Saturday, October 23, 2021

Burnt Ends

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Smokey, saucey and tender.

I love Instagram, and one day I scrolled and saw the same photo over and over for burnt ends.  I did some googling and today was our second attempt at this deliciousness!  When you look at recipes, many use brisket, pork belly, one even called for Waygu.  I made what is commonly referred to as Poor Man's Burnt Ends.  And frankly, the name sort of ticks me off.  I get it, chuck roast, which is what I used, isn't the most expensive cut of meat.  I wait for it to go on special at Whole that Prime discount, and I know it is thicker and better than a chain grocery meat counter.  It's a gorgeous hunk of meat, and in just a few hours, what a treat!

We have a couple Green Eggs, but when it comes to smoking, we really love this little bullet smoker from Home Depot. It's cheap and does a great job. We bought it when we needed more ribs smoked than the Green Egg coud handle, and now its the go-to smoker.  It's so easy to use, and any charcoal works for me.  While the little smoker was heating up, we basically rubbed the roast with dry rub.  I make my own, following a recipe from one of my favorite Insta accounts, Grilling 24X7.  This Dry Rub makes a great gift, and is delicious.  I skipped the cayenne and red pepper flakes as I am the only spice lover here.  

Smoker set up, we added a handful of applewood chips. 

Once the smoker was hot, 250 degrees is ideal, we put the meat on.  Our little smoker has the water in the bottom (add wood chips!) and a couple shelves.  We put the meat up top, and wiggled the vents to keep the heat constant.  It did get a little hot, and that isn't the way to cook this.  Low and slow so it falls apart is best.  I think that's the beauty of a chuck roast, there is a bit of fat, so it doesn't really get tough.  But, going slower and longer, it will fall apart, think pot roast....  It should smoke in there for a good 4 hours.  I only add wood chips at the beginning, if you use good charcoal it doesn't need more smoke in my opinion.  We may have gotten a little antsy, and hungry, so we pulled it after 2 1/2 hours.  It was cooked, but not perfectly tender.  Back on it went.  Be patient.  Pull it off at 4 hours and cool for half hour or so.  

This was 2 1/2 hours, we gave it a little longer....

The first time we made these, we wrapped it in foil after 3 hours and cooked it an hour more.  After reading opinions on this, I decided I liked the crispy exterior, and it gets lost when it's wrapped in foil.  Today we skipped the foil step and liked it better for sure.

This is one 3# roast, so the last stage goes faster in a single layer.

Cut the roast into cubes and put the meat in a foil pan with the sauce.  Many recipes suggest more rub at this point as well.  We did that the first time and felt like it was just too much rub, and we skipped that step today.  Most BBQ sauces have a fair amount of sugar, and will caramelize well, but I added a tablespoon of honey to speed up the caramelization, a little brown sugar would work too.  A good hour to 2 is best to really get the cubes crispy and shiney with sauce.  It'll be less time if they are a single layer in the pan like mine, we went an hour.  If you cook a couple roasts and fill a pan for the last step, leave them longer to get them coated with sauce.  We stirred every 15 minutes. You'll know if they're ready, you won't be able to stand it.  Also, take a fork to check it out! The chunks should be super tender. 

Burnt Ends

3# chuck roast. Rub well on all sides with dry rub.  Prepare smoker with a water reservoir and some wood chips if you like. Smoke the roast at 250 degrees.  No higher, for 4 hours.  Maybe a bit longer if there are 2 roasts in there.  Take meat off, it should be dark and crispy.  Cool for 15-30 minutes and cut into cubes.  Put the meat cubes in a disposable foil pan with BBQ sauce of your choice.  Add a bit of honey (1-2T) or brown sugar (2-4T) for additional sweetness and caramelization if desired.  Mix well and put back on smoker for 1-2 hours depending on quantity.  Stir every 15 minutes and remove when glossy and delicious.  

What are you waiting for?  Get out there and cook!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Christmas Past.....MERRY ME!

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 Every once in awhile I made a platter of cookies that even I am like, Wow!  I did that!  This is one of those platters.  I made them last CHristmas when we were partying and socializing.  It's kind of sad to think this wedding probably was postponed or drastically cut.  I personally was uninvited to 5 weddings in 2020!  My directions for this party was Christmas but not Christmas green, and engagement but not "she said yes" cookies as they were engaged a few weeks ago. I know this friend well, and I knew this would be a pretty dressed up party (no blue jeans here), so the cookies needed to be elegant as well.

We decided on gold accents, which I just love with red and sage.  I hand painted the rings because I find gold airbrush to be the strangest color!!  I love some sugar crystals to add a little texture to the platter, and of course a diamond should sparkle.  There might be a dash of disco dust on there.

 I love the way the platters came together.  They originally wanted to do their own platters which I understand.  It's the South, we use Grandma's sterling and fine antique crystal, but I told them I would fill 2, 18" platters and it is doubtful they have anything that could accomodate 5 dozen cookies.  I know people are turned off by disposable plastic, but I am pretty adamant about making the platter myself. I have lots of practice!

A few days before pick up, she texted me and asked if I could add a dozen cookies.  Hmmm.  I usually have some basic blanks, and I had these fat stars.  I just love the Merry Me on them!!! They were a sweet addition, get it, sweet addition?  Yep. 

 I knew she was planning on doing white flowers, and I assumed there'd be poinsettias.  I found a tutorial from Sugarbelle on making poinsettias.  I didn't do so well.  I had the tip, but I made these giant round cookies thinking I could fill it with one poinsettia.  That didn't work.  I made dozens of these smaller poinsettias on parchment paper and put 3 on a round cookie, but I know I will use them all the season.  I improvised and I really love my very organic poinsettias!  I also loved the white background for my poinsettias where I sprinkled a little gold shimmer on the white, I just loved the way everything sparkled!  The hearts were inspired by Clough'd 9 cookies, Amy is super talented.  My pine boughs need a little refining.....

So there you have it.  Another Christmas first in the books.  Ho, ho, ho....what are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Blog Continues

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I wrote the other day about pumpkin cookies and my old house in Clinton, Iowa.  I think everyone has a nostalgic view of their childhood, or even just aspects of it. I received a message about my last blog and this reader enjoyed it and shared it with others. Then she went shopping for ingredients, and apparently crystallized ginger is hard to find in Iowa. Blogs are rarely blogs these days. Many of my old blogging friends have given up and moved on.  I hardly recognize many of my favorites still out there, as you have to scroll through miles of ads, photo after photo and finally, somewhere at the bottom is the recipe you wanted to begin with.  Like everything, it's all monetized.  I am not going to lie and say I am not interested in making money, but I refuse to let the easy reading, get to the recipe, and a few pictures get mottled up by click bait.  Even many of my Facebook friends don't post about their kids and vacations, it's what they're selling.  The deals, the groups of happy friends you too can have if you just have this product....and then instagram, lordy.  Don't get me started on the influencers.  But that's the way these days, and kudos for those that jumped in. And admittedly I buy sometimes too. But I am a writer at heart, a cook/baker for the love of food, and this blog is personal to me, so much more than money. I have a lot to say, but even if all you want is the recipe, it's pretty easy to get to!

Today, as the remnants of a hurricane blow through, it seemed the perfect time to bake some amazing pumpkin bread, Brother Boniface Pumpkin Bread to be exact, and to maybe write again. Time really does change everything, and my cooking has changed plenty in the last 5 years as I became an empty nester.  And now, a grandmother.  What an awesome job title!  I still bake thousands of cookies, and I do try and post here so folks can see, but instagram is easier for me, and since I rarely make cookies for someone I don't know, I don't feel bad they have to scroll through baby pics and golf outings.  

I have decided a few new avenues for blogging as I move forward.  First, I am going to revisit the 50 chefs for 50 years, since I am still in my 50's!  I was going to try and power through 50 in one year, but college volleyball, work, Oklahoma football, and so many things got in the way.  I did post 15, and many more are in draft folders, so it'll be fun to knock this out!  Here is the list thus makes for great reading!

50 Chefs For 50 Years

#1 My Mom and Steak in a Bag and Ambrosia Pie  This is a classic midwestern menu, and we loved every bite!

#2 Chuck Williams of Williams Sonoma and Cheese Soufflé I wrote this in my 16th year at Williams Sonoma, and Chuck was still alive at 98.  The following year my store closed and Chuck passed.  It was an honor to be a part of his vision.

#3 Dinah Shore and Crab Cakes with Jalepeño Tartar Sauce These are great, and I make them often.  Dinah would be proud of my new addiction to golf!  A few links are broken in her blog, so if you don't know who she is, it's worth looking her up.  She had some amazing men in her life, George Montgomery, Frank Sinatra and Burt Reynolds. Her cookbook was California cuisine way before its time.

#4 Deborah Madison and Summer Squash Tatines. The expert on vegetarian cuisine.

#5 & #6 Eli and Max Sussman and the Very BEST Autumn Dinner. Side note, I gave this book to my son, and took it back a year later.  It's really that good.  

#7 Ina Garten Chopped Cape Cod Salad  I chose this because I had already made everything else! You have to read the blog about visiting LA for the cookbook signing.  It is hilarious!!

#8 & #9 Julee Russo and Sheila Lukins The New Basics Chicken Puttanesca  My most used book!

#10 Paul Prudhomme and Mirliton Pirogues   I love a blog on an American cuisine that has a pronunciation guide!

#11 Giada's Pumpkin Spice Cookies. I know, you were expecting something Italian....that's the idea here, well rounded chefs.  

#12 Richard Sax and the The Farmer's Market Veggie Soup. He will make a second appearance!!

#13 John Currence and Oven Fried Chicken  

#14 Gilligan's Island Coconut Cream Pie Yep.  I am a child of the 70's. 

#15 Dom DeLouise and Orange Cookies. Don't judge, read it.  

So off we go, 35 left, and I won't waste a minute.  Stay tuned.....