recipes that have been made 239859849584 times by me if they’re REALLY good. And you’re in for a doozie.
Several years ago, when I started working at my current job, I met Bruce – he was the Vice President of the publishing department at the time, and he was a mean publisher of stuff regarding the A/E/C industry (insider lingo). But little did I know, he was also a mean COOKER of stuff. He’d come in on a Monday, and rattle off this list of food he had prepared over the weekend for one of his impromptu pool parties, or tailgates at a Pats game, and I’d sit there listening to him, drooling all over my keyboard, amazed by the culinary skills of this publisher by day, culinary expert by night. And then there was the fateful day when Bruce walked through the door with a crockpot. He plugged it in, and the smell wafted through the office, and everyone stuck their arms out and did the zombie strut into the kitchen following this smell of heaven. And the smell of heaven was coming from one of the most delicious concoctions of pulled meat I’ve ever tasted – Pulled Chicken. After he sent out the email with the recipe, I looked once, twice, three times and thought, “OMG – even I could make this!” and make I did – over and over and OVER again. It has been a go-to recipe of mine for years. Thanks Bruce!
The reason for the pulled chicken this time around, was a bittersweet one. One of my college gal pals is moving to Dallas in a few weeks with her husband Rudy and their two pooches, Sadie and Lucy. And while Dallas is a smidgen further away than Boston, I’m excited for all the adventures they have coming their way! (but sad that they just missed Khloe and Lamar – I envisioned them becoming BFF’s). So for Liz’s Wine Club send off, southern themed appetizers were an obvious choice. The PERFECT excuse to make Bruce’s Pulled Chicken Sliders!
Bruce’s Pulled Chicken Sliders
8 (or so) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp seasoned salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or olive)
1) Heat the oil in a dutch oven or skillet.
2) In a large bowl, mix all of the spices together and then coat the chicken thighs in the spice mixture.
3) When the oil is hot, brown the seasoned chicken on both sides on medium-high heat.
4) When the chicken is browned on both sides, transfer thighs to the crock pot.
5) Deglaze the hot dutch oven with the vinegar and scrape up all the browned bits and pour with the vinegar into crock pot.
6) Pour the BBQ sauce onto the browned chicken in the crock pot. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
7) When done, take two forks and shred the chicken in the crock pot and let sit for a few minutes. Serve on slider rolls, or all by itself!
It’s that easy friends – and so delicous. Perfect for an appetizer at a party, or for dinner served with mac and cheese and cornbread. It’ll bring out the southerner in you – promise.
So thank-you Bruce for this classic crowd pleaser that I’ve made so many times now, I don’t even need to look at the recipe anymore (good thing, because the printed version I have has globs of BBQ sauce all over it). And to Liz, Rudy, Sadie and Lucy, happy trails to you! Dallas doesn’t know how lucky they are to have you guys – can’t wait to visit! Maybe I’ll bring my crock pot and show the southerners how the yankees make pulled chicken 🙂
Dave can sometimes be competitive – well let’s say like 99.9999999% of the time anyway. And sometimes I think it’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s kind of annoying, especially when he does it with silly, everyday things that really don’t warrant being competitive – like when we go to a restaurant, and he proclaims that he can make that dish better than they can – or when we take a leisurely bike ride to get ice cream like a mile down the street from our house, and he rides 50 feet in front of me doing all these fancy bike tricks while I sit back on my Huffy from 7th grade and roll my eyes. Stuff like that.
So Friday, we decided to try this new place in Allston called Lone Star Taco, being that it was Cinco de Mayo eve. And it was delicous! A very simple menu, with only 6 types of tacos to choose from, a few other side dishes, and a selection of Tequillas that would make your head spin. But one of the favorite flavors of taco that we got was the smoked brisket taco. Yum. And I made the mistake of saying “Ya know, I bet you could make this at home in the crock pot” and Dave went on to tell me that it was impossible, because smoking meat is completely different than cooking it in the crockpot, and you’d never be able to achieve the same flavor – wah wah wahhhhh. And so my competitive side came out and I said “I will accept that challenge”. And accept I did 🙂
Southwestern Pulled Brisket Tacos
*Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
3 pounds beef brisket
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
(you could also use brown sugar or molasses)
1) Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker; leave the skillet on the heat.
2) Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add vinegar and boil until it’s almost gone, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
3) Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket.
4) Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; add the tomato juices, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and karo syrup.
5) Cover the cooker, set it on LOW, and cook the brisket until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 8 to 10 hours (my piece of brisket was only 2.5 lbs, so I did 8 hours)
6) After 8 hours, shred the beef. Strain the vegetables, etc. from the sauce and return to the crock pot. Return the shredded beef to the crock pot as well. Cook on low for another 2 hours or so (this will help the sauce infuse into the meat)
Pickled Red Onions
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 really good shots hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings
1) In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup of cold tap water.
2) Stir in salt, the sugar and the hot sauce.
3) Add the sliced onions and let sit for at least one hour.
*As with most things, the longer you let these ‘pickle’ the better!
You’ve waited a long time – GO EAT! As an added optional step, I took the sauce from the crockpot and let reduce for about 20 minutes over low heat in a saucepan and served the sauce with the tacos in addition to the picked onions. Just for some extra flavor.
So what’s the verdict you ask? Was my pulled brisket taco better than Lone Star’s? Well, let’s just say, that after 3 tacos, Dave said “we should definitely make that again” which = “Wow Kate, you were right – you CAN make it just as good in the crockpot” – I’m really good at reading minds 🙂
Hope everyone enjoyed their Cinco de Mayo weekend!
Sunday nights are pretty brutal – not only is your weekend over, but in like 12 hours, you’ll be starting another work week – a 5-day one at that. Ick. AND when you realize that you are not in fact $540 million dollars richer, as you had intended to be when you returned to work on Monday, well it’s just that extra punch in the stomach.
BUT a delicious Sunday dinner can make all the difference in the world, and let me tell you, this short rib recipe I found on Eat Yourself Skinny did NOT disappoint. Ironically though, it’s not exactly a skinny recipe haha. Leave it to me to go to a healthy blog and find the one non-good for you recipe they have. But I figured a) it’s the last night of the weekend and b) we didn’t win the lottery, so Dave and I deserve a special treat 🙂
So here it is kids – Slow-Cooked Short Ribs – a meal that takes 8-9 hours to be ready, but is worth the wait, so much so that Dave had seconds! He never does that! It’s got a little bite to it, but it’s sweet at the same time – paired with Garlic Mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, I don’t mind the food coma feeling this Monday morning. The only part I left out was the Worcestershire sauce. You know when you imagine something in your cabinet and then you go to get it and it’s not there? Yeah, that was the W. sauce for me – still amazing flavor though, and I’m sure the W. sauce would enhance it even more.