Monday, January 25, 2021

expansive, visionary, innovative, conservative but not afraid to buck convention

 ~The qualities needed for eating well~


I want to talk about food a little bit.

We had brisket yesterday.  Brisket from our own cow.  It makes exactly the fourth brisket I've ever cooked.  Or eaten.  Because it wasn't a thing in my family.  But if you kill a cow, you'd better figure out how to eat some cuts you aren't accustomed to.

So that's one part of it -- being expansive.  But here's another part.  To eat the brisket on Sunday, I thought about it on Thursday and got it out of the freezer on Friday (although I really should have gotten it out of the freezer on Thursday when I thought about it -- because I didn't, it did part of its thawing process on the warming shelf and if I'd done it on Thursday, it could have all been in the fridge which would also save fridge energy (everything working together for them that love the lawd and all)).  It needed to be thawed on Friday or Saturday so that it could be trimmed and rubbed and marinate in that rub for as long as possible before the long, slow cooking process started.

So, expansive and visionary.  But there's also new information and new skills.  I had once sold milk to an old Texas family who I heard TALK about brisket.  When I had our first two, I asked an old Oklahoma family about fixing brisket and she literally only told me about a commercially available rub and to cook it for 12 hours.  All the recipes said six, but ok.  All the "authentic" recipes said smoke it but I don't have or particularly want a smoker.  NO ONE SAID A DAMN THING ABOUT TRIMMING IT.  It was finally somewhere in perusing recipes for the fourth brisket that I ran across a reference to trimming it.  Well dang howdy yeah, the previous briskets HAD been fatty and while that fat tasted good, the brisket just had not lived up to its billing. I started reading an article about trimming when I was called to wood duty (gathering from nearby woods that day, as we had a 30 day forest permit).  I look at daughter who isn't on wood duty and who does some other butchering and say, please trim this for me.  "What?"  I show her my article.  She says she'll YouTube it.  I came home with a FULL truck load of wood and to a perfectly trimmed brisket.  It was obvious looking at it that THIS would cook MUCH more evenly.  Oh.  Duh.  Well.  When you knew better you did better.

Expansive, visionary, innovative.  There was a whole bowl of mostly fat scraps.  I cut those up into smaller pieces and started them rendering.  Don't know exactly what I'll use the tallow for waste not, want not.

Expansive, visionary, innovative, conservative.  I don't remember until I ask the husband which dead relative we got the electric roaster from.  We weren't used to using it, that's for sure.  But I've had it out several times for the briskets because low and slow it is perfect for.  I remember in the summer I ran an extension cord out and did it in the bed of the pick-up.  Not needed this time, but last thing I did Saturday night was put a quart of beef bullion into the bottom of the roaster, put the trimmed brisket on the rack, set the temp to 250*, tell everyone that the house should be smelling really good in the middle of the night, and went to bed.  About 12 hours later the internal temp was about 150 and we turned it off.

Expansive, visionary, innovative, conservative but not afraid to buck convention.  Sliced thin across grain, served with au jus, chopped slaw blend of our making (cabbage, carrot, sunchoke, jalapeño) left to be individually dressed, sauteed mushrooms, and cheddar biscuits (because after another day gathering wood, we were too late and tired to wash and roast potatoes and sunchokes and biscuits from scratch is easy, and we had grated cheddar in fridge that needed eating).

It's about time to kill the last cow.  And start over.  Which will also mean pigs.

3 comments:

Wendy said...

I've never, actually, successfully, cooked a brisket. We can't raise our own, due to lack of space. When we are fortunate enough to get a cow share, and I think, most of the time, that cut ends up in hamburger, which tends to be what we get the most of in our "share." That said, I have no problem finding ways to use up all that hamburger.

I did appreciate your comments on the need to plan ahead. My husband laughs when I ask him at 10:00 am what he wants for dinner, because I know, depending on his answer, I might need to make some preparations. And there have been many times when I planned Sunday's dinner on Friday, by pulling something out of the freezer to thaw.

Shane said...

It's funny the things you don't think about. Being from Texas in not occurred to me that somebody somewhere didn't eat brisket! Anytime there's a gathering here for any reason, church, funeral, reunions, somebody "fixes a brisket"

CG said...

Everyone I've ever known raised in Texas (or actually oklahoma for one of them) says that. 😂 I will say, delicious. We are in birthday season here, and we just had cow tongue tacos for the first time (we made tortillas from corn we raised), and the next one is cheese steak sandwiches, which will be from some of the last cow slaughtered. We have one more to go to slaughter but... The slaughter houses are FULL. Like 900 people to call back once they even start booking again. Surely someone will open one...