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Archive for July, 2008
Brisket (from the Old Norse “brjōsk”) is cut from the lower chest of the cow, which is frequently called the breast. It’s usually split into a first and second cut, for a total weight of 7 to 9 pounds. As one of the toughest parts of a cow, brisket can’t be grilled like a traditional steak. It takes careful marinating and seasoning to prepare and then has to cook for many hours. It’s especially popular in Texas (sold by the pound or by the sandwich), where rumor has it that two German brothers who owned a meat market began smoking brisket as a way to use their excess meat.
Brisket is cheap. A massive 7 pound block will run you only 30 or 40 dollars. That’s why it’s so popular for BBQ’s: because you can feed a lot of people without spending a fortune. It’s also popular because it’s effing delicious.
Real men smoke their brisket. Not by coincidence, real women also smoke their brisket. You better believe Rachel McAdams smokes her brisket. Mine, too. If you happen to be so unlucky as to not yet own a Big Green Egg (I assume by reading this site, you must be at least aspiring to own one), then you can also slow cook your brisket in an oven or a very large slow cooker. Just make sure you rub it with as much spice as humanly possible first.
To cook a whole brisket, you need to take off most of the fat, leaving just a thin layer for cooking. Your butcher will have no problem doing this for you; not so sure about asking the high school student that works at Safeway.
And don’t forget, it’s great for Hanukkah!
I had a dream. A dream in which I ascended a tall tower, taller than the highest car dealership flagpole, and at the top of this tower was a restaurant. First I talked to two old ladies. Since I look like a hobo, they assumed I was robbing them. I took their jewelry and exchanged it at a strange, glowing counter for a tray of food. I returned to the table – the old ladies kindly asked me to sit next to them, they were just leaving due to the smell – and I looked down. Upon my tray was pound after pound of fries and a stack, about a foot high, of burgers. But they were not ordinary burgers. They were burgers on toast.
Rare is the pleasure of a burger served not on the stale bun but on the fresh piece of sliced bread. There are many “gourmet” restaurants which offer this; indeed, some places (like the ever-disappointing KnowFat) will give your burger to you on a wrap. But a nice, solid piece of toast goes so well with burger and sauce. Where can you get one?
Two places come to mind:
Sonic Drive-In (served with a freaking onion ring on it)
Where else? Dear readers, please leave a comment with your favorite place to get a burger that’s not on an accursed bun… I must fulfill the desires given to me by my subconscious! Which include: eating a burger on texas toast and playing Connect Four with Rachel McAdams.
No, I am not referencing Saved by the Bell, so don’t get excited, 80’s nerds. I am instead talking about a decidedly 21st century phenomenon: a fried chicken fast food restaurant that isn’t run by fundamentalists or at war with the hobos. For many states of the Confederacy are now graced by the brilliant, the beautiful, the tenderly-greasy chicken of Zaxby’s.
The chicken tastes fresh, no processed lumps or strange mush. It lives up to the word tender. And yes, the chicken is both very salty and very greasy, but in a pleasing way, since the whole thing falls apart in a rewardingly moist manner, without chewiness. The seasoning is strong, too, unlike KFC which relies on pure salt-overload and crunchiness to mask a complete lack of flavor. Alongside the chicken you’ll find hearty crinkle fries and highly-addictive Texas toast.
The best part: The Zax Sauce. This creamy, tangy orange-colored dressing, with hints of ranch and thousand island, comes in big ass tubs with everything you order. And indeed, you can dip anything in it: fries, chicken, Texas toast, even put it on your salad (excuse me, Zalad), and the results are delicious. What’s in Zax Sauce? The website says: 17g of fat and 650g of sodium for every 43g serving. But I know the only ingredient is: sexiness. That’s right, Zax Sauce is damn sexy. It kind of makes you feel guilty, how much you want it. Which is why they charge 50 cents per extra tub.
So go find one today and celebrate the fact that America still fries the best fast food chicken in the world.
[Note: We have a new category, Quality Fast Food. Send in your suggestions for reviews!]
Forget the golf-course community or the manicured subdivision. A number of developers are now offering homes on working farms.
Catering to Americans’ desire to live “green,” developers around the country are creating communities on or adjoining farms, pitching views of sorghum fields, grazing livestock, and local — very local — food, such as eggs residents collect from the property’s henhouse. The communities, however, aren’t necessarily in the boondocks. Some are in suburbs or near cities.
Look, I don’t consider myself a very picky eater. Once I was confronted with the terrible cafeteria food in college, I found myself willing to eat anything and everything with taste. I’m looking forward to the day when I eat fried cricket and have my first ostrich burger. But why oh why must my current home city of Boston be obsessed with one of the worst ideas ever, the top-cut hot dog bun?
If you haven’t seen these things, you’re lucky. They’re all you can buy in the groceries here. Imagine a hotdog bun, then imagine the slot for the frank is only half as big as usual, at an awkward angle. As you can see from the picture, my D’Artagnan Uncured Beef Dogs aren’t really in the bun; they’re sort of perched on top. And don’t even think of squeezing relish or a suitable amount of onions alongside.
Apparently, there is a reasonable explanation for this format – it’s better for lobster rolls, a New England specialty. The crab or lobster salad is more stable than with the almost-separated side-split bun. But come on people, eating giant wieners is a serious business, and it requires a bun that can handle the massive meaty girth required to satisfy a true carnivore.