Smoked Beef Brisket

Hickory-smoked local, pastured beef brisket with chili BBQ sauce..

Smoked Beef Brisket

Smoked Beef Brisket

Trim a beef brisket of most fat and all connective tissue.  Rinse and pat dry.

Liberally coat all sides with your favorite dry rub (I use smoked chili powder), cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Place seasoned brisket in a hickory chip-impregnated smoker bag along with 1/4 cup of filtered water and some coarsely chopped celery, yellow onions and carrots.

Seal the bag and place in a 500 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook until meat is tender, about 2 hours for a 3-pound brisket.

Remove brisket from bag and allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the vegetables and juices from the bag into a blender and pulse until smooth.  Add tomato paste to thicken, a little molasses for sheen and chili base for flavor.

Carve brisket against the grain into 1/4 inch slices and serve with chili BBQ sauce.

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Compound Tomato Sauce (lacto-fermented ketchup)

Also see updated recipe here

Adapted from a recipe in The First African-American Cookbook from 1881 using a method described by Sally Fallon, this is a rich, thick  fermented (rather than cooked) ketchup.  I left out the high fructose corn syrup, in case you feel like calling the food police..


1 1/2 cups organic tomato paste (or make your own)
1/8 cup whey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (optional)
1/8 cup fermented fish sauce OR 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Grind dry ingredients together in a spice grinder or mortar.  Add to the rest of the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and stir well to combine.

Add filtered water, if necessary, to achieve the thickness that you prefer.

Transfer ketchup to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and allow to sit at room temperature for 48-72 hours before transferring to refrigerator for long-term storage.

Homemade Seitan

Seitan [SAY-tahn] or “wheat meat” is a long-popular vegetarian meat substitute, known for its ability to look, feel and taste like the ingredient that it is replacing.

I am not a vegetarian pour le moment, but I do recognize healthy (if you’re not gluten-restricted, that is), tasty protein when it crosses my plate. Unfortunately, the cost of store-bought seitan is increasing as fast as the economy is tanking.  Let’s see if we can make our own with a little lot of help from Isa Moskowitz over at the Post Punk Kitchen.

Vital wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast flakes (not active dry yeast), garlic, ponzu, soy or tamari, tomato paste, vegetable broth and lemon zest.

Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl and the rest of the ingredients in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, combine then knead by hand 3-5 minutes. Dough will be spongy, but not very sticky.

Roll the dough out into a log, then cut into equal sections roughly 1/2 inch thick. Put the pieces into the still-cold broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

Let cool in the pot another hour before using. Stored in its broth, the recipe-ready seitan will keep in the fridge for 5 days or so.  Stay tuned for more tasty things made with our own seitan (why, here’s one example already, and hey, its darn good!).

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