How to Make the Best BBQ Brisket

Just in time for summer entertaining – my favorite tips on how to make the best BBQ brisket!

Just in time for summer entertaining - my favorite tips on how to make the best BBQ brisket!

If you’re like me – and a large percentage of the rest of the country – chances are you’re planning a holiday feast of some sort over Memorial weekend. Barbecue is my personal favorite, especially when it’s slow cooked and falling apart tender.

What I love about making brisket is that I can make it early in the day, and then have it ready to go for entertaining later on. Quite honestly, I love brisket warm, room temperature, or cold. I’ll eat it anyway I can get it…but shredded and piled high on a bun and covered generously with KC Masterpiece® barbecue sauce is my absolute favorite.

KC Masterpiece® is celebrating their 35th anniversary with the release of their limited edition blend, KC Masterpiece Kansas City Classic barbecue sauce. KC Masterpiece was originally created by Dr. Rich Davis in Kansas City in 1978. As a midwesterner and a Kansas native, it’s fun for me to talk about a product that has its roots so close to home. I love how rich and thick their sauces are – they’re great for broiling, baking, and grilling!

Just in time for summer entertaining - my favorite tips on how to make the best BBQ brisket!

Making a great BBQ brisket is easy – you just need to plan ahead to (1) allow for marinating time; and (2) allow for a long cooking time. Cooking for a long time (about 8 hours) on a low temperature, is the trick to getting tender, juicy brisket.

My mom makes the best BBQ brisket, and I finally wrangled her “recipe” to share with you here. Although truth be told, it’s more of a technique than a recipe, since I didn’t measure a darn thing. 😉

Just in time for summer entertaining - my favorite tips on how to make the best BBQ brisket!

I’ve always been a little intimidated to try making brisket myself, but this was so good, and so easy! Trust me, you’ll want to give this recipe a try!

How to Make the Best BBQ Brisket
 
Ingredients
  • 1 beef brisket, trimmed of all fat (about 6 pounds)
  • liquid smoke
  • celery salt
  • garlic salt
  • onion salt
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bottle KC Masterpiece Classic BBQ Sauce
Method
  1. Lay out a large piece of heavy foil (big enough to cover the entire brisket) and place the brisket in the middle. Generously cover the top and the bottom of the brisket with liquid smoke - I used about half a bottle on mine.
  2. Next, sprinkle the celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt, salt and pepper on both sides of the brisket. Again, be generous. I did not measure my spices - I just sprinkled them on evenly until the brisket was well covered. Wrap up tightly with foil and place on a jelly roll pie or large baking dish. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator and cover well with KC Masterpiece Classic BBQ Sauce - I used the whole darn bottle!
  4. Wrap back up and bake for 8 hours at 250 degrees. Check tenderness when brisket has been cooking several hours: stick in two forks and pull in opposite directions - the meat should come apart easily.

KC Masterpiece® barbecue sauce has been delivering authentic barbecue taste and creating culinary masterpieces for 35 years. For more recipe ideas, tips and tricks visit www.KCMasterpiece.com.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KC Masterpiece®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.  

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

I don’t know about you, but thinking up side dishes is one of my least favorite things ever.

Another one of my least favorite things?  Being in the kitchen preparing food while everyone else is visiting around the grill, drinking ice-beverages on the patio, and watching the kids play on the slip and slide.

So yeah, pasta salads are one of my favorite, easy, make-ahead dishes for summer entertaining.  I can throw it together in the morning {which gives the flavors time to meld anyway}, hand the meat and the bread to the Tall Boy for grilling, and my work is done. 😉

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

What I love even more about pasta salads is that you can load ’em up with whatever veggies float your boat.  Since I went with a sort of Tex-Mex theme with this version, I used loads of bell peppers, corn, red onion, and cilantro.  I realized after I shot this that I forgot to add in the black beans, and I totally recommend that you do that.

Along with some sour cream, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and spices, I added in some Lowry’s Baja Chipotle Marinade to make a quick and easy dressing {NOT sponsored, I just really like using their quick marinades}.  You can find Lowry’s in your grocery store next to the salad dressings.

#sogood

I crumbled some Queso Fresco {Mexican crumbling cheese, found in the refrigerator case–I get mine at Wal-Mart} on top just before serving, but cubed cheddar would work just fine here, too.

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

Since grilling season is just around the corner, I’m looking for new side dish recipes to try.  What are your favorites?

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces small pasta
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup Baja Chipotle Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used half green pepper and half red pepper)
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • optional: queso fresco cheese, for topping
Method
  1. Boil pasta until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, combine the sour cream, Greek yogurt, marinade, lime juice and spices in small bowl.
  2. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Place pasta in a large bowl and add the bell pepper, corn, black beans, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Add the sour cream/yogurt mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Keep covered in the refrigerated until serving. Just before serving, top with crumbled cheese.

XO, Ashley

 

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Cherry Cordial Cookies

Usually I’m not a fan of fruit in my cookies.

It seems kind of weird to me. If I’m going to eat a dessert, I want it to be filled with chocolate, or peanut butter, or Biscoff, or some other high calorie ingredient. 🙂

So I stuffed these with Hershey’s Cherry Cordial Kisses.  It was maybe one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

These cookies baked up soft and pillowy, with just a hint of chocolaty sweetness from the surprise kiss inside.

The Tall Boy loved these cookies–which if you know him at all, says a lot, since he doesn’t typically have any interest in sweets.

{He’s weird.}

In fact, we loved them so much that we polished them off pretty quickly…and while I technically made these for a Christmas post, I’m seriously thinking of making them again next week for Thanksgiving.  🙂

They were that good.

As in really, really good.

Cherry Cordial Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained and patted dry
  • 36 Cherry Cordial Kisses
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and almond extract. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in the rest by hand, if necessary, as well as the cherries.
  3. Divide the dough into 36 equal portions. To achieve this, I rolled out my dough into a rectangle, and cut into 6 equal rows and then cut each row into 6 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a ball around a Kiss. I chilled my dough for approximately 30 minutes prior to baking.
  5. Place balls 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
Notes
from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies Special Edition, 2012

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies
{Week Four}: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
{Week Five}: Homemade Gumdrops
{Week Six}: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peppermint Bark
{Week Seven}: Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!

 

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate

Let me tell you about Kansas weather.

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate - better than any drink you can get at Starbucks, and cheaper, too!   #recipes #beverages

Last Saturday, it was nearly 80 degrees and I was out running errands in capri pants and flip-flops.

Sunday we had out our winter coats, gloves, and scarves.

A nearly 50 degree temperature change in less than 24 hours.

And along with the cold weather?  A cough and congestion for Doodle–who subsequently informed me that, “Grammie made me hot chocolate and it made my cough go away for awhile.”

So guess what I’ve been making the last few evenings?

I’m a huge hot chocolate fan, and it is sooooo easy to make these fun, special drinks at home–and they are so much cheaper than the $4+ drinks at Starbucks.

And quite honestly, this tastes even better.

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate - better than any drink you can get at Starbucks, and cheaper, too!   #recipes #beverages

Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate
 
serves 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%, but half-and-half would be awesome if you're not worried about calories)
  • ⅓ cup powdered malted milk (like Ovaltine or Carnation)
  • 1 tablespoon Andes peppermint chips
  • 1 generous palmful peppermint marshmallows
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • whipped cream, if desired
Method
  1. Combine milk, Ovaltine and peppermint chips in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until peppermint chips are melted. Add in marshmallows and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract. Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream and additional peppermint chips, if desired.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for stopping by!

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites

I am a huge vanilla fan.  HUGE.

Given the choice between chocolate cake and vanilla cake, I’m going to choose vanilla every.single.time.

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites - a hunk of nougat with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to balance everything out.  #candy #vanilla #recipe

Vanilla ice cream is typically thought to be boring, but it’s my ultimate favorite.  I actually get giddy seeing those little flecks of vanilla peeking out in my ice cream.  Or pretty much any other dessert.

If there’s “vanilla” in the title, I’m going to eat it.  Hands-down, first choice, every time.

So when I was afforded the opportunity to review Shauna Sever’s new book “Pure Vanilla,” I was all over it.

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites - a hunk of nougat with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to balance everything out.  #candy #vanilla #recipe

Shauna’s book is filled with recipes like vanilla, brown sugar and black pepper bacon (totally making this for Christmas morning breakfast), vanilla cream pie (heaven!) and salted vanilla chip oatmeal cookies.  And I want to try them all.

Not only are the recipes amazing, but the book itself is gorgeous.  It’s filled with a history of all things vanilla, and mouth-watering pictures in a beautiful hardcover book that looks amazing sitting on my kitchen pantry bookshelf.  You need it on yours, too.

Just sayin’.

Because then you can make stuff like these vanilla nougat candy bar bites.

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites - a hunk of nougat with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to balance everything out.  #candy #vanilla #recipe

Okay, so these do take a candy thermometer, and I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a pro when it comes to candy-making.

So if I can get these to turn out, anyone can.  And they taste fabulous.  Like the very inside of a candy bar, with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to even everything out.

Oooh, what about using white chocolate for the drizzle, colored red and/or green for the holidays?  You could totally impress your friends and family with this.

Or…just keep it stashed in a special hiding place in your kitchen to sneak bites of when no one else is looking.  Not that I would know a thing about that.  😉

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bars
 
from Pure Vanilla, by Shauna Sever
Ingredients
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • ¼ cup finely chopped salted nuts (I used peanuts)
Method
  1. Lightly coat a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper as well.
  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together sugar, ½ cup water, corn syrup, and salt. Boil over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 238 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg whites with the whisk attachment until they hold soft peaks (about 2 minutes). With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour half of the hot syrup into the egg whites, adding just 1 to 2 tablespoons to start. This allows the eggs to warm up and prevents them from scrambling. Immediately return the saucepan with the remaining syrup to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Continue beating egg white mixture until thick (about the consistency of marshmallow cream), then turn off the mixer.
  4. When the syrup mixture reaches 275, turn mixer back on at medium speed and slowly pour in syrup. Add in vanilla extract and paste. Increase speed to high and beat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until mixture is very thick and beginning to lose its shine. The bowl should be cool except for the very bottom. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and spread it into the corners, using lightly oiled hands. Let set at room temperature until cool, about 2 hours.
  5. Invert candy onto a cutting surface and remove parchment. Cut into 1-inch squares and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle melted chocolate over the tops of the candies; sprinkle with nuts.

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies
{Week Four}: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
{Week Five}: Homemade Gumdrops
{Week Six}: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peppermint Bark

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!

 

**  I was provided a copy of Shauna’s book to facilitate my review; however, all opinions are my own.


Homemade Gumdrops

So.  Did you guys know you could make your own gumdrops?

Well, you totally can.

Maybe this isn’t news to you, but it sure was to me.

Gumdrops are one of my all-time favorite holiday candies.  When I found out that I could make them myself–and that they are super easy to do–I just might have done a little happy dance.

Doodle did, too, and has been asking me for “those gumdrops” nonstop over the last few days.

What can I say, he takes after his mama.

These fun little holiday candies take less than 10 minutes to mix up, though do require some chilling time before cutting.  You could definitely jazz them up even more by using small cookie cutters to cut them out into fun holiday shapes.

Since I had a very impatient 5-year old “assisting” me with these, I simply used a pizza cutter to slice my gumdrops into squares/rectangles/rhombii.  Maybe not quite so pretty, but it got the job done.  🙂  And Doodle had a lot of fun rolling these in sugar.  We just won’t talk about how much sugar was on the kitchen floor when we finished.

Homemade Gumdrops
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1⅓ cups applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 small (3-ounce boxes) Jello, any flavor
  • 2 envelopes unsweetened gelatin
Method
  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Allow ingredients to stand for 1 minute, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly an allow mixture to boil for 1 minute.
  3. Immediately pour mixture into your prepared pan and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
  4. To shape your candies, loosen the sides of the mixture from the pan with a spatula, and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut out gumdrops with a cookie cutter, pizza cutter or knife. If the candy sticks to your knife, trying running it under hot water first.
  5. Roll candies in extra sugar and place on wax paper until slightly dry. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
recipe from Taste of Home

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies
{Week Four}: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

 

Have a great Thursday, and be sure to check out the other yummy treats below!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!


Fourth of July Fun

I typically don’t do a lot for the Fourth of July, since my son’s birthday is just a few days later and I usually spend the holiday time frantically preparing getting everything ready for his party.

But when I saw this great idea from Family Fun and realized I already had all the ingredients, I determined I had a few extra minutes to fit these in:

And since we had to eat breakfast anyway, I decided to make these strawberry and blueberry star scones:

And, simply using red and blue food coloring, these fun pancakes:

Also, since two boy scouts live on our cul-de-sac and we buy popcorn by the ton, I made this to take to my in-laws house:

Click here for recipe from Our Best Bites

Have a wonderful holiday!  And, to all of the service men and women out there, thank you for keeping this country the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Red, White and Blue Scones (click to print)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Bisquick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • white chocolate chips

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Mix Bisquick, sugar, fruit and lemon zest.  Set aside.
  2. Whisk mild and egg together in a separate bowl.  Using a fork, mix into the dry mixture gently.  Press onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  4. Let cool slightly, then drizzle with melted white chocolate chips