August 23, 2011

Smoked Brisket and Spanish Mencia

I have probably mentioned before that my dear husband is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. Actually, make that minus the potatoes. He loves meat. And lucky for me, he also likes to experiment with preparing meats in all kinds of different ways. Be it that he makes his own deer jerky (not that I would ever eat Bambi... but I hear it's rather tasty...), to his latest passion of smoking all kinds of meats and fish. Smoking, as in curing meats by exposure to smoke that is...

So the other day, he smoked a beef brisket. At first he treated it with his secret spice rub, and then smoked it for about six hours over charcoal and wood chips. Low and slow is key here, he told me conspiratorially. Whatever... as long as it tastes good in the end. And that it did! It was delicious, and we ate it with barbecue sauce and potato salad to make it a complete meal. I would be amiss if I did not point out the lovely pink smoke ring around the slices of brisket in the picture. Please make sure to take note of it... (There, I said it...)

The way I make my potato salad is basically a classic recipe. Sometimes I make changes such as chopping up some pickles instead of using prepared relish or using red or yellow onions instead of scallions. Often I also substitute red bell pepper for the celery. It has the same fresh crunch, but I prefer the flavor and it adds a nice bright color.

I decided to pair this meal with the 2006 Flavium Mencia Crianza produced by Vinos de Arganza from the Bierzo region in Spain. Mencia is a lesser known red grape variety that produces a light, yet very fragrant and aromatic wine. I got some floral notes and blackberry on the nose and the flavor is remarkably well-balanced and smooth. Together with the food, it impressed even more. It had a nice interplay with the spices on the beef brisket. What a great find, and for a very fair price.

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