Cheesy brisket, corn and jalapeno croquettes

Croquettes are like the Nelson Mandela of the culinary world.

Croquettes are acceptant and kind. They are a food based United Nations. They just want all of your edible friends to get along.

They are the little bit of love we all need in our lives right now.

They are one of those foods that will happily let any ingredient come and play; fish and herbs, turkey and sausage, chopped cheese burger things, ham and corn, chorizo and potato, cauliflower and broccoli cheese and a host of other ingredient “friends” including just about any meat or vegetable you can find in the back of your fridge (that spot normally reserved as a graveyard for a host of quality ingredients and good ideas and/or intentions).

Needless to say, they love BBQ leftovers.

Sausage, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and especially brisket.

So, as fate would have it, I had acquired some leftover smoked brisket and discovered that when I combined it with corn kernels, jalapeno and a few other necessary ingredients, followed by a crumbing and then a stint in hot oil, I could sit back and enjoy the smack in the face of gooey, briskety good times that is the cheesy smoked brisket, corn and jalapeno croquette.

That should probably make you want to try this too.


CROQUETTES

Makes roughly 20 croquettes. You will probably eat them all.

4 cups chopped brisket
3 cups frozen corn
2 jalapenos, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 cup shredded jack or cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 batch of béchamel made from ½ cup butter, ½ cup flour and 2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to season
Panko breadcrumbs, flour and egg wash to crumb
Canola oil to deep fry

Combine first 6 ingredients in a mixing bowl big enough to fit it all plus some. Season with a little salt and pepper and mix.
Add béchamel and mix to combine.
Now form the mix into 20 large nuggets. Use a bowl of water to keep your hand wet as you go – this way you won’t get covered in cheesy, sticky stuff, unlike you at that party you went to last weekend.
Roll the nuggets through flour, egg wash and panko breadcrumbs (in that order please) and then chill so they may firm up a little.
Get some oil in a deep fryer up to temp. 180 C (360 F) is the go.
Deep fry croquettes in batches (4-5 at a time) for 2 ½ – 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Season with your favourite BBQ rub. Serve with your favourite BBQ sauce. Thank me later.
Video below if you like a watchy-listeny experience.



spaghetti bolognese, aka spag bog, on the bbq

Spaghetti Bolognese or, as we like the odd colloquialism and/or slang in Australia, the spag bog or spag bol.

I will be going with spag bog. Not sure why, but that’s just what we’ve always called it.

I bloody love a good spag bog. Always have. Although I must admit the spag bog that would redden my face as a child is a little different to the spag bog I cook in present times.

Whereas beef mince with a little tomato paste was the sauce and grated tasty cheese was the topping of the spag bog of my youth, my older person (I wanted to say more grown up or mature but those words really didn’t fit) spag bog might include a few more ingredients – nothing to put it all out of your reach though. Nothing you can’t buy from the local supermarket or steal from the neighbour’s cupboards if that’s what you’ve got to do. I won’t be a wanker and tell you it needs freshly shaved truffle or maybe a virginal pigmy goose egg stirred through at the end. I just like to start it off with a little smoked sausage in with the beef mince, cook it out with tomato passata, red wine and a bit of beef stock and then finish it up with some fresh herbs and parmesan cheese aka. the parmo (that was another colloquialism just for you).

This is going to be so much better than using a jar of supermarket pasta sauce. A jar of something shit that tastes like that last inkling of hope has just trickled down the drain in the factory floor. I won’t pretend that this will not require just a touch more effort than the jar of pre-made pasta sauce, but I really do think it’s worth while and, in an absolute triumph of the modern era, we now have freezers, so just bloody well make a double or triple recipe and freeze it down in containers for later.

Here we go.

Get it all ready to go. This is a thing that smart people do in the kitchen.
Get a little parmesan on there and get it into your face.


SPAG BOG

Serves 5-6

400g beef mince
200g smoked sausage, chopped or blitzed up (Fresh Italian pork sausage also works well. Just push it out of the sausage skin and break it up. Pancetta and every other cured pork product in existence also work beautifully here)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup red red wine
1 cup beef stock
700ml tomato passata
Water if it needs a little more moisture as it cooks
Salt and pepper to season
A handful of fresh oregano and parsley, chopped
500g dried spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions
Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat a large pot over a hot flame, or even over coals in your BBQ.
Add a splash of olive oil and give it a few seconds to get hot.
Now add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook out for a few minutes until starting to soften a little.
Add beef mince and sausage to pot and stir and poke with a wooden spoon to break the mince up as it cooks – after all, we are making a meat sauce not bloody meatballs. Add some salt and pepper now too.
Once the mince is starting to colour up and it’s all looking fairly dry, add the red wine and reduce by half.
Now add beef stock and then tomato passata.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Also keep an eye on the moisture levels as it comes to the end of its cooking time as it may require up to a cup of water to keep it looking saucy and unctuous.
Stir through those herbs.
Check yo seasoning fool. If it needs a little more salt and/or pepper, give it a little.
Stir sauce through warm spaghetti.
Serve with a little grated parmesan.



The Big (Red) Mac

A lot of people call me Big Red, hence the name of this burger.

It’s pretty easy to make a bloody good version/copy/something of “that” burger at home. Here’s the steps involved;

1. Head to your local Micky D’s family drive thru restaurant.
2. Keep driving past said restaurant until you reach a local butcher of good repute, where you will purchase some freshly ground beef mince. None of that heart-smart lean shit though – not that I have anything against the whole reduce cholesterol and heart disease thing mind you. It’s just that today you would like some beef mince with a little fat in it. The slightly diabetic, pimply faced kid who serves you at Micky D’s would approve. Trust me.
3. Now you shall drive a little further and find yourself at a bakery, or bread shop, where you shall buy your buns. Brioche, milk buns or potato buns all work well for this monster. One and a half buns per person please.
4. One last stop for your vegetables and assorted other bits and pieces including your cheese. It will be some kind of burger cheese for this one PS. It’s really not the time for halloumi or goat curd, sorry.
5. Now get yo’ arse home and let’s get this fucking show on the road.

It really is a pretty simple list of ingredients
Just bloody delicious


THE BIG (RED) MAC

(per burger)

250 g fresh beef mince
1 ½ buns
2 slices burger cheese
4 slices pickle
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Finely diced white onion
Special sauce (recipe can be found here)
Salt and pepper or your favourite BBQ beef seasoning

Divide the mince into 2 balls of roughly equal size, flatten them out between 2 pieces of baking paper until just under 1 cm thick and then set aside.
Get your special sauce made and your salady bits sliced and diced.
Heat your BBQ flat grill (or heavy based skillet) until hot and lubricate that sucker with a splash of canola or another neutral flavoured oil. Season your beef patties with a little salt and pepper (or BBQ seasoning) and then press down seasoned surface onto the grill.
After 2 minutes flip patties and press down a little to keep that good thickness.
After another 2 minutes remove patties from grill and set aside in a 90 C oven or cover with foil to keep warm.
Cut your buns and get them toasting. I like to grill my buns cut side down on a flat grill (or in a heavy based skillet). That way they get a little toasty on the inside but are still soft on the outside and they steam themselves a little in the middle.
The piece of bun that goes in the middle can go in the toaster.
And now we shall put it all together.
In this order from bottom up; bottom bun, 1-2 tablespoon special sauce, lettuce, 1 slice of cheese, 1 pattie, a sprinkle of diced onion, middle bun, 1-2 tablespoon special sauce, lettuce, 4 slices pickle, 1 beef pattie, a sprinkle of diced onion, the top of the bun.
Frigging get into that.

beef ribs in the smoker

Beef ribs in the smoker are really good.

I really don’t know what else to add.

Good thanks.

Beef ribs after an hour or so…
These go great guns in a bullet style smoker.


BEEF RIBS

(For a gathering of the hungry man’s club.)

2x racks beef short ribs (approx 1.5 kg each)
Beef seasoning (recipe follows)
Rocking chair

Get your BBQ up to 125 C (250 F). Add a little cherry or pecan for extra flavour if you’re keen.
To the best of your ability, remove the membrane from the bottom of the ribs and trim any excess fat and silver skin from the top of the ribs.
Coat the ribs well with the seasoning.
Get the ribs into your smoker, making sure you keep a fairly constant-ish 125 C (250 F).
After 3 hours the ribs should have a nice bit of colour. This is when I like to wrap (no, Vanilla Ice will not be blaring on my Spotify. Please, try to pay attention).
Remove the ribs and wrap it with peach paper (butcher’s paper) or alfoil. Return to the smoker for another 2-3 hours or until the thickest part of the ribs probe like butter. If you are actually using a temperature probe the should be sitting around 92 – 95 C (200 F) or so.
When ribs are good to go, remove from BBQ and rest in a warm spot for 15 – 20 minutes.
Get some sides together, carve them up and get it into your face.


BEEF SEASONING

2 tablespoons each cooking salt, cracked black pepper and garlic granules

This is a good base for making and developing your own beef rub. Start with the quantities here and adjust to your personal preference – if you like it more peppery add more pepper. Or if you don’t like so much garlic, take a little out. If you like chilli or thyme, you can certainly put a little of that in there too. It’s pretty simple.
Also, don’t be tempted to use ground black pepper as it needs a little texture and coarseness.
Also also, garlic flakes are too big and garlic powder is too fine for me. Garlic granules are just right. See above.
Also also also, cooking salt is perfect. See above.
The rub is great for brisket, ribs, steak, burgers, lamb, roast vegetables and whatever else you want to put it on.

Now is the time to eat them.
Almost an instructional video

Beef and beer stew with secret lentils

I put a tin of lentils in here just because it’s probably something you think you hate. You will not hate them in this. In fact, you will most probably fall in love with them and want to marry them. Plus, your bowel will thank you for getting a little roughage in your diet.

Get all of the stuff together and the go and get comfy next to the camp fire
Get it all into the pot and then let it simmer away for a few hours while you sit back and get slightly simmered yourself


BEEF AND BEER STEW WITH SECRET LENTILS

(Serves 6)

1 kg some kind of beef slow cooking cut – chuck, shin, brisket, etc – cut into 3 cm dice (no need to get the ruler out. Just make it a decent sized piece or even ask your butcher nicely and they might do it for you)
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovies. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary or thyme if you have some in the garden
3x 375 ml cans dark beer
1x 700 ml tomato passata
1x 400 g tin lentils
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, to serve
Soft polenta, mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, pasta or something along those lines, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Season beef with salt and pepper and add to the pot (normally you might brown everything off separately but this is going to be an all-in type thing) along with anchovies and herbs. Sauté for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Add beer and tomato and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that the beef is tender – it should be ready for Nan to gum to death by now. If not, simmer for another 30 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Finish with a handful of chopped parsley.
Eat it.

If it’s easier for your eyes to watch these things you can find the video at foodisthebestshitever youtube channel.

Cherry tomato salsa / sauce for a steak date


Steak with cherry tomato salsa / sauce.

This little cherry tomato number is great for when you need to get away from the gravy for a night, or maybe even try to impress a date who you have lured, err, coaxed, err, invited to your lair, err, den, err, house. Whatever. I’m pretty sure you get the gist.

The steak. I am not going to try and help you to cook a beautiful steak here today. The steak is something you’re going to cook exactly how you like to cook it. Make a boiled steak if you think that might impress your date. I know for a fact it won’t, but I’m not going to try and talk you out of it.

Just make the salsa. It’s simple like your in-bred cousin and might just be enough to get you over the line.

Cook the steak first for best results

That steak, cherry tomato sauce and some big chips. Deliciousness.

CHERRY TOMATO SALSA / SAUCE

(serves 4 or so)

500g little baby cherry tomatoes, cut in halves if they are a little bigger
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 handful oregano, picked. A few sprigs reserved for garnish and the rest gets roughly chopped (parsley or a little thyme will also work just fine if oregano is not your thing)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add onions and a little salt and pepper and saute until starting to colour a little.
Add cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli and cook out for another 2 minutes.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar.
Add oregano and another splash of olive oil to gloss it all up. Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Get it on you steak.
Garnish with reserved oregano sprigs.

Eat it.