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john clark's Profile

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first smoked brisket--what did we do wrong?

Most of those competition people are full of it. All kinds of imagined secrets with their rubs and techniques, they cook flats instead of whole briskets, they think chicken is barebecue. I wouldn't be at all surprised to get a lousy brisket from a successful competitor.

I cook whole briskets in a cheapo offset smoker for around twelve hours at around 225. I have never taken an internal temperature on one, but it is done when you can stick a fork into the flat and pull it out easily. I buy the packer-trim brisket and then trim a little of the fat off, leaving about a 1/4" cap. My rub is kosher salt, coarse-ground black pepper and cayenne pepper flakes. No foil, no pan of water, no brining, no mop sauce, no oven, no wood chips. I use lump charcoal because it leaves less ash and so it won't choke the firebox of the cheapo smoker. I assure you that this works, every time. If you do something else it may not work. I have heard many excuses and I believed them until I learned how to do this. Oh btw use an oven thermometer on the cooking surface to find the temperature. The built-in thermometer on a cooker is seldom accurate.

Aug 14, 2006
john clark in Home Cooking

Lots of leftover roast beef -- now what?

A party turned out much smaller than I planned for and now I have a LOT of leftover boneless rib roast. Sandwiches are in my future and delicious roast beef hash as well, but what else? I have a lot of this stuff. I am thinking of mixing up some hash and freezing it, but I don't have any other ideas.

Jul 24, 2006
john clark in Home Cooking

[DFW] Chicken-fried Steak

I don't have it handy but when I find it I will certainly post it. Could be a while, I don't think I've seen it between the last two moves.

Jun 26, 2006
john clark in Texas

Italian Grocery Store/Market in Dallas?

Jimmy's is pretty much where it's at. They had a bad fire a little over a year ago but from what I hear they've come back successfuly.

Honestly i was not impressed with their widely praised house-made meatballs but for imported cheeses and salume they are the best in town. Their porchetta is to die for. If they don't have something you need you might try Central Market on Lovers Lane. Also check Central Market if you would rather pay a lot more money and stay out of Jimmy's rather rough neighborhood. It is not a concern in daylight but after dark it could be uncomfortable for someone new to town. Mai's, diagonally across the street from Jimmy's, is a pleasant and unassuming Vietnamese place.

And for an okay red-sauce experience check out Campisi's on Mockingbird. Very down-to-earth and you will for sure find some Italian people there.

Jun 25, 2006
john clark in Dallas - Fort Worth

[DFW] Chicken-fried Steak

I have had good luck with the Milanesa at strip-mall Mexican places. There was one at Ferguson and Gus Thomasson, the name escapes me. On the northwest corner near a thrift store and a pizza buffet. They had cakes and catering, maybe La Michoacana?

Anyway the Milanesa tasted like there was some bacon fat involved. It was real good, although not a classic TX CFS and nary a green bean or mashed potato in sight.

Anyway across Gus Thomasson from that is Mi Tierra taqueria and that's pretty good too, and it's close to the Dairyette drive-in if you want to make a day of it. I think the hotrod crowd shows up at the Dairyette on Fridays in the summer. Great burgers, try the cherry chocolate soda.

My joint might not be worth the trip if you aren't headed to White Rock Lake anyway, but I do reccommend trying the Milanesa at any decent strip-mall Mexican place. In fact a Milanesa taco can be a pretty great experience too if you see it at a taqueria.

And as I said earlier, homemade is where it's at. The gravy is always brown when I make it from pan drippings, I do not know where the restaurants get this white cream gravy.

I got my recipe from a guy who cooked for an officer during the Korean war, played poker for a living for quite a while, never owned a coat and always carried a nickel-plated hogleg Colt. Brown gravy, no front sight. Once I commented on the lack of a front sight and he said, "Son, pistols are for in the room."

Jun 25, 2006
john clark in Texas