Good riddance to the old kitchen. It is only fitting that the last morsel of food I cooked in the old beast was the best I cooked in it. This was a function of how we would make it through the time with no kitchen. The thought of being without my only burner did not trouble me nearly as much as being without a sink did, so I did made food best suited to paper plates and plastic forks. I started the smoker and filled it with meat. I barbequed.
After lighting the smoker then going for long trail run, I returned to tend to the fire. The centerpiece was a twelve pound brisket done promptly at hour fifteen. After resting another two hours, I quartered the brisket, first removing the point, a twisted cap of fat, char, and meat, from the far leaner flat. From there, each quarter was portioned for the coming weeks. The smallest corner of the point was left and was a little small to serve as a meal portion all by its lonesome, so as I reached my saturation point with a burnt end snack, I had an idea.
These smokey, beefy, crispy nuggets are absolutely fantastic, but they are 100% savory. Some people sauce the hell out them (I don’t), but when I thought of translating the burnt end into something spreadable, my first thought was supplementing not with a sauce, but with a fruit that not only provides essential sweetness, but is smack dab in-season, the peach. To me, peaches and barbeque go together nearly perfectly – like bacon and kimchi, like hotdogs and mustard, like root beer and miso.
The process was similar to other meat jams. Instead of adding sugar to the already sweet peach, I opted for molasses and its deep flavors. The already crisped burnt ends softened in the sweet, spicy, and tart combination of peaches, chilis and cider/vinegar.
The result was an exciting combination of explosive flavors. The sweet and floral peach provided great balance to the burnt ends. There is tartness and bitterness, but those flavors stay sharply behind the smokey beefiness and sweetness from the peaches. After cooking the beef and peaches, I whipped the mixture and spooned it into a few jars. I expected the jam to solidify given the make up of beef fat, but the texture was perfectly soft the next day. My best guess is the proportion of meat to peaches to fat keeps this jam spreadable even when chilled. Even though it is smooth, there are still little bits of crispy burnt ends that make you remember the origins. Then you realize the sum of the bbq and the peaches are greater than its parts.
We are fully stocked for our time without a kitchen. With a little foresight, we are happily avoiding the microwave and the crappy takeout, but even more importantly the sink and the dishwasher. With the combination of peaches and burnt ends, our start proved to be an improvement over our time with a kitchen and we hope the remainder of the project goes as well as the start.
- 1/2 pound point cut of smoked brisket, cut into cubes
- 2 peaches, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 2 ounces cider vinegar
- 2 ounces apple cider
- 2 ounces molasses
- Salt to taste
Step one: Crisp cubes of brisket until the edges caramelize on a rack in your oven, smoker or grill. Do not let burnt ends dry out. Reserve fat. You just made burnt ends.
Step two: Combine burnt ends with remaining ingredients in a dutch oven with a tablespoon of brisket fat. Simmer for two hours. Add water as needed.
Step three: Pulse lightly in a food processor being careful not to make a smooth paste. You want the chunky. You need the chunky.
Step four: Spoon into clean jars and chill. Serve with crusty bread. Share if you really care.