Beef Brisket: One Tough Customer

A visit to Memphis brings several "don't miss" tourist site suggestions - Elvis Presley's Graceland, Sun Studios, Mud Island and Beale Street. Through media exposure, Memphis also has its share of destinations for food-loving tourists.

We had a great time entertaining our family. We prepared a huge Christmas dinner and everyone ate at a large table in the living room overlooking the Christmas tree. The food was unbelievable. We prepared a delicious ham with pineapple glaze (a very large one at that), sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes (homemade of course), beans, and for dessert we had apple pie and pumpkin pie. What was even more fun was that the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah sometimes fell on or right near Christmas. When this happened, we had the Menorah going the same time as the Christmas tree. When Hanukkah fell on Christmas, we would even prepare some dishes for that Holiday as well. Matzo ball soup and beef brisket crock pot were the biggest hits. I will say that we had a lot of leftovers after we had all finished.

I use extra virgin olive oil with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, cracked peppercorns, sea salt and some chopped garlic. I then add whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, my favourite being marjoram. Usually some thyme, parsley and basil.

Uncover the pot, you lose enough heat to slow the cooking process thirty minutes or more. Because the slow cooking brisket doesn't allow steam to escape, the food inside retains all the moisture originally there. Ingredients should not dry out or burn, so there is no need to peek or stir your recipe .

Shop on senior's day: If you are a senior then great! You will most likely get a 10 percent discount at certain stores. If you are not, don't worry seniors day is when many sales start so you will still get yourself a bargain. If you're a really crafty senior start shopping for under seniors. A good way to get your kids talking to you again, after you got drunk on sherry at your daughter's wedding and passed out doing karaoke.

When choosing smoking wood, choose wood that is seasoned. That is, wood that is at least aged for 6 months to a year. The popularity of smoking wood has made things easier as far as finding it is concerned. Most home improvement centers and even many grocers now carry the more common smoking wood. For some of the more rare smoking wood, sources are readily available through online sources. I befriended the owner of a tree service. He lets beef brisket gravy recipe know when he's going to trim or cut down a tree that I can use for smoking. One fruit tree can supply me with several years of smoking. He's happy that I'm hauling it away and I'm happy to find the wood. It's just one source I use to track down smoking wood.

At the first sips the wine presented bright acidity. It was sour but not unpleasantly so. The initial meal was a slow cooking beef stew with chick peas and potatoes. With the beef Zinfandel tasted of jam. There was tobacco in the background; this wine was definitely mouth filling. When accompanying the chick peas the wine was round and long; with the potatoes it was rich.

At the first sips this wine was too sweet but quite long and fruity. It offered some darkness accompanied by balanced acidity and tannins. Japanese rice crackers with Wasabi invited dark, dark cherries to join the mix. If only that non-endearing sweetness would go away. In the presence of slow cooked chicken meatballs swimming in a tomato sauce the purple liquid showed great balanced and its sugar level was down. The accompanying potatoes made our Australian friend good and dark but it was excessively sweet. A medley of mixed beans and chickpeas made me note the drink's darkness, length, and, alas, the high sugar content. Fruit juice candy made a great match of dark cherries and oak in my glass.

Speaking of a crock pot, the pressure cooker may be a better option for you if you have to run off in a hurry to work in the morning. Sometimes you may not have time to set the food up in a slow cooker before you head out the door. But, with one of these cookers you can throw the food in when you get home, and by the time you get settle in your dinner will be ready.