For the last four years, Cary’s birthday present has been the same – tickets to the TX Monthly BBQ festival (why mess with a good thing, right?). The BBQ festival is a one day meat extravaganza, where the 30 best BBQ joints from around the state sample their finest meat, all on the lawn of the Long Center in downtown Austin. It’s been such a fun way to try many restaurants that we would never get to otherwise. It’s an event we look forward to each year, and have even roped friends into going with us for the last two years, which makes it even more fun! Our 2017 favorite was Tejas Chocolate Craftory.
One of my favorite BBQ fest memories happened our first year – that year, we didn’t quite know what to expect, but I did “sneak” some Ziploc bags in, knowing that I could never eat our ticket price worth of meat. Come to find out, Ziploc bags are allowed in the fest, but the first year was full of learning lessons. Cary and I circled the whole festival, getting our fill of brisket, sausage, pork, and chicken. Once we couldn’t stuff anything else in our stomachs, we decided to brave the long line for the Franklin tent and give our bodies time to digest. By the time we reached the front of their line, the festival was winding down to a close, and we could tell the Franklin had overestimated the amount of meat they would need to feed everyone… by a lot! So I casually mentioned that we were there celebrating Cary’s birthday to the pit master, Benji, and he promptly handed over a giant six pound pork shoulder! It was awesome! Thanks to our food saver and garage freezer, we were able to save it and ended up feeding our whole family at Christmas with it, with meat to spare!
Ever since that moment, we knew not to come to the festival without baggies and Tupperware galore! Now our game plan is always to both get samples then split Cary’s and dump mine for later. With a toddler who missed naptime this year, we had to cut our festival adventures short, but we still managed to go home with close to six pounds of leftover meat – two of which were brisket (we took home more ribs than anything). Now the only downside about this whole event is that by the time it is over, I usually don’t want to even look at BBQ for a good month. Most of the meat went in bags for the freezer, but we already had a lot of brisket in there, so I was curious if I could come up with a recipe to use up the brisket we got at the festival, without it having too much of a BBQ vibe (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Thankfully, midway through the week, we got a bit of a cold snap here in Austin, which meant Thursday was a really good night to cook up a giant pot of soup! I googled brisket stew, but didn’t have very much luck finding a stew recipe that used precooked meat…. So I made my own! It turned out pretty well, so I wanted to share it here.
(Not the best picture – I snapped it in the break room at work before diving in!)
I love this recipe because it’s flexible – just throw in whatever veggies you have/like. This recipe made a full six quart stock pot, which was the perfect amount for us because we ate half over that weekend, and froze the other half for later this winter.
Butter – 1 Tablespoon
Flour – 1 Tablespoon
Onion – 3/4 cup, chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Carrots – 4 large, chopped
Celery – 5 stalks, chopped
Splash of red wine (optional)
Beef broth – 32 oz.
Diced tomatoes – 14.5 oz can, undrained
Water – 14.5 oz
Sweet potato – 1 potato, chopped
White potato – 2 potatoes, chopped
Smoked BBQ Brisket – 1.5 lbs, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Salt and pepper, as needed
Melt Butter in dutch oven over medium – medium high heat.
Add onions and garlic, stirring until veggies are translucent.
Add flour to thicken. Add splash of red wine to loosen flour chunks from bottom of pan.
Add chopped carrots and celery. Cook until slightly tender.
Pour beef broth, diced tomatoes, and water into pot and stir.
Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
Add potatoes, and cook on high for 20 minutes.
Add brisket chunks and simmer on low for one hour, or until potatoes are tender.
After sitting overnight, the potatoes really thickened the rest of the broth up, so it turned into a hearty thick stew, which is my favorite kind! Let me know if you try it!