December 26, 2002

"That's alot of bread, sir."

My secret BBQ shame is that I often enjoy the sandwiches that result from BBQ more than the BBQ itself. This is partially a result of how I grew up knowing BBQ. My family used to take vacation to Texas almost every summer, two kids in the back of an Impala driving 3 days across half the country.

Every year, shortly after crossing the Texas state line, my father would somehow direct the car off to a non-descript shack. I now know he probably used his nose to smell the wood smoke. It was always the same -- paper plates, white bread buns, and dark brown/red smoky shreds of beef. And, as always, it was the best meal one had ever eaten. So, to me, sandwiches are always what I think of first when I think of BBQ.

The other reason why the next day BBQ tastes better to me is simple. After 12 hours of running a smoker, I can't even smell the smoke in the meat. It's in my shirt, my hair, and even my skin. I know the food must taste wonderful (as indeed the next day shows) but for the life of me I can barely taste the smoke over my own Eau de Bois.

Today, I'm making hamburger buns in anticipation of tearing into my stash of brisket from Christmas Eve. It's one of those weird things about me. Most people would never think of making buns. Me, I'd never think of exiting the house on the day after Christmas and going to (of all places) a freakin' store!

Yeast, water, butter, salt, flour (in that order). Kneading it in the KitchenAid, rising it slowly so that the crumb of the bread is small and dense (the butter helps here, too). Punching it down and turning it halfway through the almost two hour rise. Forming into little round balls and pressing them down flat into a half-sheet pan. Rising it again, and finally baking it at 350 until they're done.

All very simple, but I do end up with close to two dozen buns. I mean, you don't even normally buy that many at once. My excuse is that they freeze. The reality is that I'll probably end up eating most of them in two days.

Posted by dowdy at December 26, 2002 08:34 AM