5 ideas to support your local bbq joints while getting creative in kitchen at home
I’ve long resisted the temptation to appear creative by just sticking leftover barbecue in, on, and around other dishes. “Brisket ____” was never that appealing to me and seemed like the easiest way to earn our new-school-bbq street cred. While LeRoy and Lewis will still continue to bring surprising barbecue to the table, many of our guests are stuck at home are forced to cook for themselves. And not every one, as my wife reminds me often, is a professional chef.
Allow Texas barbecue to step in. Brisket, pulled rib meat, sliced sausage, or almost any barbecue meat can be substituted for almost any non-barbecue meat in almost any recipe. Adding barbecue to a pot of beans, some jambalaya, or bowl of grits instantly compounds the flavor. Plus, ordering extra meat helps that small business and might save you a trip to the grocery store.
I’m not going to give you exact quantities, procedures, and recipes. Cooking with leftovers should be more like an episode of Chopped, just go with the flow. Here’s some ideas when you find smoked meat in your mystery basket.
Sausage and Pulled Pork Jambalaya? Throw that extra cup of barbecue sauce in there too. Adventurous cook would chop up those pickles that came with it too. Paella, fried rice, congee, risotto, arroz con pollo, bibimbap. Rice is arguably the most sturdy and versatile pantry staple. Cook it once for dinner and then cook it again with something else for a midnight snack.
Red beans, white beans, black beans. Any legume goes well braised down with smoky meats. Even dry wok-tossed green beans with twice cooked smoked pork belly sounds really good right about now, but the classic meat and bean dish is cassoulet. Throw a whole chicken quarter in there, fuck it.
Keep it healthy-ish with lemony sauteed kale and pulled pork, sausage and garlicky spinach, spicy braised collards with pork steak. The best way to get your daily serving of vitamins and minerals is to cook them with barbecue.
I certainly don’t have to tell Texans to make barbecue breakfast tacos but frittata, shakshuka, and a skillet scramble with potatoes are all solid AM options that can easily support smoked meat additions.
Brisket bolognese, smoked chicken penne with vodka sauce, or a beef cheek ravioli for at-home fresh pasta makers. How bout a little carbonara with smoked pork cheek barbacoa?
Barbecue is the blank canvas of at home cooking. It can become anything. It can make anything better. You can also make your dollar go quite a long way. $30/lb for Texas akaushi brisket doesn’t seem expensive at all if you’re getting 8 meals out of it. For bone-in cuts like ribs and chicken, save and freeze the bones to make a stock later.
In a more frugal economy, we’ll all have to scrape and save as much as possible. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy barbecue, it means we can enjoy even more barbecue in even more inventive and delicious ways.