Meet the contenders
- Southwestern Pulled Brisket
- Green Onion Slaw
- S’mores Cookies
(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
Cooking time: 5 hours
Rating: 2 forks and a dutch oven
In three words: Tender, tangy, and terrific.
What we liked: This brisket. Even though the recipe calls for a slow cooker, we used a dutch oven and cooked it at 350 for four hours and it came out perfectly. The brisket pulled apart with the slightest touch and was so flavorful it seemed too good to have come out of this kitchen. It had great spice to it (we used two big chipotles) but the other flavors came through and nothing got lost in the heat.
Beyond how delicious it was, it was easy. Even for two amateurs, it was simple and seems like a recipe that would be hard to mess up. If you ever need to show off your kitchen acumen, this is an awesome place to start.
The brisket was made even better by the green onion slaw which added a refreshing crispness to the meal. It would make a great sandwich, though, or a taco, or a Chipotle-style “bowl” or even a salad. We can’t wait to experiment with the leftovers throughout the week to see what other excellent uses we can find for it.
What we didn’t: Nothing. This brisket is delicious and very versatile. We plan on making it again, preferably soon.
(recipe from here)
Cooking time: a few minutes
Rating: 1 million
In three words: so frickling delicious
What we liked: Everything. Anyone who says that fried pickles aren’t one of the greatest foods ever invented is a fool, and these are better than we’ve found in a lot of restaurants. Since we see ourselves as frickle connoisseurs, we used the best frickles we could think of as our model, and if we do say so ourselves, made something that could easily stand up to any restaurant or state fair competitor.
We found a southwestern seasoning salt at Whole Foods to use in the batter, and instead of breading them in panko crumbs as the recipe suggested, we re-dipped the pickles in the flour after coating them in stout batter. To make things more exciting, we twice-battered the frickles which made them even better. We love our frickles to be thick-cut (but not spears–those are too hard to eat!), and cut these to an ideal 1-inch thickness. Once fried, they stayed crisp and tart while the thick coating had great southwestern kick and some delicious crunch.
To dip them in, we mixed some mayo and some diced chipotle in adobo (and a liberal amount of the adobo too) and a little bit of pickle juice. Tasting the sauce from a spoon, we were a little unsure, but once we had frickles to taste it with, we could see how they made a perfect pair. The sauce was spicy, but not too much so, and paired perfectly with the little deep fried bits of heaven as they came off the stove.
What we didn’t: The clean up. Little droplets of the frying oil somehow managed to get everywhere. But it was so, so, so worth it.
(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Rating: 2 rubber gloves
In three words: Refreshing, zesty, spicy.
What we liked: This was delicious! As far as coleslaw goes, this is at the top in our books. It didn’t have the thick, heavy, mayo-y-ness that most coleslaws have and instead tasted very refreshing and perfectly complimented the brisket.
This was a simple and great dish, and we highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it’s really not a fair fight for the poor slaw going up against the frickles. No fair at all.
What we didn’t: Serrano chile oil…on bare hands…hands that touch faces…ouch. Tip from the pros (ha!): if and when you try this recipe, use gloves when you handle the serranos. No matter how much soap and water we use, the burning won’t stop!
(recipe from here)
Cooking time: 3 hours
Rating: 1 lighter
In three words: Ooey, gooey, chewy
What we liked: While we wouldn’t want to eat a cookie by itself, the cookie marshmallow sandwich was pretty good. The texture of the cookies was right on–soft, thick, chewy, and melty chocolate chips. We suppose they were intended to taste somewhat like graham crackers but in cookie form, and perhaps flavor wise there were some similarities, but texture wise these were very much cookies and not crackers. They were sweet (lots of butter) but not too sweet. Getting the marshmallows to be the right consistency for the filling was a bit of a challenge. First, we microwaved a plate of them and tried to spread the “goo” between the cookies…that led to a very messy sandwich (but delicious). Then, we decided to skewer and roast individual marshmallows with a lighter and put those in between the cookies. This was a little bit less messy and the toastedness of the marshmallows was a welcome addition. The sandwiches were fun to eat because of the messiness and gooey-ness, and the texture of the composition was highly enjoyable.
What we didn’t: Way better in theory than actuality. As mentioned above, the cookies themselves were not anything special alone. Making the marshmallow filling was a bit more challenging than we thought. They didn’t really work well as “s’mores”–they have to be made on a cookie by cookie basis, they can’t be prepared all at once because if the marshmallow filling hardens, the cookies are not going to be as enjoyable (or easy) to eat. Not inedible by any stretch, probably just not worth the effort.
Savory 16: Beef and Beer Chili vs. Southwestern Pulled Brisket
The brisket took this one. The complexity of flavors, the tenderness of the meat, and the “impressiveness” factor put it over the top. But the chili was good. Damn good. We definitely recommend it, but not quite as much as the brisket.
Winner: The Brisket
Savory 16: Green Onion Slaw vs. Frickles
As we said, this just wasn’t a fair fight. The slaw was great, but just couldn’t compare to marvel of frickles. Sorry, slaw. We really do like you.
Winner: Frickles. Hands Down.
Sweet 16: Momofuku Milk Bar Cornflake Crunch Cookies vs. S’mores Cookies
The cornflake crunch cookies may have had a little too much butter in them, but the innovation (cornflakes…in cookies!) and the effective use of marshmallows (sorry s’mores cookies… the marshmallows didn’t really work here) gives the cornflake crunch cookies the edge here.
Winner: The Cornflake Crunch Cookies.