Monday, April 09, 2007

Finger Lickin'

Yesterday Brad and I celebrated Easter with friends by hosting yet another BBQ dinner party. Armed once again with the recipes from last year's New School class, we called on our food-loving friends and organized a pot-luck style feast. As the menu pulled itself together over the coarse of the last week, my excitement grew. I worked up the biggest appetite I could, but none of us were prepared for the belly buster this meal turned out to be.

•Green Salad
•Roasted Veggies
•Deviled Eggs
•Buttermilk Biscuits
•Fried Chicken
•Collard Greens
•Mac and Cheese
•Barbecue Brisket
•Souffléed Cheese Grits
•Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler
à la mode
•Peeps and chocolate bunnies and things

Can you believe anyone ate all that? Neither could we and some of us even had seconds! We washed it down with plenty of beer then laid back and watched a Brooklyn-lovin' screening of The Warriors on our digital projector. What a day, Happy Easter!

Oven Barbecued Brisket
serves 8-10

for the barbecue sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup tomato purée
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic

for the brisket
5 pounds "thin cut" beef brisket in 1 or 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚ and make the sauce: Mix the dry ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients, and simmer slowly until slightly thickened - about 20 minutes.

2. Dry the brisket thoroughly with paper towels and salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over moderately high heat. Brown the meat about 3 minutes on each side.

3. Tear a piece of aluminum foil 3x the length of the brisket and lay it on a baking sheet. Spoon 1/2 the sauce onto the center of the foil then lay 1/2 the onions on top. Lay the brisket on the foil and then top with the remaining onions and sauce. Fold the foil over the brisket and crimp the edges closed to prevent leakage. Cut a second sheet of foil and wrap a second time.

4. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Let rest briefly then carefully open the packet and let the sauce run onto the baking sheet. Slice the brisket thinly across the grain and transfer to a platter. Spoon the sauce and juices to cover and serve. (I like to make a little extra BBQ sauce and serve on the side like gravy!)

*Brisket can be prepared up to 4 days in advance. Reheat in a heavy covered pot in a 300˚ oven, adding a bit of water if the mixture looks dry.

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