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Top Chef Inspired BBQ Feast


Some friends and I got together this week to watch Top Chef and cook this BBQ feast inspired by some of the things they have cooked this season. (Even though my bearded picks were eliminated quickly) A brisket with homemade BBQ sauce and some charred okra and brussel sprouts from the BBQ episode, and some peach-habanero cornbread because everyone seems to be using a lot of peach this season. I can't wait for the finale next week, who do you guys think is going to win? I have a feeling that everyone is gonna say the same person after the shocking elimination this week. Rumor has it that there is a chance Top Chef will be right here in Boston for the next season! I would love to see this happen!

The homemade BBQ was one of the highlights of this meal. The team on that episode (The dream team of Paul, Grayson, and Lindsay) smoked some of the veggies to use in this sauce. I obviously don't have a smoker in my Boston apartment, so I used help from the grocery store to add smoke to my version. Instead of using fresh jalapenos as the recipe called for, I used chipotle peppers which are actually smoked jalapenos.

Reducing vinegar before you add it to a sauce like this actually enhances the flavor while simultaneously reducing the acidity. That's a win-win if you ask me.

Another place where I had to make some tweaks was on the brisket. True BBQ brisket gets most of its flavor from the smoker, so I had to change their rub into more of a marinade/cooking liquid and again add some smokey flavors to it.

This sauce came out SO GOOD. My roommates are thankful that there is a whole bunch still in the fridge. I packed it up cause I was not making this meal at my apartment.

The next night, the real cooking started at my friend Mike and Kyles place. This mixture is for the peach-habanero cornbread.

This is the dressing for the brussel sprout dish.

Mike, will you never learn?

Brussel sprouts and okra laid out to get some char.

Toss it while it's hot. Is that a Snoop song?

Kim had to take a peak before it hit the plate.

I thought I was being all clever getting a nice photo of the brisket on the Texas cutting board, but of course I didn't realize at the time that Texas is backwards.

An excellent meal all around.

I would say that the brisket came out a little dry, but with the sauce it didn't matter and was great. I was trying to sort of follow/adapt a recipe, but it's not my ideal way of cooking a brisket.

Overall, the brussel sprouts and the BBQ sauce were the peoples favorites of the night. The cornbread would have probably been asked to pack it's knives and go home, but hey, I got seconds of it so it couldn't have been that bad!

These are the recipes I tried to loosely adapt/follow.

For the brisket I tried to turn the smoker recipe into a crock pot recipe and here is what I came up with:
1.5 cups coffee
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chioptle powder
1 beer
Salt and pepper
Marinade overnight, slowcook for 6 hours on low, grill or broil on both sides, cut against the grain to serve.

For the bbq sauce:
1 onion
1 28oz can fire roasted tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
5 dried chipotles
half of a fifth of burbon
16 oz ketchup
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
a few big tablespoons of mustard
1 cup vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
Mix the brown sugar and half the vinegar and simmer until reduced by half. Meanwhile, cook down the onions and peppers in a little butter till starting to brown. Add garlic, chipotles and paprika and stir to toast spices. Add the rest of the ingredients including the vinegar and sugar reduction. Let it simmer about an hour stirring often to prevent sticking and finally puree it.

Charred Okra and Brussel Sprouts with Kimchi Paste
Im not sure how or why they call some cooked ginger and garlic "kimchi paste". I added a little actual kimchi to this paste.
Saute garlic and ginger in oil and add to a blender with juice of a lemon, half a jar of kimchi, and some soy sauce. Puree till very smooth. On a pan spread out some chopped okra and halved brussel sprouts. Broil until charred, stirring once. Remove from oven and toss with kimchi paste and some scallions.

Peach-habanero cornbread
3 cups of cornbread mix
in a blender:
4 peaches
1 onion
2.5 cups milk
½ cup oil
blend until smooth and pour over cornbread mix stirring well.
Next blend 3 eggs and 4 oz goat cheese and add it to the mix as well.
bake in a greased pan for about an hour and a half until set. Should still be soft and damp when finished.

Who are you guys rooting for in next weeks finale? I would like to see Paul win it all.


Toss it while it's hot... I started cracking up at that (and now have the song stuck in my head). I'm actually okay with either person winning at this point. I was rooting for both of them the whole time.

And I would LOVE it if Top Chef comes to Boston!

I want that cornbread. And the sprouts

I am rooting for Paul!! Brussels and okra is an interesting combo, but I would probably smother them in BBQ sauce.

I've got money on Paul (literally) and I think he definitely deserves to win this!

this is a feast fit for a top chef competition. nicely done!

I can't hear the tv.

BBQ sauce is amazing with the [dry] brisket, but the Kimchi/Garlic/Ginger/Soy sauce on the broiled veggies was the best part of this feast.

Go Paul!

I thought I was being all clever getting a nice photo of the brisket on the Texas cutting board, but of course I didn't realize at the time that Texas is backwards.

Truer words were never written.

Sarah totally has that shit.

Thanks for coming over, it was a great meal. I've finally learned that when Dan cooks, you can't question him, just trust that it will come out yummy.

PS - The finale should have been Paul and Lindsay.

PPS - Sarah better not win.

First, awesome recipes (I make the Sriracha Chex Mix once a week, holy moley it's addictive!) So it's my first time stopping by and I'll certainly be back. My question is for the Peach-habanero cornbread. Where does the habanero come in at? I reread it a couple times, but who knows I could have missed it. Thanks a lot, can't wait to come back!

Toss it while it's hot? Amazing. I love that you all cooked a meal inspired by Top Chef. I've found this season really lackluster. I hope the show does come to Boston next season!

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