The last two Saturday’s in a row, our brisket burnt ends were still available at around 1:30. These are unusual times.
A couple of Friday’s ago the old salty dog tale about red sky in the morning turned out to be true.
Lake Tejas got filled in Friday night and wet cold weather turned Saturday into the great sleep in for a lot of folks. Sleeping in on a rainy Saturday morning sounded pretty good too me as well. That’s what I would have done had I not needed to be in opening The Craftory.
When the wind turns out of the north it scoops up the aroma of baked bread from Jane & John Dough, mixes it with burning post oak, and sweeps it down the back alley to greet me as I walk out the back door to check on the status of barbecue in the cooker.
It is but one of my perks for being the morning dude.
A lady told me this week that she smelled us from over yonder and came to investigate. I took it as a compliment. We do have good smells. She said she comes to Old Town Tomball all the time and had no idea we are here. Now she does and mentioned to me that she’s pretty happy to make the discovery. Smellamarketing wins again.
When Sunday arrived we had a Florexan brunch. Michelle got us a sack of fresh oysters, and went to shucking them out of the rain on our covered patio.
I made chili and guacamole and warmed up tamales to complete the Florexan fussion Sunday brunch. Oysters, chili, tamales, and comfortably cool weather is a gulf coast perk. We left the doors open, had the fire place going, and the family came over for some coastal grub and sofa time. The rain on Sunday stopped long enough for me to get the patio fire pit up and running. By whiskey time it started to rain again before I was done with my fire. I had to sheild my beautiful fire with a big umbrella for further enjoyment is how I saw the task at hand.
This last week winter made an appearance. Just looking at skies like this one made me feel cold.
The chilly weather did set the mood for Christmas on Commerce Street and The German Festival. Having to put on a coat added to the festive feel of Old Town last Saturday. I saw and heard Christmas carols from over yonder as I looked out the office window that is up the secret stair case about the Harry Potter closet.
These are the days for good hot chocolate.
We poured just a few of these Friday and Saturday as wind blown festival goers drifted in from the street. Not much tastes better than hot chocolate on a chilly wind blown day.
Big Tomball Festivals fill Old Town with lots of people. Many of our regulars avoid the crowd, so those Saturdays for us are different. Those days start out slow and as festival goers get their festival fix fulfilled they start rolling in later in the day. At high noon this last Saturday there was not a single person in line for barbecue, and once again burnt ends were still available. That all changed by 1:30 as the tired, hungry and done with Christmas Festival peeps came looking for a place to unwind.
I caught Baxter off guard at the end of his very long city marketing day. I thought about leaving Michael alone on this picture. Then I thought the better of it and posted this gem to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Billy Schiel said I won the internet.
There were some late in the day burnt end shoppers that were surprised we had some when they inquired. It never hurts to ask.
Burnt ends are mostly known as a Kansas City thing. BBQ joints take the point (fatty side) of the brisket off after cooking the brisket and put that back on the pit to char them up a bit. They will re-season and sauce up the beefy nuggets. The problem with that for a barbecue joint in Texas is that Texans like a properly rendered brisket point. Many of our customers like to order moist brisket. If we make burnt ends like they do in Kansas City we won’t have enough well marbled brisket to sell. We compromise by trimming a piece of the point on some of our prime grade briskets.
This flap of meat is likely to get over done anyway so we trim it off and cook it separately. Some places will make sausage out these.
We spend the week collecting them and cook them for Saturday.
Not every brisket has this piece of meat to trim. Sometimes the producer trims it off because they have a foreign market willing to pay a higher price for this cut of beef. It’s completely random and very limited. We smoke them but do not re-season or sauce them. We leave that up to you. They do cost more because of the tedious nature of preparing the burnt ends, but thay are so darn good.
Most Saturdays they sell out quickly. The last two Saturday’s the lucky and persistent enjoyed their good fortune. Most of the time, be in line by 11:00 if you want to experience this barbecue meat.
Cooler weather put Chef Greg in the mood for some soup. He made barbecue pork chowder.
It looked great and it was even tastier. This had a pretty classic chowder flavor. It was less heavy than a New England style with the added layer of slightly smokey pork shoulder and sausage. It was a welcomed side dish on a winter day.
Hobs got in on the soup making action too with roasted poblano, rustic potato, and pork belly. I called it Hobbit Stew. Hobs likes to wear long sock with shorts. I thing he does this because he has furry feet. He’s a hobbit and he made a very good stew.
This was another hearty side dish well suited for a chilly day. Part of me wants to see Hobs make this stew with rabbit. That would be cool, but pork belly was a nice meat for this stew.
I went to work on Prime Rib.
We are offering smoked prime rib for the holiday season, so we were getting ready for that. Some of the prime rib last week was sold as prime rib sandwiches with a little au jus on the side for dunking.
These sandwiches went fast. We’re thinking perhaps we should replace one of the brisket House Prime days with smoked prime rib sandwich. Let us know what you’re thoughts are on the house prime flip flop question.
If you would like a prime rib for a holiday special occassion we are taking orders for those. This is a spectacular USDA certified Chairman’s Special Reserve Prime Rib. They are $31 per pound. The whole prime rib has 7 bones and will weigh 14 – 15 lbs cooked. We ask that you order by the bone count. These prime ribs will average 2 lbs per bone. We suggest ordering at least 2 bones. We recommend picking the prime rib up the day you plan to serve but we can walk you through warming it up if you want to serve it on Christmas Day. These will turn out terrific. We’ll coach you through the warming process, and give you some slicing tips.
While Tomball German Festival was happening across the way, we were dishing out some German style beer brats on a sandwich with our house sauerkraut. The fresh bratwurst was smoked and then braised in 11 Below’s Oso Bueno.
Our sauerkraut, house mustard, toasted brioche and our new smoked beer brat was very German festivalish. I ate the one in the picture above incase you wuz wondering. We’re thinking of doing these brats more often.
Many of you have been asking about the pork cheeks. These will be out one day next week for sure. I’ll keep you posted on social media.
This week also saw new chocolate truffles that Michelle and Janie designed.
Eggnog and Peppermint Bliss are rich and delicious seasonal chocolate truffles. The right touch of nutmeg gives the dark chocolate a great hint of eggnog. Crushed peppermint, confectioners sugar, and condensed milk make for a delightful Christmas time treat.
And finally I want to mention how paying attention to our news feeds on social media can be rewarding. Ron with Dr. Pepper gave us a nice neon sign to hang on the wall.
Two days went by and nobody said anything about it so I posted on social medie sites that the first person to tell me how nice the new sign is would get a free sandwich. Then Ron from Dr. Pepper said add a DP to that. Two whole days later Paul Van Deusen finally joking said hey Scott nice sign thinking that the major free sandwich award had alreay been awarded. Nope. In Paul we finally had a winner.
Congrats Paul. See you soon.
Hope to see everyone soon.