Thursday, September 17, 2015

Field Food: Farmer's Favorite BBQ Beef Hoagie

It happened.  Harvest began.  I dreaded it… and, at the same time, I’m more excited than ever as I get to watch it through my daughter’s eyes, this year. 


Apparently, Monday was National Eat a Hoagie Day.  According to the radio station I was listening to on my way home (completely credible source, I’m sure), there were industrial workers on Hog Island in Italy. They worked long days and packed huge sandwiches for lunch, aka: the hoggie… or over time: the hoagie.  How appropriate for the BBQ hoagie-style lunch I made my hoggie hubby on Monday.  (I packed him the equivalent of half a roast and a loaf of French bread.  No surprise for those of you that know him.)

Really, this is his favorite.  I love it, too, because it’s easy, makes the house smell delicious, and tastes great.  Plus, I’m always looking for a way to use up my roasts other than with carrots and potatoes, again.


I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but really, it goes quick, like all crockpot meals. 
Aren’t they pretty all in a bowl before mixing?  Sorry, I'll get on with it.


I like to use a whisk to mix everything well.

Daddy's farm raised beef.

I can also usually fit two roasts in my crockpot, so I double the recipe. 


Pour your sauce over the roasts.  Cook on low for approximately 8 hours. 

The first time I made this, I cooked it on high for 4 hours.  The flavor is still very good, but you get more of a sliced beef instead of shredded.  The low heat is definitely better if you have the time, but high is acceptable in a pinch.

About halfway through, I try to CAREFULLY use tongs to rotate the meat top and bottom.  (I feel like this keeps all of the meat more moist, but I really don’t know if this even matters.)  I say carefully because, the sloppy cook I am, ev-ery-time I splash boiling BBQ sauce all over myself.  Not fun.  Apron advised.

Pull out roasts and shred. 



I like to fix this for my guys by making a refrigerator French bread loaf.  It comes out hot and crisp – hence the hoagie part.  I slice it half way so the bottom stays together and is easier for them to eat as they drive.
 


Load up with meat and cover with bbq sauce from the crockpot. 


I prefer to use provolone cheese, but Colby is what I had on Monday.  If you split one piece of cheese in half, it fits perfectly.  Then, I microwave it just until the cheese melts, but not too long or you risk soggy bread and cheese that will stick to your foil.  I’m sure fancier folks might stick it back in the oven to melt.  UPDATE: My farmer says the cheese does indeed stick to the foil, so he suggests sticking the cheese on the bottom or middle.

Wrap that dude in some aluminum foil and you have a MEAL to fill big stomachs. 

That's my farmer enjoying his fav sandwich.  Smart enough to exert intense enthusiasm for my cooking and annoying blog photography: he's a keeper.  (P.S. Wasn't kidding about the plastic bag lunchbox.  Good thing it's fair week so I can stock up on ok-for-the-field drinking cups, too.)
Seriously, I took my farmer two hoagies on Monday because I wasn’t sure with the toddler and newborn if I’d make it back out to the field that night.  Fortunately for him, he is indeed related to the camel and can fill his stomach once a day in this manner for survival in harsh harvest field conditions.

If you need a couple or twenty minutes to pour ice tea and gather your whining children, they’ll stay hot in microwave while you load up (the sandwiches, not the children...and microwave turned OFF).

When I don’t have the French bread on hand, I toast bread, and make it the same way.  This summer when we worked sweet corn, toasting that many sandwiches in the toaster wasn’t going to work, so we tried making them grilled cheese style.

Butter bread.  Grill both pieces and low to medium heat.  Put meat and sauce on one slice, and cheese on the other.  Put together when cheese is melted and bread toasted.  This method works okay if you go light on the sauce, and much better if eaten right away, of course. 

I think it’s the best fresh, but definitely freezable.  Shred your meat and place in a labeled freezer bag.  I like to put the sauce in a container in the fridge overnight so that I can dip the fat off the next day before freezing.  Or if you're a rock star like my mom, you can trim all of the fat before putting it in the crockpot, but rock star I am not.  When I didn’t dip the fat off before freezing, I thought the fat made the sauce a little twangy, but the hubs thought it was fine (naturally).  If you don’t want to save the sauce, of course you can always use any generic BBQ sauce when you thaw.
Enjoying our BBQ Beef with family and friends when we put up sweet corn this summer.
You can find the original recipe at Taste of Home.

Here are the ingredients I use, in their entirety:

- 1 beef roast
- 1.5 c. ketchup
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp vinegar (I like rice vinegar)
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional, I omit)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Crockpot for 8 hours on low.
- French bread or toast
- Slice of Cheese

Happy eating!

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