I wish someone would slow roast me in an oven for 4 hours, maybe then the warmth might seep through to my bones and stay there long enough for me to not have to wear my pair of thickly knitted Christmas socks to bed at night. Red Christmas socks with Santa's face on them are not particularly seductive, especially when paired with leggings and numerous other woollens. It's hard to be seductive in June through August, you have to think of other ways that don't have anything to do with lace or satin, try pulled beef tacos. Works every time.
You see, the days have darkened around here. Rows and rows of black stockings have appeared on the washing line and blankets are being piled on top of sheets. Rosé has been replaced with pinot noir and beef isn't barbecued anymore but is roasted, slowly slowly, in a sweet and sticky sauce until you can gently shred and pull it apart with two forks, ready to be wrapped in soft tortillas with a squeeze of lime. This kind of food takes some time, but it's ok because Sydney is notoriously shit at keeping it interesting in the rain and the cold. Summers are snoozed away on sandy shores but winters give you time to slow roast, set fires and watch two seasons of The Sopranos without feeling guilty that you should be out picking berries or surfing or barbecuing something.
Pulled pork has gone through a little re-awakening lately, and it IS delicious, worthy of its own post in fact. But there was something about this beef that I fell in love with, the chuck steak was fattier than pork neck, so the meat was softer, richer and pulled apart easier. I think beef also matches well with a dark, sweet sticky sauce, pork is better matched with braised apples and a bit of sourness. Next time you have half a day and a few people willing to supply tequila and a piñata, seduce them with this. You're welcome!
Pulled Beef Tacos with Homemade BBQ Sauce:
adapted slightly from a recipe by Emma Knowles via Gourmet Traveller
1½ onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
250 ml whiskey
165 gm (½ cup) golden syrup
125 ml (½ cup) each tomato sauce, lemon juice and cider vinegar
80 ml (1/3 cup) Worcestershire sauce
30 ml vegetable oil2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
800 gm canned chopped tomatoes
2.5 kg beef chuck
20 soft corn tortillas
To serve: butter lettuce leaves, coriander sprigs, grated cheese and lime wedges
For barbecue sauce, process onion, garlic and chilli in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion mixture, sauté until tender (6-8 minutes). Add bourbon, simmer for 5 minutes, add remaining ingredients. Simmer until thick (15-20 minutes), season to taste, cool. Makes about 550ml. Barbecue sauce will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion and garlic, sauté over medium heat until tender (4-5 minutes). Add can of tomatoes and barbecue sauce, simmer for 10 minutes. Add beef, bring to the simmer, cover, reduce heat to low, cook on the stovetop until the meat falls apart when you stick a fork into it (3½-4 hours). Remove the beef from the sauce using a slotted spoon and, when cool enough to handle, coarsely shred (discard sinew) using two forks and set aside. Continue cooking sauce, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thick (30-40 minutes), drizzle a little over beef, keep warm. Serve with warmed tortillas, butter lettuce, grated cheese and lime wedges.
(The original recipe also includes a corn and green chilli relish which was lovely. Recipe is here.)