Hickory-Smoked Beef Brisket

On September 7, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I decided to do a modified version of this recipe from the LA Times. Last night I made a rotisserie chicken and tonight I decided to do a rotisserie version of beef brisket that actually turned out fantastic. The meat was very moist and I put in adjusted cooking times from the LA Times recipe to account for a smaller piece of meat. The recipe that follows works great for a 2-2 1/2 pound brisket. If you want to use a larger piece, follow the LA Times recipe.

For the barbecue sauce, I went with Bandana’s BBQ sauce from St. Louis, Missouri. I used their Sweet & Smoky version which went very well with the hickory smoked meat.

Hickory-Smoked Beef Brisket
Serves 4

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (2 1/2 pound) beef brisket with a layer of fat no thicker than 1/2 -inch

2 bottles of beer

1 cup water

Hickory chips, soaked

1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin and garlic powder. Rub the mix into the brisket and let sit at room temperature, 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare your smoker or grill to cook over low, indirect heat for several hours. Set up a drip pan underneath where the brisket will smoke, and fill with the beer and water. Shortly before cooking, adjust the heat as needed to maintain a temperature around 250 degrees, and add hickory chips to start smoking.

3. Place the brisket on a rotisserie rack and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Set a pan with beer and water mixture below rotating beef making sure the beef dips into the basting sauce. Adjust the heat as needed (add several coals to either side of the grill as needed if using a kettle grill) to maintain the ambient temperature (around 250 degrees); replenish the chips as needed to keep smoking. The rotisserie will baste the brisket keeping it moist.

4. After 1 1/2 hours, wrap the brisket (fat side up) tightly in foil and continue to cook over indirect low heat until the meat is fork-tender, 2 additional hours (time may vary depending on the heat of the smoker and size and thickness of the brisket).

5. Remove the brisket from heat and, still wrapped in foil, cover it with a layer of newspaper and kitchen towels to keep warm. Set aside, covered, for at least 15 minutes before serving.

6. Slice against the grain of the meat and plate. Squirt barbecue sauce over meat and serve an extra portion of sauce on the side.

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Rotisserie Chicken in a Cherry Ale Basting Sauce

On September 7, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This recipe requires a rotisserie. Also, I used Cerise Cherry Ale from Grand Rapids, Michigan for the beer which added a nice sweetness to the basting sauce. You can use any beer, I would just avoid stouts or porters as they overpower everything.

I did not make a sauce the night I did this recipe. It is optional.

Our local farmers market
Rotisserie Chicken in a Cherry Ale Basting Sauce
Serves 4

One whole roasting chicken

Basting Sauce
12 oz. beer
12 oz. water
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
flour

Heat grill rotisserie for 15 minutes on high.

Wash chicken and pat with paper towel to remove water. Cut one tablespoon of butter off stick of butter and place into cavity of chicken. Put chicken on rotisserie rod.

In a pan add beer, water, butter, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Place chicken on grill rotisserie and place basting pan under chicken so chicken is dipping into the sauce. Cook chicken for 1 1/2 hours on high heat in closed grill.

When done cut chicken into serving pieces. Add about half of the basting sauce to a small sauce pan and heat at medium on stove, bring it to a boil. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix with equal part water and blend so there are no lumps of flour, add water as necessary. Reduce basting sauce when at boil and add flour/water mixture and mix. Let it heat so the sauce thickens.

Plate chicken and drizzle sauce over chicken.

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Gnocchi with Red Sauce

On September 7, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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You can make this recipe without the Italian sausage for a vegetarian version. Also, you can skip the whole oven process and just serve the pasta with the red sauce and pasta finished in a saute pan. If you make it without the oven steps, skip the bread crumbs but still use the mozzarella and parmesan cheese just cook them in the pan with the pasta and sauce until they mozzarella partially, but not fully, melts.

Gnocchi with Red Sauce
Serves 4

1 lb ricotta gnocchi
14 ounces of red sauce*
1/4 lb. italian sausage
1/3 lb. fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup of cooked spinach
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat water for gnocchi to boil, reduce heat to a gentle boil. Add a sprinkle of salt to the water and add gnocchi. Cook according to package directions. For fresh gnocchi, cook for about 2 minutes.

In a pan on medium-high heat, add italian sausage, sprinkle dried basil and oregano over sausage, and break it into smaller chunks with spoon. Cook until done, about 4 mintues. Mix often and set aside once cooked.

Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium heat. Add sliced garlic to pan and let it cook for 1 minute. Add spinach and cook spinach until done. You want to make a 1/2 cup of cook spinach. Set aside once done.

Heat red sauce in pan on medium heat. Reduce heat once it boils to remove boil. Add spinach with garlic and add cooked sausage. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute.

In a dutch oven or oven safe ceramic pan, add cooked gnocchi and red sauce mixture together. Tear mozzarella balls into pieces and mix in with gnocchi and sauce. Mix in parmesan cheese. Sprinkle top of pasta with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil to help brown bread crumbs in oven.

Place dutch oven in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Sauce should be bubbling and bread crumbs should be golden brown when finished. Plate with garlic bread or salad. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over pasta.

* For the red sauce , I use Mario Batali’s Basic Red Sauce recipe. The most important thing about this recipe is using the right canned whole peeled tomatoes. I highly recommend using ONLY Carmelina ‘e San Marzano. I make it according the recipe and freeze about 4 containers with enough sauce for making a pound of pasta. For this recipe you just need 1 container, approximately 14 ounces.

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