Dinner with the Guys

Last week, I was in my car, driving to my favorite big box store Costco with my radio tuned to KCRW, my local public radio station. I was listening to a conversation between Evan Kleinman and Jonathan Gold about a Texas barbecue crawl they did together. In case you didn’t know, Evan Kleinman had a wonderful restaurant I ate at frequently and Jonathan Gold is a Pulitzer Prize winning food writer. The more they talked about barbecue brisket, the more I craved it.

Does that ever happen to you? Someone talks about a fantastic meal or something they ate and suddenly you have to have it? It’s all you want to eat.

I had no intention of buying a brisket. My list was toilet paper, paper towels and frozen organic blueberries. As I perused the aisles at Costco, wondering where in Los Angeles I could find Texas barbecue, I spied a perfect 5-pound first cut brisket.

I knew the difference between 1st cut and 2nd cut from listening to Evan and Jonathan. A whole brisket generally weighs 8-12 pounds and is usually cut into 2 pieces. The first cut, also known as the flat cut, is evenly thick with a cap of fat on one side. The second cut is thicker and has more internal fat running throughout the piece. My preference is the first cut and there it was, right at Costco.

So I came home with my beautiful brisket and did an internet search for barbecue brisket recipes. Oops, I had a problem. Most recipes called for smoking the brisket 10 hours. I don’t have a smoker. In fact, I don’t even own a barbecue. I didn’t want to drench the brisket with barbecue sauce so I came up with a recipe, for a slow braise, with the taste of barbecue.

I sent a text message to a few guys: “Making a brisket, come for dinner.” When they said, “What time?”, I created the rest of the menu. Baby Gem Lettuce with Blue Cheese Dressing, Handmade Pappardelle Noodles Tossed with Butter, Tons of Lemon Zest and Fresh Pepper and Roasted Vegetables that were ignored by everyone except me. For dessert, a Chocolate Prune Bread Pudding using croissants I found in my freezer.

It sounds like a heavy menu, but the guys didn’t mind.

I tracked down the radio show, so I could direct you to it. It turns out that it originally aired in March of 2015 and I was listening in March 2016. I guess I was supposed to make a brisket. If you have a chance, listen to the podcast. But I’m giving you fair warning: You might get an uncontrollable urge for barbecue.

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