Today my brother Scott leaves to do missionary work in Australia for two years. We won't visit each other during that time, and we'll only talk to him on the phone on Mother's Day and Christmas. It's a darn sight different from having him be a text message away. With Wendy getting engaged and married in the spring, a new baby's arrival, and now Scott leaving, it seems like everything is different all at once in my family.
I'm happy to provide one constant: having everyone over to my house for family dinners. For Scott's send-off, I ordered a barbecue beef brisket from Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano, TX. Once Scott arrives in Sydney, Australia, I'm pretty sure Llano, TX and tasty Texas barbecue will seem like they are a world away.
Cooper's site says "Our barbecue brisket is cooked cowboy style: Directly over simmering mesquite coals for over 5 hours." The brisket was shipped shrink-wrapped with a bottle of bbq sauce, and when I cut open the packaging, a tantalizing aroma of smoky red meat wonderfulness escaped. The brisket's exterior was black with crusted pepper, and I was self-appointed to slice the meat for serving. That's one of the best jobs in the world. The meat juices and pepper coat your fingers, and you simply Must lick it off, and eat scraps as you carve. Cooper's barbecue sauce isn't your expected thick, sugary, ketchup-like sauce. It's closer to what I think of as Southeastern US barbecue sauce: vinegar-based, very thin, and not too sweet.
Scott isn't necessarily one I would term an adventurous eater. He's downright picky about a lot of vegetables, doesn't like mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and won't even try a lot of ethnic foods. But he will try some over the top meat and dessert concoctions with me, like fluffernutters, his S'morito creation, or my Bacon Ice Cream. I seriously thought of making something akin to this double coronary burger for him. It's a burger topped with bacon, cheese, fried eggs, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion between two grilled cheese sandwiches. I'll save that for when he returns - don't want to kill him before he leaves. This meat and potatoes brisket menu was the perfect thing for him.
Scott's Christmas present to me was a card saying he would take me out for "no less than five dinners." The kid knows that I think food is more fun than most gifts, but I think this was more designed to be hang out with Scott quality time.
So we went to Raising Cane's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cancun, West Crust Pizza, and Chili Dog Cafe. I highly recommend anything at the Chili Dog Cafe with their chili on it, including the Frito Pie Burger. Shut up, it's winter, and it's cold outside, and I don't feel bad about it.
I'm anxious to hear what fun foods Scott finds down under in Australia. The only iconic Australian food I can think of is Vegemite, but from everything I've read, Australia is a melting pot much like the United States, and so I'm sure he'll find a little bit of everything, including some racist KFC?