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A Little Smoky Goodness

June 30th, 2011

The beef we eat comes from the same farm we get our milk from. Their cows spend their days out in the fields eating green grass and feeling the sun on their backs. As a result the meat is really great – tasty and healthy. We eat mostly venison around here because of Mr Chiot’s hunting prowess, but we buy loads of meaty bones from the farm to feed the resident Chiots. I also use the bones for making stock and every now and then some braised beef.

Last week I made dinner to take to some friends who were moving. I wanted to make something that would taste great hot or cold and would be quick and easy to eat. After looking in the freezer and the pantry, I decided to make pulled beef sandwiches. I thawed out some beef shanks, beef short ribs, and a venison roast. These fatty bony bits are perfect for braising, the meat gets tender and falls off the bone and the fat melts into the sauce making it so smooth and velvety (not to mention super healthy). The venison roast added more meat since the other pieces don’t have a ton of meat on them.

I rubbed them liberally with freshly ground pepper and sea salt and seared them over a campfire out back. Then I threw them all in a big cast iron dutch oven with a three cans of Guinness and braised them for a few hours until the meat was falling off the bone (mine braised for 4 hours total, but you could do more if needed). I made a huge batch but you could easily scale this down for four. You’ll be wishing you had leftovers though so maybe you should go ahead and make a big batch.

After braising, I pulled the meat off the bones, shredded it, then mixed it with the remaining braising liquid, which had become thick and rich from the beef bones. We put the meat on homemade ciabatta and topped with onions that I had caramelized over the fire in a cast iron skillet. We topped it all off with some local raw milk cheese and what a meal it was! I kept wanting to take a photo of the sandwiches, but never remembered because they were so good. We’ll be making these again on Saturday for a cookout before enjoying the Fourth of July fireworks display in our community. I figured I’d share this fantastic recipe in case any of you were trying to come up with something tasty to make.

What’s your favorite kind of cookout food?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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