The second I saw these ingredients on The Leftover Queen’s Forum, I instantly knew I was doing barbecue-something.
I usually make my own barbecue sauce. that started with a well-known company deciding not to continue a particular product we really liked. While we still had some of their sauce, I went to work to duplicate the taste. It took a little bit, but we got there. After 20 odd years, that flavor lives in my head somewhere and I can always find it when I want it. I figured since tomato paste is a standard tomato base, and honey and molasses aren’t that far apart as far as intensity of sweetness…it’s that “other” flavor, that slightly almost burned flavor, that comes with molasses that would be different, but that could come in somewhere along the way…and brew…no problem there! Local brew no less! That’s not just easy, that part was TOO easy! We’re rockin’ and rollin’!! And so I parked the Joust on a shelf in the back of my mind and let the rest of July unfurl before me with all it’s grandeur…and there was plenty of grandeur! Two 4th of July concerts to participate in, preparations to accept the newest member of our family…and that was a BIG chore!…lots of heat…the arrival of our adopted mustang mare, Willow (YAY!!), and finally a chance to breathe…
Suddenly, there was only a week of July left and I hadn’t made a move toward getting my Jousting dish done. What seemed so easy, just hadn’t found its way to the forefront yet. I hadn’t even determined which protein to use… Then…while emailing a friend in Texas it dawned on me…brisket… Brisket marinated and slow roasted, barbecued or smoked would be absolutely heavenly! And that was that.
I built a dry rub that was moistened into a paste on the beef with the beer, tomato and honey. The brisket marinated in the paste, with additional beer and a splash of balsamic vinegar overnight, was seared to form a crust, and set to braise slowly in a low oven for several hours. The meat will become fall apart tender, so allow it to set a bit before attempting to slice, and make sure you slice it against the grain, like you would corned beef. This is a fabulous base for BBQ beef sandwiches! I can’t wait to try this method on a Tri Tip!!
Western Pacific “Barbecue” Brisket
Beef brisket (cooking time will be 1 to 1-1/2 hours per pound)
1 recipe Momma G’s Dry Rub (recipe follows)
1/2 cup beer (we used Western Pacific Brewing and Dining’s Keddie Red Ale)
4 tsp. tomato paste, divided
2 Tbsp. honey, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Poke holes in the meat with a fork and cover the surface of the brisket completely with an even coating of the dry rub. Rub the seasonings into the meat, moistening with small amounts of beer to make a paste as you go. You’ll need to drizzle out the beer about a teaspoon at a time. It works better to work from a moist area to a dry area, as the liquid wants to pool and run off the dry rub. When the surface is covered with a very thick paste, turn the meat over onto a sheet of plastic wrap or foil to do the other side. Do not try to use all the beer. You’ll only use about half for this.
When both sides of the brisket are coated with the seasoned paste, add 2 teaspoons tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of honey to one side of the meat and mix over the entire surface of the meat. Turn the brisket and repeat with the other side. Place the meat in a zip-lock bag (preferable) or wrap in large sheets of foil. Add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (not the wonderful Italian balsamic…the run of the mill variety we’re provided making us think it’s the real thing) to the remaining beer and pour over the meat. Seal tightly and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the meat from the wrappings. If you’ve used a bag you’re able to save the wonderful rub seasonings for your cooking procedure. Scrape as much of the paste from the meat as you can. Sear the meat in a hot skillet to form a nice crust on the meat, on both sides. Place the meat, fat side down, in a baking dish just large enough to hold it along with the seasonings from the bag. Rinse the bag with 1/2 cup additional beer if desired. Add any additional seasonings to the braising liquid that you desire. Seal the pan and roast at 225° for 1 to 1-1/2 hours per pound, or until the meat is fork tender, turning the meat once, halfway through the estimated cooking time.
Before we get to tasting is smelling… The aroma from this brisket was killer…for so many hours! This stuff started smelling heavenly right off jump-street. That was such torture.
The result was…not what I anticipated. The flavor was exactly what I expected…and it was great! However, the meat was incredibly dry. The taste of the rub isn’t at fault…the cooking process wasn’t at fault… However this is the 2nd brisket I’ve purchased from this market that was poor. I think it’s my last. I’m so disappointed. It’s ok. It’s just not what I was anticipating.
We had some fabulous sandwiches from it regardless…a little homemade BBQ sauce mixed with Pineapple juice and sliced beef, piled high on a ciabatta roll…served with cold melon…what a great summer dinner! Like I said, it’s not bad, it just isn’t what I was anticipating in my mouth when I went to work on it! I think it would be fabulous on Tri tip…a little more marbling in the meat…
Momma G’s Dry Rub
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns, toasted and cracked
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. CA sweet paprika
1 Tbsp. powdered CA chili pepper
1 tsp. whole Mexican oregano, crushed
1/3 c garlic granules
1/3 c onion granules
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar.
Makes about 1- 1/2 cups