After three years of trying, we hosted a dinner for our excellent neighbors last night. Our menu was requested by Finley: smoked brisket, mashed potatoes, and salad, which sounded great. Jen bought a 16 lb. side of brisket that I cut in half and covered in a homemade rub Friday night. Saturday morning I had to run out for more hickory chips and a chimney charcoal starter, and got the beef on the grill at about 10:30. By 1:30 it hit the target temperature (which was just in time, as I’d run out of chips 20 minutes before) so I brought it inside, covered it in marinade, wrapped it tight, and put it in the oven to finish cooking (this isn’t technically cheating, as the meat isn’t smoking anymore). It turned out excellent: tender, moist, and full of flavor. The top half was a little more fatty than I prefer, but the lower section at the tip was absolutely perfect.

Jen found an excellent cocktail for us to serve: Suburban Anxiety. A lavender lemonade sounds like it could go horribly wrong but we found it to be delicious and sneakily alcoholic. Also on the menu: Blood & Sand, a Scotch-based cocktail I had several years ago at a neighborhood cocktail hour. It wasn’t as good as I remember, but then, I’m not a professional bartender mixing with top-shelf alcohol (I used a bottle of Dewar’s left over, I think, from the wedding). As it turns out, there was unintentional symmetry serving a Blood and Sand with smoked meat; looking back at that 2015 post, it turns out I’d tried using the smoker that same weekend for the first time to smoke a chicken—and failed miserably.

It was lovely to sit in front of the fire and have friends over and talk about adult stuff (and cats, and comic books…) and be social after so goddamn long; it made cleaning the house that much more worth it.

Date posted: February 27, 2022 | Filed under friends | Leave a Comment »

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