Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oven Baked Brisket

A few years ago, my younger self would have scoffed at the idea of cooking a brisket in the oven, but cold weather, darkness, lack of time, and the need for a potluck dish to feed up to 20 of my co-workers caused me to actually embrace the idea last week.

I used the Cook's Illustrated brisket recipe circu 2005 that I credit for helping me fine tune my competition brisket technique. After experimenting with the recipe a little bit back in the day I drastically improved the consistency of my brisket at KCBS contests. I would gladly post a link to the recipe if I could find one, but most of the links are to personal blogs and discussion boards that have reprinted the recipe from the published magazine. If I run across a direct link to the recipe, I'll post it here.

Whole brisket trimmed to make it a "flat".
I used a skillet for 7 minutes to help sear the meat side.

I flipped the brisket and skipped the skillet for another 7 minutes.

Then I carmelized some onions with a little brown sugar.

I don't have any more pictures of the process to share, but to summarize the onions were layered across the bottom of the pan with the brisket placed on top. I finished off the brisket in the oven for 3 hours at 300 degrees. At that point the brisket was 198 internal temperature.

I removed it from the oven and let it rest 30 minutes at room temperature before slicing. The slices were marinated in the au jus overnight in the refrigerator. The fat was skimmed from the surface before reheating.

The brisket was reheated for 25 minutes with some cooking wine and 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar as suggested by the original recipe.

An oven cooked brisket will never compete directly with a smoker cooked brisket, but it was actually pretty good overall.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A Visit to Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, MI

We were in Ann Arbor today for some Christmas shopping.  After a trip to Sears and Macy's we headed across town to the Hallmark store.  Before making the trip back to Bellville for stops at Dunham's, Dick's, and Kroger, we decided to find a place to eat lunch.

As luck would have it, the Hallmark store shares a shopping center that includes Zingerman's Roadhouse. Click here to read more about Zingerman's.
The front door area at Zingerman's Roadhouse on Jackson Road.
This cell phone picture doesn't do justice to the sign.
I wish it had been dark outside. It must be amazing at night!

Here is a view of the drive through area aka Roadshow constructed from a vintage Airstream trailer.
Here's another view of the drive thru at Zingerman's Roadhouse.
And in case anyone doubts the authenticity of the bbq served at Zingerman's,
here's a picture of their smoker behind the restaurant.
This alternate view of the bbq smoker includes a bag of Kingsford charcoal.

The menu includes many comfort food choices including chicken,
smoked ribs, bbq pork and beef, and grits of course. I thought about
trying the whole hog, but opted for the pork sliders.
The Traffic Light Pulled Pork Sliders were excellent.
They are the perfect choice for sampling the variety of bbq pork
 on the menu. They were served with all three choices of bbq sauce with
a side dish of mustard coleslaw. I also ordered the twice
cooked sweet potato fries. They are baked in the oven and fried. Ummm...
Linda had the Grilled Cheese a Go-Go with cheddar cheese.
I didn't take any pictures of them, but the walls are decorated with hundreds of salt and pepper shakers stored in glass cases. Click here to read more about the salt and pepper collection.

I enjoyed reading about how the collection was built, especially those that arrived at the roadhouse via Jim Metzler of Elkhart, Indiana.

From the Zingerman's website:

If you head back through the hallway past the entrance to what we’ve come to call the “fireplace room” you’ll be looking straight at an entire case of shakers that came courtesy of Jim Metzler of Elkhart, Indiana.
And...last but not least here are a couple of pictures of the pork slider sandwiches:

The sliders are small bites of bbq goodness.
I detected a healthy amount of vinegar on the pork.
It definitely reminds me of the first time I ate bbq pork
more than 20 years ago in Dickson, TN.

If you look closely past the slider, you can see the
 mustard coleslaw and twice cooked sweet potato fries.
For the non-believers who can't travel to Michigan to check it out first hand, here's a list of awards for the restaurant:

James Beard Award, Best Chef Great Lakes – Alex Young, 2011
James Beard Nominee, Best Chef Great Lakes – Alex Young, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Current 2011 Dining Guide – Friendliest Wait Staff, Friendliest Bartenders, Best Place to Dine Alone
Alton Browns’ Food Network Show Best of – Best Comfort Food in America, Macaroni and Cheese
Bon Appetit – Top 10 Barbecue Restaurants in 2010
Open Table Diner’s Choice Award Winner – Fit for Foodies, Most Booked, Great For Lunch, American
Lifetime Achievement Award, Bon Appetit 2007 – Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
Coolest Small Company in America, Inc. Magazine, 2003 – Zingerman’s