Texas BBQ in San Francisco
We figured that getting barbecue flown from Texas to California would be significantly cheaper than flying us from California to Texas. Voted the best BBQ by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2008 and written about in New Yorker, Snow’s BBQ, has been on our radar for a little over an year. We decided to get their customer favorite slow cooked brisket.
The 5-6 lb brisket arrived perfectly frozen with heating instructions and a bottle of their sauce. The very first thing I did was to thaw it partially, divide the meat into meal size portions and wrap each portion separately to store. Top flight barbecue is so rare in the Bay Area that this treat needed careful planning to get the last bit of chewy, meaty enjoyment from it. For the first batch, I followed heating instructions to the letter. But then proceeded to use my own technique. First I brought the meat to room temperature, and trimmed the fatty bits at the edges. I froze these bits for a use that I will get to later. I brushed the meat liberally with the sauce and broiled it briefly until a light glistening crust formed. And voilà, it was ready to eat.
Over the course of couple of weeks, we enjoyed this brisket in multiple different ways – with mashed potatoes, in sandwiches, with skillet corn bread, with fries and with cole slaw. The meat tasted and smelled great every single time. It was my first cut of BBQ meat that wasn’t greasy at all. If anything, it was perhaps a tad dry but that could be due to the freezing and thawing cycle. Snow’s sweet and tangy sauce was perfect and did not need any tinkering. Given that the shipping cost more than doubles the price of the meat making this a special occasion treat, I am putting this on my yearly wish list.
Now to the frozen fatty bits. Don’t be tempted to trim all the meat in one go unless you are going to eat it all quickly. Here is a recipe for the best beans to go with your brisket. Make this for the last batch so you have sufficient fatty bits to work with.
- 2 Bay leaves, fresh or dry
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, chopped in 1 inch pieces
- 2 lbs of chicken stock meat and bones – drumstick, neck, wings
- 8-10 cups of water
- Fatty trimming from the brisket
In a large stockpot, dump the frozen fatty trimmings along with the bay leaves, peppercorns, onion, carrot and the chicken meat. Add 8-10 cups water to submerge the meat. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours to get a stock. The spices on the brisket trimmings will cause the stock to cloud a little but their memory of smoke will still permeate the stock. Strain and refrigerate. Overnight refrigeration will result in fat to collect at the top and harden. Use within a week and when ready to use, remove the layer of fat. If you wish you can reserve the fat for a different use – I like it add a smidgen of chicken fat to roast vegetables or home fries.
White kidney beans in smokey chicken stock (serves 4):
- 1 cup of dry beans soaked for 8-12 hours, throw away the soaking liquid
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp of paprika
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp for basic olive oil vinaigrette
- 1 Tbs of chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
In 1 tsp of olive oil, sweat the onion and garlic. Add the soaked beans beans and stock and cook on low heat for 1-2 hours until tender. Cooking time will depend on freshness of the beans. When the beans are soft but not falling apart, add salt to taste, and paprika. When serving, drizzle the vinaigrette and sprinkle the parsley.
To make this a fully southern style meal, try creamed corn bread on the side.
- Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller’s BBQ dinner