Brisket Chili

Brisket Chili

It’s been a brisket weekend at my house. Laura (@lauralollipop) brought a Salt Lick brisket back from Texas for me recently, and on Saturday I reheated it for brisket sandwiches.

Somewhere along the way I decided that the leftovers were going to be made into chili. I didn’t go back to any of my normal chili recipes for this one – I went with what was handy and smelled good, and it turned out great.

I normally make chili on the stovetop, but I had errands to run – so today the slow-cooker was my friend. As best I can remember it, here’s the recipe:

  • Take the leftover brisket from the fridge and slice into roughly 1-inch cubes. Put into the slow-cooker.
  • Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat. While that’s heating up dice two sweet onions, one green pepper, three jalapenos, and mince a head of garlic.
  • Pour three or four tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet and add the veggies.
  • Add two tablespoons of chipotle chili powder and two tablespoons of cumin to the veggies.
  • Stir the veggies every minute or two until they’re soft – probably about 10-15 minutes.
  • While that’s happening, add a 28-oz can of diced tomatoes and two drained cans of low-sodium red kidney beans (sorry, Texans) to the slow cooker.
  • Add two cups of chicken broth.
  • Add one tablespoon of soy sauce.
  • When the veggies are done – probably about now – add them to the slow cooker.
  • Set the slow cooker on high for six hours.

Recipe: Coleslaw

Home-made pulled pork and coleslaw

This weekend was largely about watching the NFL playoffs.  When I watch a lot of football, I invite friends over for an excuse to cook a lot.

Saturday’s feast was hamburgers made with freshly ground chuck, sirloin, and brisket.

Sunday’s was pulled pork and coleslaw.  Surprisingly – to me, at least – I’ve been receiving a ton of questions about the coleslaw.  My recipe is based on one I first saw many years ago in the BBQ FAQ that grew out of the old BBQ listserv.  If you have any interest in BBQ (specifically, slow smoking) you need to download the entire FAQ from here.

The coleslaw recipe I started with is the first one in section 15.  I love all of the ingredients, but for my taste the proportions are wrong.  It’s much too wet, for one thing – so here’s how I do it!

  • Shred/grate one head of green cabbage.  I usually use a box grater for this.
  • Sprinkle a little salt on the cabbage, toss to mix, and let it drain in a colander.
  • Shred two carrots into the bowl you’ll toss the coleslaw in.  Two large carrots is slightly too much for one head of cabbage, so I generally shred about a carrot and a half and give the rest to Cthulhu.  He LOVES carrots.
  • Dice one green pepper and add it into the bowl.
  • Grate about a quarter of a small onion into the bowl.  I usually use sweet yellow onions, but red onions work well also.
  • Transfer the cabbage into the bowl and mix well.
  • Add one cup of mayo to the bowl.  It’s important to not start with too much, as it’s easy to make the coleslaw too goopy and there’s no way to un-goop it.  Homemade mayo is stellar, but low-fat Whole Foods house brand works well.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • Add 1/4 cup of dijon mustard.
  • Add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of celery seeds.
  • Grate a little pepper over the bowl.
  • Mix well.  It’ll probably be too dry at this point.  Add more mayo, but don’t add more than 1/4 cup at a time and mix each time after adding more.

Hopefully you’ve got something wonderful like slow-smoked pulled pork to put the coleslaw on!

Yesterday’s Chili

It’s Fall – and when the weather turns cold and wet, I tend to cook a lot of things that simmer all day.  Most often this means beef stew or chili.

Saturday was a day of rest and football for me.  Work has been even more insane than usual lately with the launch of Modern Warfare 3, and my Oregon Ducks had a huge game at Stanford on national TV.  I decided to invite a bunch of friends to spend the day watching football at my house.  I told everyone to bring things that’d go well with chili.

My chili is a little different every time I make it.  It’s a combination of my mood, what’s in season, and what’s in the pantry.  The specific ingredients aren’t critical – you can substitute liberally and the end result is still likely to be yummy.

I went to Whole Foods Friday night on the way home from work and picked up a few things.  A 2-lb chuck roast, sweet yellow onions, a green pepper, anaheim & poblano peppers, garlic, and a few bombers of Stone’s latest limited release – Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale.  You’re also going to need a large (28-oz) can of diced tomatoes, a couple of cans of red kidney beans if you like beans with your chili (I do, and I buy the no-salt-added variety), and your favorite chili fixings like cheddar cheese and sour cream.

When I woke up Saturday morning I started the prep work.  When I’ve got time to spare I’d much rather do all the prep first, and then start the cooking process.  What follows is the process I used to make yesterday’s chili:
Chili prep

  • Turn on football and drink espresso.
  • Trim and cube the chuck roast into roughly 1-inch chunks.  Season liberally with salt and black pepper.
  • Dice two large sweet onions.
  • Dice one green pepper, two anaheim peppers, and one poblano pepper.
  • Mince an entire bulb of garlic.
  • Measure out roughly two teaspoons of chipotle chili powder, and one of cumin. (I can’t recommend World Spice enough as a source for great, fresh spices)
  • Open the Stone, and get out your best olive oil.
  • Pre-heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  I have an amazing 5.5 quart Le Crueset that was a gift a decade ago.  Lodge has some nice looking (and inexpensive) similar products that look worth a try.
  • Pour some olive oil in to the pot, and add the chuck.  You’re looking to get some nice color on the meat, but don’t overcook it.  It’ll get plenty more heat while simmering in the chili later.  This should take less then 10 minutes.  Remove the meat, drain the fat from the pot, and put it back on the stove to reheat.
  • While the chuck is on the stove, open the Stone and pour yourself a glass.
  • Pour a liberal amount of olive oil into the once-again hot pan, and add the onion.
  • Cook the onion by itself for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When it smells great and is starting to soften add the pepper mix.
  • Keep stirring occasionally for another 10 minutes or so.
  • Throw 5-10 oz of sun-dried tomatoes into the food processor with some olive oil, and pulse until it’s almost a paste.  Add to the mix.
  • Add the garlic and stir for a couple more minutes.
  • Add the cumin and chili powder.  Stir every 30 seconds for 2-3 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with between one and two cups of Stone.  The 11.11.11 is made with chili and cinnamon which makes it perfect for chili.  Let it go for a minute or two, stirring to make sure you get all the goodness off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the meat back to the pot.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Add about a cup of water.
  • Cover and simmer for a few hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.  If the chili gets too thick add another cup of water along the way.
  • Have good friends arrive with more beer, corn bread, cookies, and other excellent things.
  • Watch football.
  • Drink beer.
  • If you’re going to add beans, add them an hour or so before you’re going to serve the chili so they have plenty of time to warm up.
  • Achievement Unlocked: Made Amazing Chili!  The longer it simmers, the better it’ll taste.  It’ll even taste better after a night in the fridge, so you might want to make double batch so you’ll have leftovers.

This particular batch of chili had amazing flavor, but was lacking a little in heat.  If you’re a spice fan I’d suggest roughly this recipe, but add a small can of pureed chipotles to the other peppers.

FINAL: Oregon 53, Stanford 30. GO DUCKS!

Bacon Potato Salad

Holy crap.  This post has been in my drafts folder since June of 2010.  Since I just made this again this weekend I finally finished it…

— draft starts here

On Memorial Day we had a group of friends over for burgers, drinks, and games.  Since making Legit Burgers at Home is a lot of work, I was leaving most of the other dishes to the guests.  However, I really wanted to eat some of my Bacon Potato Salad so I signed up to make that as well.

The day before I went looking for the recipe… oops.  I have no idea where it’s gone, but I absolutely could not find it.  I have dozens of cookbooks and binders with recipes.  I’m sure it’s in one of them.  Somewhere.  After about an hour of looking, I decided it was time to give up and find another recipe.

— draft ends here

All right.  How about an actual recipe?  Here’s my recreated bacon potato salad:

Clean 2.5 lbs (half a bag) of Yukon Gold potatoes.  Half or quarter each potato to roughly equal sizes so they’ll be done at the same time.  As you clean/cut them place into a large pot of water that’s got a couple of large pinches of kosher salt in it.  I prefer to leave the skin on, but take it off if it bothers you.

Add 3 eggs to the water.

Bring the water to a simmer.  After 12-14 minutes of simmering take the eggs out.

Cook the potatoes for a few more minutes until they’re soft all the way through but not yet crumbling.

Take the potatoes out of the water.  While they’re cooling…

Pan-fry 4-6 strips of really good pepper bacon.  I’ve been having a rough time finding good bacon these days – lately I’m buying Pederson’s at Whole Foods.

Mix together the following:

  • 1 cup mayo. Making your own is highly recommended, but if I’m in a hurry I’ll use WF reduced-fat.
  • 1/4 cup dijon.
  • The juice of half a lemon.
  • This will result in a moderately dry, not-goopy potato salad.  Add additional mayo/dijon if you wish.

Dice one red onion.

Dice a couple stems of green onion – the white and green parts both.

Chop the bacon.

Roughly chop the potatoes and throw into a large bowl suitable for mixing and serving.

Add the red onion, most of the green onion, & most of the bacon to the bowl.

Peel the hard-boiled eggs & grate them into the bowl.

Add the mayo/mustard/lemon mix to the bowl.

Give your pepper mill a few good turns over the bowl.

Stir to combine.

Spread the remaining green onion & bacon over the top.

Chill for two hours or more.  It’s much tastier if made the day before.

Chicken with Chard

Chicken with Chard

Recently we signed up with Full Circle Farm for regular deliveries of organic produce and fruit.  This week’s delivery included a large batch of red chard.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it for a while, but it turned out great.

First, prep the chicken:

  • Take a chicken breast and flatten with a mallet. (enjoy this part, it’s very soothing after a long day)
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge in flour, dip in an egg wash, and dredge in bread crumbs.
  • Set aside.


Now, the chard:

  • Wash and roughly chop the chard.
  • Dice about half a pound of bacon.
  • Dump the bacon into a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • While that’s cooking, thinly slice a red onion.
  • When the bacon is done, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Cook the sliced red onion in the bacon fat until soft.

(start another saute pan over medium heat for the chicken)

  • While that’s cooking, finely dice several cloves of garlic.
  • When the red onion is done, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more.

(add a tablespoon of butter to the saute pan for the chicken, and start cooking the chicken)

  • Add the chard to the bacon fat/onion/garlic mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix well (tongs work best for this).
  • When the chard is ready it’ll be wilted and a fraction of the original volume.
  • Add the bacon back to the chard and toss.
  • After a minute or two, plate the chard.
  • When the chicken is ready – any minute now – add it to your plate.



The Greatest Mac and Cheese Ever

The Greatest Mac & Cheese Ever.

A lofty claim, no?

If you’ve known me for any length of time – or even just follow me on Twitter – you’ve probably figured out that I have a thing for Mac & Cheese.  I’m something of a freak for it.  I’ll order it in fancy restaurants to see what the chef has done.  I’ll make it at home and dress it up in all sorts of ways.  I’m not even opposed to mac & cheese out of a box, although I’ll ask for Annie’s instead of Kraft.

It started about a week ago, when a not-so-Secret Santa gave me some Uli’s Bacon Sausage.  Yes, I said bacon sausage.  Next comes yesterday’s visit to Pike Place Market.  I don’t ever go to Pike Place without stopping at Beecher’s for some cheese.  I’m a nut for Beecher’s Flagship, and it’s my go-to cheese when I’m making cheeseburgers.  This time I walked out with two hunks of something I’d never had before – 4-year-aged Flagship.  I was blown away by how great the sample of this was.  Finally, a visit to World Spice at Pike Place yielded a huge stack of fresh spices, including some amazing chipotle chili powder.

For a while now I’ve been making mac and cheese using the recipe Beecher’s themselves uses, which you can find here.  I always tweak it a little based on what I have on hand and my mood, and that’s what made tonight special.

  • Pan-fry 4 links of bacon sausage until browned and cooked through.  Eat one.  Slice the remaining three into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Start the pasta – a half-pound of penne, in this case.
  • Make a half-recipe of cheese sauce.  Use the (omgsooogood) 4-year-aged Beecher’s.  Realize that you don’t have any Jack in the fridge and substitute Mozzarella.  Ignore the salt as the Flagship is salty enough.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Mix the pasta with the sausage.  Stir in the cheese sauce.  Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with more cheese, sprinkle on some chili powder, and bake until you can’t wait any longer.
  • Eat.
  • Rave about what you’ve done to your significant other.
  • Write a blog and tweet about it.
  • Put the leftovers – if there are any – in the fridge for a midnight snack.

Bacon Cornbread Muffins

I love cornbread.  I mean it – I LOVE cornbread.  As in I may have made four dozen cornbread muffins for this year’s Super Bowl party with friends.  I’ll eat it with BBQ, chili, gumbo, and anything else that provides a decent excuse – or I’ll just eat it straight.

Yesterday a co-worker put up a call for good cornbread recipes on Twitter, so here’s my favorite.

This started as the recipe Simply Corn Muffins on page 119 of The Cornbread Gospels (if you can find it, the author’s Dairy Hollow House cookbook is also really good).  After making it several times I’ve settled on a few things that I like to do differently from what’s in the cookbook.


  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
    • Using great cornmeal is key – I can’t stress this enough. I grew up on Albers cornmeal, and it’s ok – but the final product is improved dramatically by using Bob’s Red Mill instead.  You can find it at Whole Foods.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
    • The recipe calls for sugar, but I much prefer a liquid for my sweetener.  Agave works well too.
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 4 strips bacon
    • Again, use high-quality ingredients.  Niman Ranch, Applegate, Fletcher’s, or something good from the butcher.



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Fry bacon and chop into small pieces.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl and stir well.
  4. Whisk buttermilk and baking soda together until dissolved.  Whisk in eggs, sugar, and the melted butter.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into dry using as few strokes as possible.  Add the bacon at the end when it’s almost done.
  6. Spray a muffin tin with canola oil and spoon the batter in.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.


If you like peppers, get a couple of jalapenos or serranos to chop finely and add to the batter when you add the bacon.  The bacon and peppers play really nicely together.