Wednesday, February 21, 2018

FROM THE DINER: COMANCHE BARBECUED BEEF HEART

      As I'm writing this tonight, it is snowing outside. Thus thoughts turn to some nice, warming, and hearty BARBECUE. Here's a recipe for one that is really different, and not too difficult to make---especially standing by a nice warm girl (oops, I mean 'grill': OK, both would be ideal😊).


     The following recipe is about as all-American as it gets. Despite its American Indian name, it was actually invented by Walter Jetton, the head ranch-cook at former President Johnson's LBJ Ranch. 

       Simply take one whole beef-heart and boil in water until cooked tender. Let cool, then split about 3/4 vertically. Remove any veins and arteries. Now stuff the heart with any good commercial poultry stuffing. Skewer it closed as you would stuffed poultry. Drop it on the grill over a low flame for about 1 hr. Turn it occasionally and brush with your favorite beef grilling sauce to keep it moist and tender. 

        Jetton himself had a special basting sauce for all barbecued beef. The problem is that he made this by the gallon, but if it sounds good, it will keep for a longtime in the refrigerator. It's also said that Jetton never used a different basting-brush; he is supposed to have said that the meat tasted better the longer the same brush was used. 

        That may be an urban legend; but we are talking about a ranch-cook here. They play by their own sets of rules. Here is Jetton's basting-sauce:

        Prepare 4 qts. of beef-bone stock. To this, stir in 3 tbsps. salt; 3 tbsps. mustard powder; 2 tbsps. garlic powder; 1 tbsp. ground Bay Leaf; 2 tbsps. chili powder; 3 tbsps. paprika; 2 tbsps. of Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce; 2 pints of Worcestershire Sauce; 1 pint of white vinegar; 1 pint of olive oil; and 3 tbsps. of Monosodium Glutamate. Let stand overnight---makes 1 1/2 gallon. 

         You'll notice that this sauce has no sweeteners or tomatoes like most commercial BBQ sauces. And actually this is its secret: it blends with the flavors of cooking meat instead of covering it. You can, of course, cut Jetton's recipe down to a more manageable size. But then again, once you find how much better it works a gallon or two might be used up quickly. 

          Actually, for a serving sauce, I actually find steak sauces much better with this particular dish. A-1 or Heinz 57 brands are particularly good. Beef Heart actually tastes more like a richer version of beef-steak. You can serve it with potatoes; but the stuffing makes a good compliment by itself. At any rate, once you try this one you'll find yourself shopping for heart more than usual afterwards. 

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