Best Italian Meatballs Ever!

Best Italian Meatballs Ever!


½ cup white bread (I’m really partial to Wonder Bread. Thanks, Mom ) torn into pieces
½ cup milk or half and half
1 large egg, whisked
½ cup grated Romano cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 lb ground beef or a mixture of beef, pork, and/or veal. Use whatever meat you prefer/can find/are comfortable using for dietary or other reasons. It’s all good 🙃
½ cup very finely chopped onion (or grated on a coarse grater)
1 clove minced garlic


Get ahead of the game and do your mise en place. That just means getting all your ingredients measured and cut up and “in place” so you can get right down to the business of making meatballs.

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and spritz with non-stick spray.

Place the torn bread in a large bowl and cover with the milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. It will get mushy. This is a good thing!

Add all your other ingredients to the bowl with the soaked bread and gently mix together with a wooden spoon or extra gently with your hands. You don’t want to overwork the mixture or squeeze the meat because that will result in tough meatballs. That is a bad thing. The peeled golf ball bad thing.

I actually use 2 rice scoops when mixing together ingredients. It allows me to mix everything together without the risk of overworking.

You might see bits of bread in the meat after you mix it all together. That’s ok. They’ll melt in when you bake them.

Shape the mixture into roughly golf ball sized balls. You can use a small cookie scoop if it helps, but I just grab a bit and roll. Wetting your hands a little or spritzing them with non-stick spray can help avoid meaty hand syndrome.

Place on your baking sheet with a little space in between each ball so they all get even exposure to the heat and get the little crispy side bits we all know and love! You should get about 24-28 meatballs.

Bake in 400° oven for 25-30 minutes, turning over once.

Remove from the oven. Sneak one and taste it for quality control. No one will notice one missing meatball.

Add the meatballs to your favorite sauce or use the delicious marinara sauce we made in a previous post.

Let the sauce and meatballs simmer for about 20 minutes to allow them to become really good friends. They’re in love.


Braised Korean Short Ribs

Braised Korean Short Ribs


3 lbs English cut short ribs, preferably in 2 inch pieces if available (English cut just means a big hunk of meat on one long rib bone, as opposed to flanken cut, which is a thin slice of short rib with 3 thin bones)
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup beef broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine, found in the International aisle of your local Mega Market or any Asian food store)
4 cloves of garlic, grated or minced very fine
½ inch of ginger, grated or minced very fine (this equals about 1 tsp of ginger. If you don’t have fresh ginger you can use 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
¼ cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes, found in Asian food stores. You can absolutely substitute regular chili flakes and adjust up or down for heat tolerance. This really isn’t very spicy. Trust me 😊)
1 tsp MSG. I know, I know, big controversy with MSG, but my Mom always used it and I’m FINE, and recent research, blah, blah, blah, totally up to you. I like the flavor it brings, but you do you 😉)
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil for searing the ribs, plus more for seasoning before searing
2 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup cold beef broth


Mix soy sauce, 1/2 cup of beef broth, sesame oil, mirin, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, chili flakes, and MSG (if using) and whisk together well. Set aside while you get your ribs ready.

Heat a heavy pan over high heat. I like to use my cast iron pan for even cooking and great searing. Drizzle all the short ribs with some oil and salt and pepper. Rub them well with the oil and seasoning to get all the surfaces ready for their big moment.

Sear the ribs in batches (so you don’t crowd the pan) on all six sides. Don’t be afraid to get a really hard sear on them. This is where you’re going to get the really slow braised, deep flavor. Remove the seared ribs and start the next batch.

If you are using your slow cooker, just put the seared ribs in the bottom of the cooker and start on your next batch of ribs.

searing short ribs

Pour the sauce all over the ribs in the slow cooker, put the lid on and set to low. Cook for 8-9 hours. Go do something. Go to work, go to a movie, sit on the sofa and binge something. Come back later and we’ll finish this off.

Hey! If you want to make this the night before, like I did, and cook it before you go to work, just put it in the refrigerator. Pull it out before you start getting ready for whatever you do during the day and let it come to room temperature-ish. Then set it and forget it!

seared short ribs

When you’re ready to eat, it takes just a few minutes to finish the ribs and get eating. Mix the 2 tbs of cornstarch with the 1/4 cup of cold beef broth and pour into the saucy parts in the slow cooker. Turn the temperature to high and let the sauce thicken. While that is happening, you can put on some rice, or noodles if you want something to spoon all that delicious sauce over. And you will. It’s pretty amazing.

That’s it! The ribs are fall apart tender and the sauce is rich and dark, and a little smoky from that great sear you gave them. Put the ribs on a plate with whatever accompaniments you like and enjoy. Good job!

This dish can also be cooked in the oven, if you like. Because the meat will be cooking for such a long time, you need to have more liquid when oven braising. You’ll need to triple the sauce amount and then put the ribs and sauce into a stove and oven safe covered pot and cook at 325° for 2 1/2 hours. When the time is up, take pot from the oven and place on the stovetop to thicken the sauce with the cornstarch and beef broth. This should only take 2-3 minutes. Then you just have to serve and enjoy!

slow cooker Korean ribs 2

Skirt Steak with Italian Chimichurri and Tomato Salad

Skirt Steak with Italian Chimichurri and Tomato Salad


Steak Marinade
1 -2 lbs Skirt steak
Juice from one large lemon
½ tsp Kosher salt (I am a recent convert to Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. It has a coarse grain, but crushes easily in your fingers, to give a finer grain when you want it, and it is less salty than Morton’s Kosher salt. Just my 2 cents worth.)
½ tsp Black pepper
2 Cloves finely minced garlic
2 tbsp Finely chopped basil
½ Cup olive oil
Tomato Salad
3 tbsp White balsamic vinegar (unlike dark balsamic vinegar, this doesn’t discolor the tomatoes, a big plus when making a vibrant salad)
1 tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp Black pepper
4 Cloves finely minced or grated garlic
1 tbsp Honey
½ Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Grape or other small salad tomatoes, cut in half
¼ Cup thinly sliced (chiffonade) basil
Italian Chimichurri (The absolute STAR 🌟 of this meal)
6 Cloves of garlic
½ Cup basil
1 Cup Italian flat leaf parsley (don’t go crazy trying to pluck just leaves from your parsley. There is so much flavor in the stems of most soft herbs, and we’ll be chopping these up so finely that you won’t even see the stems.)
2 tbsp Fresh oregano
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 ½ tsp Calabrian chili paste (found in a jar in the “Ethnic” or “International” aisle of your local Mega Market, this stuff is HOT 🔥, but man, is it delicious! Use caution. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, start with a little and add more if you want to. Or don’t use it at all. I’m not in your kitchen, nor do I use your mouth for eating. Only you can judge your 🔥 tolerance.)
¼ Cup white balsamic vinegar (again, I don’t want the vibrant green of the herbs to be changed by using dark balsamic vinegar)
¾ Cup extra virgin olive oil


Marinating the steak

We’ll start by getting the steak marinating. The steak will probably be in 2 pieces when you buy it. If not, cut into pieces about 4-6 inches long and place in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Put all of the marinade ingredients in the bag with the steaks and smoosh it around a bit with your hands, from the outside of course. Close the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and give the steak and marinade another good smooshing, making sure all sides of the meat are covered. Allow the steak to marinate at least one hour, up to all day while you are at work or doing whatever you do during the day 😉 If you’ll be cooking the steak within the hour, just leave it out on the counter. It’ll be fine.

Making the tomato salad

Now we’ll make the tomato salad. Place your halved tomatoes in a large bowl. Set your cut basil aside for when you serve the salad later. Mix all your dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid, like a mason jar, or a small bowl. Shake, or whisk, the dressing ingredients together and pour over the tomatoes and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When serving, add the basil and toss again. The reason I don’t add the basil while marinating is that it tends to discolor and lose it’s freshness. Adding it at the end gives the salad that pop of color and the basil flavor is so bright and delicious! 😋

Creating Our Star: Italian Chimichurri

Chimichurri mise en place. Get everything together and ready to go. There’s nothing worse in the kitchen than starting to cook and realizing you don’t have an important ingredient!

Place the garlic and the salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until the garlic is chopped.

Rough chop your herbs a bit and add them to the food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times, just to get them broken down a bit. Then add your Calabrian chili paste, as much or as little as you want. Pulse, pulse. 2 times. Add the balsamic vinegar and pulse just once to mix.

With the food processor running, pour in your olive oil until fully incorporated. Allow the chimichurri to sit at room temperature until ready to eat. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will become best friends and have an amazing long term relationship 💕 Chimichurri will keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks in a tightly sealed container. Yay!

Putting it all together

I wish I had more pictures, and I promise I’ll add them the next time I make this (and I will make it again). We were just so hungry we forgot to take pictures. Same old story.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. Any cold meat will cook faster on the outside than on the inside, giving you uneven cooking. Having a nicely charred steak with a raw inside is no bueno.

All we have to do now is grill or pan sear the steaks. If grilling, you need to get your grill very hot. Allow it to heat on high for at least 10 minutes. If you’re using a cast iron skillet or pan, heat it on high and add a little vegetable oil right before you put your steaks on.

Place the steaks on a paper towel lined baking sheet and pat them dry all over. A wet steak will never get the kind of char that you want. Dry it off! Season well with salt and pepper and let’s go to the grill.

Grill the steaks for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of your steaks. Skirt steaks have a skinny end and a fat end, so adjust accordingly. The same instructions go for pan searing your steaks. Using a cast iron skillet or grill pan, cook on high for 3-5 minutes per side. Allow the steaks to rest for about 10 minutes, so all those delicious steak juices can settle in.

After the steaks have rested, you will cut them against the grain.

What does cutting “against the grain” mean, you ask? If you look closely at any pice of meat, you will see that the muscle fibers go in a certain direction (called “the grain”) How you cut the meat, in relation to the direction of the grain, will affect how tender the meat is. So, we cut against the grain to make the strands of muscle fiber smaller, and the meat more tender. Thinly sliced, against the grain = tender skirt steak. Do it please 🙏 You’ll thank yourself later.

Serve this magnificent steak alongside a good scoop of your delicious marinated tomatoes, a nice drizzle of the ✨ MAGICAL ✨ Chimichurri sauce you made, and maybe a few pieces of toasted semolina bread just for funsies. Now all there’s left to do is enjoy this meal! That’ll be easy. 💁🏻‍♀️

Spicy Beef Empanadas

Spicy Beef Empanadas


Empanada Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup very cold lard (I keep mine in the freezer. It won’t ever freeze solid, but will stay quite cold)
1 large egg
¾ cup cold chicken broth
1 large egg, whisked, for the tops of the empanadas before baking
Empanada Filling
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp chili powder
¾ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp hot paprika
½ tsp Mexican oregano (if you can’t find this in your International aisle at the Mega Market, you can use generic oregano. It’s fine.)
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ orange or yellow bell pepper, diced (can you tell I like color?)
½ large onion, diced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (seeds and white-ish ribs from inside removed. That’s where most of the “hot” lives. If you like it hot, leave ’em in. I did!)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup grape tomatoes, chopped


Gather together all of your dough ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in your food processor. Pulse to mix well. Add in your lard (or shortening) in small pieces and pulse until the mixture is the texture of wet sand or coarse cornmeal.

In a measuring cup, combine the chicken broth and egg and whisk together. With the food processor running, pour in the liquid until the dough comes together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until it all comes together and no longer feels sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest while you prepare the filling.

empanada crust ingredients

In a large skillet on medium high heat, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Drain the beef and set aside. In the same pan, add about one tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat back up to medium high. Sauté all of the vegetables until they are just beginning to soften. Remember, if you don’t want it too spicy, just use less (or no) jalapeños. If you want it spicier, go crazy. You are in charge of your flavor intensity here! Add the ground beef back to the pan and continue browning.

Now is when you’ll add in your spices. The chili powder and the chipotle powder are where the real heat is. Adjust as needed, okay? After everything is cooked and seasoned, turn off the heat and toss in the chopped cilantro and tomato. They will soften from the heat of the mixture and need no further cooking. Allow the filling to cool while you prepare the dough.

sauteed empanada beef

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick. I found it easier to work the dough in quarters, not trying to roll everything out all at once. Cut out circles about 5-6 inches in diameter. I used a bowl and a paring knife to cut out nice even circles.

Using a brush or your fingers and the whisked egg, trace around the edge of the dough circles to help when sealing your empanadas.

Add about 2 tablespoons of filling to the center of each circle. Fold the dough in half and press around the meat to remove any extra air. Use a fork to press shut and seal the edges of each empanada.

Place finished empanadas on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Using a brush, egg wash each empanada with the whisked egg.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes on the pan before serving or you’ll liquify the inside of your face.

I served my empanadas with my Mexican Rice. This was as authentic as I can imagine and frankly, quite delicious! Enjoy!

Spicy Beef Empanadas 3

Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups cooked beef, cubed (I used my leftover Italian Pot Roast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. You can also sear off similar sized cubes of stew meat or your favorite cut of beef.)
6 cups beef broth
14.5 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (if using dry oregano, use 1 tsp. It’s much stronger)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup dried barley
1 cup frozen pearl onions
Salt and pepper to taste. Use a pinch of salt and pepper when sautéing the vegetables and then taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed, before serving.


In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions in the olive oil for a minute or two. Add the rest of the vegetables and continue sautéing until everything is just softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for another minute.

sautéing vegetables

Add in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, chopped oregano, and fire roasted tomatoes and stir well. Allow to come to a boil over medium heat.

adding tomatoes to soup

Once the soup has come to a boil, add in the barley. It’s really tiny now, but let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes and it will be delightfully fluffy and will add a bit of texture to the soup.

If you are using freshly seared meat add it in now and let it simmer in the soup about 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to cook it for too long or it will overcook. If you are using leftover pot roast it just needs to warm through. It’s thoroughly cooked and just needs a few minutes.


Finally, just before serving, stir in the baby spinach. It will wilt immediately and that’s it. Soups on! Ladle out a generous bowl for everyone and maybe serve it with a little bread on the side. My milk bread rolls are perfect for dipping in the broth!

Note to my plant-based eaters: This makes a delicious vegetarian soup too! You can substitute the beef broth for vegetable broth (it has a richer flavor than you may think!), and skip the worcestershire (there’s anchovy in it). Skip the beef and add any and all vegetables you want! This simple recipe serves as a great starting point for a great variety of tasty soups, so go wild!

Happy Souping!

Beef Barley Soup 2

Italian Pot Roast with Polenta

Italian Pot Roast with Polenta


Pot Roast
3-4 lb chuck roast, generously seasoned on all sides with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
2 stalks of celery, diced small (sensing a trend here?)
2 cloves of finely minced garlic
¼ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes (they’re so much sweeter and well worth the extra 50 cents or so)
2 tbsp tomato paste (I found a great one in a tube that also has basil infused in the paste. Regular is fine 😉)
1 cup of beef broth
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Second Round of Vegetables
1 large onion cut in eight wedges
2 large carrots, cut in chunks (these will be cooking a long time. Larger chunks mean less mushy carrot)
3 stalks of celery, cut in chunks (see above)
1 cup of small tomatoes (I used grape)
Creamy, Cheesy Polenta
4 ½ cups water
1 cup polenta
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Making the Pot Roast

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick spray and have it ready to go.

Before doing anything else, I always recommend doing your mise en place (en français). That’s fancy French chef talk for chopping everything and having it all measured and ready to go before starting to cook. No more looking for something and realizing that you don’t have it or that it’s not ready to go, just do what the French chefs say and put “everything in place” before you start the cooking.

Using a heavy pan, like cast iron or stainless steel, sear all sides of your roast over high heat. Really get a good sear on all the sides. Don’t be afraid that you’ll overcook it. This is a BIG piece of meat.

Place roast in the bottom of your slow cooker, fat side up.

seared pot roast

In the same pan as you seared your roast, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium high. Sauté your vegetables until they begin to soften and get a little color. Add your garlic and sauté another minute. Throw in your thyme, rosemary, and basil and give it a stir. We’re using the same pan because we want to keep all those meaty flavors to ourselves. We want the veggies and the meat to be madly in love by the end of this recipe!

soffritto with herbs

In a medium bowl combine your tomatoes, beef broth, tomato paste and red wine vinegar. Using your hands (with gloves, if you want) really squish up those tomatoes and mix everything together. You might be thinking you could have just bought crushed tomatoes. Yeah, you could, but whole San Marzano tomatoes are just peeled tomatoes and juice. Very often crushed tomatoes are a mixture of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce or purée, and not as good quality or flavor. Trust me on this. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Now pour the tomato mixture all around your roast. Mmm. Already smelling good isn’t it?

adding tomatoes to italian pot roast

Finally take all your large chunked vegetables and place them all around your roast. Toss those baby tomatoes right on top. Put on the lid, set it to low and walk away for 8-10 hours. Go to work. Go see a double feature. Take 2 naps.

When you come back, it will look like this! And you will be so happy!

finished italian pot roast

Finishing Up and Making Polenta

Turn your slow cooker on warm. Carefully, maybe with the help of a friend, pour the cooking liquid into a medium saucepan. You can leave a bit of the liquid in there with the meat if you want, but just pop the lid back on and the vegetables will help keep the meat moist anyway. Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer, turn to low and let it reduce a bit while you make some polenta.

Polenta looks and sounds difficult to make, but it really isn’t. If you Google polenta (don’t) a lot of people will tell you that it takes 40 minutes of constant stirring, blah blah blah. Relax. There is a lot of stirring, but it’s only about 15 minutes and it’s super simple.

Start by boiling the water with the salt. Once it’s boiling, use a whisk to make a little whirlpool action in the water and slowly pour in your polenta. Keep whisking until it’s all in and there are no lumps. Turn the heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon every minute or so to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom.

whisking polenta

The polenta will get nice and thick. Give it a careful taste (it’s hot). If it feels smooth in your mouth (mouth feel!), it’s done. Take it off the heat and add your heavy cream and cheese. Stir it up and serve on a warm plate.

Top the polenta with your unbelievably tender pot roast and vegetables, and pour the reduced cooking liquid all over. You are going to cry. It’s that good. I haven’t served this to my Mother-In-Law yet, but The Boy sure loved it! Success!

Italian Pot Roast with Polenta2

Crispy Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Crispy Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry


Sauce (makes 1 cup)
1 tsp finely minced or grated ginger
2 cloves finely minced or grated garlic
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ cup mirin
zest and juice of one lime
Meat and Vegetables, and Other Stuff
1 lb well marbled beef (I splurged and went for NY strip steak, because I’m worth it)
1 onion, julienned
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
8 – 10 small baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
2 red fresno peppers or Thai chilis (the Thai chilis are much spicier, choose thoughtfully)
½ cup + 1 tbs cornstarch
½ mild-tasting oil, like canola or peanut oil for frying


Whisk all the sauce ingredients together. Give it a little taste. If you like things a little spicier, by all means, add more pepper. I even added a bit of Korean red pepper (Gochugaru), but I’m crazy like that. If you want the sauce a little milder, or without heat, you should’ve thought of that before, silly! You’re either reading this recipe in full before proceeding, like you should, or you need to go back in time and add less/no red pepper.

Divide the sauce into two containers, and add 1 tbs of cornstarch to one half. Set this aside for later.

Place your beef in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to partially freeze. It will make slicing it much easier. Slice against the grain, like in the picture (not along the little strands you see in the meat, but slicing across them. This makes the meat more tender because it shortens the muscle fibers… science). Put the meat into a zip-top bag, add your container of sauce (the half without cornstarch), and marinate the meat for 30 minutes to one hour in the refrigerator.

raw steak slicing

Slice all of your vegetables. You’ll be cooking the bok choy separately, but the onions, peppers, and chilis can all hang out together.

sliced vegetables bok choy

Remove the beef strips from the marinade and dry off by laying on a piece of paper towel and patting the top with another piece.  Place 1/2 cup of cornstarch in a plastic zip-top bag. Place the beef strips in the bag and shake it in the cornstarch, coating lightly. Shake off the excess cornstarch, and place them on a baking sheet.

Heat your oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat.

Fry the beef on the first side for 1-2 minutes or until light golden brown. Flip over and fry the other side. 

Set the cooked beef aside on a rack over a sheet pan. (Let’s keep it crispy folks!)

cast iron pan fried beef strips

Clean out the wok/pan.  Stir-fry the bok choy in a small amount of oil (1-2 turns of the pan) over high heat until crispy/tender and slightly charred.  Set aside and repeat with all rest of the vegetables.

As you can see, I cooked the beef and bok choy in my cast iron pan and the vegetables in my wok. That’s because I grossly underestimated the amount of food I would have to fit in my pan when all was said and done. Don’t be like me. Plan accordingly. Use a big enough pan the first time 😉.

stir fry peppers and onions

Return all the vegetables and the beef to the pan.  Give your reserved container of sauce with cornstarch a quick whisk, and pour over everything. Quickly toss everything together until it’s all coated in the sauce. It will thicken and cover everything in sticky, yummy goodness. 

Sprinkle with a bit of sesame seeds and serve over rice. Or not! I didn’t need rice. It was pretty gosh darn good all by itself. Share with others. Or not! It’s also pretty gosh darn good enough to be selfish and take it all for yourself and feel okay about it. Your choice.

beijing beef wok

“Smoky” Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches

“Smoky” Slow Cooker Brisket Sandwiches


Spice Rub
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chipotle powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
Spicy Barbecue Sauce
2 cups ketchup
cup molasses
cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp spice rub (from above)
1 tbsp liquid smoke (really makes a difference!)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, pureed (more if you want it spicier, skip it if you want a milder sauce)
Pickled Red Onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups white wine vinegar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns (optional, but recommended)
1 sprig of rosemary (also optional)
1 sprig of thyme (again, optional, but I like the flavors)


Pickled Red Onion

Place sliced red onions in large mason jar or any sealable, non-metallic container.

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and any or all of the optional flavorings in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Pour the vinegar solution over the onions and allow to cool to room temperature.

Seal the container and place in the refrigerator. It will be ready to eat in just a few hours and will last up to six months! Just keep the container sealed and refrigerated. We’ll use these tangy treats in more recipes in the future.

Spice Rub

Just mix all the ingredients together and place them in a resealable jar. I like to make extra and keep it in a shaker jar (covered with plastic wrap) to shake over chicken, pork, fish, or even vegetables.

Barbecue Sauce

Combine all your sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower heat, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool.

Making Your “Smoky” Brisket

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick spray. Season your brisket on all sides with salt, pepper, and a light sprinkling of the spice rub. Sear in a hot pan on all sides until browned. Let cool and then rub all surfaces with a generous amount of the spice mix again. Place fat side up in the slow cooker. If your brisket is too large, cut in half and get it in there!

Mix one cup of your BBQ sauce with water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and orange juice. Pour all around your brisket.

Cook on low for 9-10 hours, or until super tender.

Carefully remove brisket to a foil lined baking sheet, fat side down, and brush with some of your BBQ sauce. Place it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until nicely caramelized. Turn the brisket fat side up, brush with more sauce, and broil again for 5-10 minutes.

Slice the beautiful brisket against the grain, or it can be shredded or chopped. Whatever your preference in meaty texture, there are no rules. Except slicing against the grain. That’s a law or something. Or should be.

Place on toasted rolls and top with your pickled red onions and more of your BBQ sauce.

For extra FLAVOR and to stretch your BBQ sauce a bit more, add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to the rest of your sauce. Great flavor, more sauce!!

Enjoy the meats!