Down Home

by wjw on April 18, 2020

brisketI don’t want to cause too many cases of resentful food envy here, but I’m kinda proud of this one.  What we have here is barbecue beef brisket, potato salad, and collard greens.

The brisket was cooked sous vide for 72 hours at 155 degrees F, then spent two hours in the oven to give it a good crust, or “bark” as BBQ aficionados call it.  The result was a very tender, flavorful, quite lean, and attractive protein, of which I scoffed down more than my share.

I’d never actually cooked collards before, but I knew that the most important parts of the recipe aren’t the greens, but the garlic, onions, and smoked pork product that are cooked along with the greens.  (I had hickory-smoked bacon, so that’s what I used, along with the bacon fat.)

The potato salad came out of a container.  (Sorry, it can’t be genius all the time.)

I went to the supermarket to buy some elements of this down-home meal, along with some fruit (plus a couple bottles of scotch, because, y’know, you gotta get through this isolation somehow).  I wore my mask, but I was surprised how many people didn’t, including whole families, and by this I concluded that the epidemic was far from over.

The supermarket put down one-way stickers in all the aisles, and were also enforcing social isolation in the checkout lines.  The result was that the lines for checkout, with everyone six feet or more apart, went far back into the food aisles, which resulted in everyone checking out going the wrong way along the one-way aisles, and crowding the people going the right way.  (I went down the aisle in reverse, with the cart pointed the right way.  Just to confuse everyone, I suppose.)

The supermarket has its heart in the right place, but needs to work on its moves just a little.

On the way home I stopped by the park and did a couple of laps while listening to the audio book of Quillifer the Knight, featuring the excellent Ralph Lister, who ought to be nominated for an MBE or something for his work in audio.  There were very few people, most practicing social isolation by sitting in their pickup trucks.  I think they go sit there just to get out of their homes.

After returning home, I jumped clothes and all into the hot tub, which has been filled with bleach solution.  (No, just kidding.  I just washed my hands a lot.)

Cooking always relaxes me, and eating too much always makes me want to take naps.  Maybe that’s what I’ll do next.

Brad DeLong April 19, 2020 at 9:08 am

Meanwhile, I have a 7-lb. manchego cheese from La Mancha, imported in solidarity with one of the worst-hit countries…

Ralf T. Dog. April 19, 2020 at 10:19 pm

I don’t feel bad at all. Today I had rice.

Etaoin Shrdlu April 23, 2020 at 6:18 pm

If you ever want to do a charity-auction raffle item, you could make a fortune off “Dinner with Iron Chef Walter”. Just direct people to look at your cooking entries here (I hope you have them tagged for easy searching).

Ray Kuntz April 26, 2020 at 12:05 am

Amen brother Williams! Sous Vide is beyond any doubt the the most enlightened method of brisket preparation. That brisket looks good. And while brisket isn’t specifically New Mexican I will say there’s nothing else like real New Mexico cooking and I miss it still. I left New Mexico for Montana 25 years ago and have to have the green chilies shipped north to improvise the best I can. Life is meaningless without them. The juice from the sous vide bag, simmered with roasted green chilies thrown in, makes a nice brisket gravy. A very nice brisket gravy.

wjw April 26, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Fortunately I’m locked away with stacks and stacks of green chiles.

I did that very approach with the gravy for a rump roast I sous vide’d last night.

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