Cooking Now, for Later: Chris’s Braised Brisket

“I hate figuring out what to make for dinner.”

It’s a common complaint amongst most people who breathe. Although the act of sitting down to dinner affords one the opportunity to feel relaxed and at ease, it’s all the mess of things that comes before the act of sitting and eating that really sends our blood pressure into the stratosphere.

Figuring out dinner is more than just choosing a recipe. It’s considering the appetites and taste buds of all those participating. It’s coming up with a menu. It’s composing a grocery list. It’s fighting the 5:00 traffic to the grocery store only to discover that they are out of parsley and the arugula looks wilty. It’s getting home and realizing you forgot something. It’s improvising. It’s timing everything so that food hits the table before whining and animosity fill the air. It’s a balancing act that requires foresight, grace, creativity, and patience. And after a long day at work, it can be considered the hardest part of the day.

Sure, thought is an ironclad necessity when it comes to making dinner, but there are ways to make the thought process a little bit easier. Our favorite? Stretching one ingredient through a slew of different meals.

Chris’s Braised Brisket is the ideal candidate. Throw it in the oven on Monday morning, eat it for dinner that night, and come Tuesday [and Thursday], you’ll have leftovers a plenty and minimal cook-time necessary to make something amazing.

Braised Brisket makes Great Tacos | Porter Road ButcherMondayMeat n’ Three: pulled brisket, mashed potatoes, and your favorite summer sides (we love simply sliced tomatoes with a dash of salt, or pan-roasted sweet corn).

Tuesday#TacoTuesday: simple, easy, and fun. Let the kids build their own masterpieces or throw together a pan of nachos and let everyone dig in.

ThursdayBrisket Sandwiches: drizzle some spicy-sweet barbecue sauce on top, and serve it with a side of vinegar-based co’ slaw. And a beer. Or whatever.

Conveniently braised brisket is an ideal recipe for those of us that are constantly on-the-go or work nine-to-five jobs; there’s tons of oven time (aka waiting time), which means the active investment you put into cooking is extremely low. The return on that investment however is huge. There’s a giant amount of meat to gain—as well as saved time later in the week—which means less planning, shopping, stressing, and hating devising a dinner plan.

Chris dubbed this recipe “a cheating version” for slow-cooking brisket because of how stupid-easy it truly is, but what’s wrong with cheating every now and again? Sometimes it feels good to be bad

Chris’s [easy] Braised Beef Brisket

Method recommended for 5+ lbs. of meat

Salt & pepper or PRB BBQ rub*
1 qt. PRB beef stock
1 bottle of BBQ sauce**

  1. Preheat oven, grill, or smoker to 250o
  2. Season brisket liberally with either salt and pepper or PRB BBQ rub. Massage seasoning into meat.
  3. Place seasoned brisket on a roasting rack on top of a sheet pan. Put sheet pan on center rack of oven to roast for 3 hours. If using grill or smoker, place seasoned brisket directly on grate and roast for 3 hours.
  4. Remove brisket from oven, grill, or smoker.
  5. Transfer brisket into a 9 x 13 casserole dish (like a Pyrex). Cover with equal parts selected BBQ sauce and beef stock. Cover pan with aluminum foil and return to oven, on center rack, for 3 more hours at 250o
  6. Remove brisket from oven and let rest at least 45 minutes in braising liquid.
  7. Once brisket is cool enough to handle, slice, shred, or prepare as desired. Use throughout the week to make a variety of easy, delicious meals!

*PRB’s BBQ seasoning will give the meat some sweetness and the sugars will become caramelized, creating a nice crispy crust when you roast the brisket in the oven. You could even ask our butchers to season and vacuum seal the brisket so as to lock in those flavors and adhere the rub to the meat. For something simpler, go with a liberal salt & pepper rub.

**Choosing the right BBQ sauce is simply a matter of taste. Chris likes a little added sweetness with beef, so he goes with the Bluegrass Blueberry BBQ sauce. For a smokier flavor, try the Single Barrel Sauce Co.’s Smokey Green Tomato BBQ Sauce, and for something traditional, stick to Outta The Park’s Original sauce.

Braised Brisket Tacos | Porter Road Butcher


Brisket Tacos | Porter Road Butcher

Bringing in More of the Good Stuff: Double N Urban Homestead

Tucked away in the East Nashville neighborhood of Inglewood, nestled behind what is likely either yours or your best friend’s backyard, and just a hop, skip, and jump away from hustle and bustle of Gallatin Avenue sits a small oasis known as Double N Urban Homestead.

Never did you think that the produce from your local CSA was quite so local as to have been grown in the backyard garden of your East Nashville neighbors, now did you? Because those CSA-farming type folks live in the country!

Never did you think that neither you nor the dingy soil in your 1-acre suburban backyard was good enough to support the likes of lettuce, cabbage, kale, radishes, carrots, beats, peas, beans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, melons, herbs, and pretty flowers…all at the same time. That’s just too much!

Sure, your green thumb aspirations might have gone as far as creating an herb garden or planting a tomato vine to crawl up your fence—we all become giddy over the prospect of eating something that we produced with our own two hands and patch of Earth—but a garden quite so large and extensive likely never crossed your mind as even a possibility.

Thank goodness for Double N.

We Love Taters. And Double N. - Porter Road ButcherTheir Urban Homestead sits on just an acre of land and roughly half is covered with produce galore. Nick and Nicole spent much of the winter getting things in order for the spring season and most importantly devoted much time to building what is now their lovely and petite greenhouse, which sits on the western side of the property. “We used the greenhouse to start about 1,500 plants, so we’re really excited to have that available,” said Nicole. “Previously we were starting our plants in the guest bedroom of our house and that got a little tricky…”

Nick and Nicole purchase all of their seeds from a local organic farmer and then do all the rest of the grunt work themselves. Although a few Peter Rabbits recently came by and devoured a handful of their cabbage plants, most of their plants are protected both by fences and by the homestead’s suburban surroundings, including watchful neighbors, plenty of car traffic, and a few tiny [but fierce] guard dogs.

Double N is also home base to Nicole’s apothecary project, including teas and tinctures, which help naturally cure whatever it is that ails you. Ranging from splitting headaches to obnoxious and over-active children, Nicole’s got a wide line of products that are said to naturally heal and help—but they’re not medicine. We’re not allowed to say that they’re medicine 🙂

On Thursdays from 4-7 Nick and Nicole crack open a beer (we love their style), gather their loot from the week, and then distribute it into pails for their weekly CSA pickup. But the good news is, now they’ve realized they have such a bountiful harvest…that they want to share it with us! Well really, they want to share it with YOU. Even better.

Beginning next week, Double N Urban Homestead will be selling their produce and apothecary goodies at PRB East! Which means you can get everything you need for a local and healthy meal in one fell swoop. You’re welcome.

Next Tuesday, May 26th (the day after Memorial Day) will be their first day of selling, and subsequently they’ll follow the schedule of the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. They’ll be out there just in time for you after-work folks, from 4 pm – 7 pm.

We’re thrilled to welcome them to our East Nashville store and are even more excited to have the opportunity to sell super-local and organic produce!

Nick & Nicole from Double N Urban Homestead | Porter Road Butcher

Double N Urban Farm - Porter Road Butcher

Braising for Spring: The Lay of the Lamb

“Nose-to-tail” is a trend that has been on the rise in restaurants over the past few years, glorifying and celebrating chefs who utilize animals in their entirety and strive to leave little to no waste in their wake. As whole animal butchers however, nose-to-tail isn’t just some new craze; it isn’t something that we find chic, or fashionable, or on-trend with the latest food phenomenon. No, at an old school butcher shop like ours, nose-to-tail is simply how we operate; it’s what we do.

Lamb Stew Meat - Porter Road ButcherNot only is it our job to utilize each and every animal in their entirety—by making sausages, pâtés, lard, tallow, and stock—but it’s also our job to educate our customers to do the same with their cooking. There are only so many ribeye steaks in a cow or chops in a lamb, so what happens when we run out of those familiar celebrity meats? Well, we offer alternative cuts; we suggest a new method of preparation; and then we educate, explain, and give recipe suggestions. Generally when it’s all said and done we do utilize that whole entire animal in one way or another, but it is you the customer that helps us do that.

Even though spring seems to have officially sprung here in Nashville, and we are no longer fighting to #BraiseTheStorm as we were just two weeks ago, this upturn in the weather doesn’t mean we ought to completely eradicate that style of cooking: braising, that is. It’s too good! What seems like more of a cold-weather technique due to the thick, rich, and often times “heavy” dishes that braising can produce, this cooking technique in and of itself doesn’t necessitate coma-inducing meals.

Braising does, however, necessitate tougher cuts of meat, which more often than not are those that remain in the case during the warmer, grill-heavy seasons. Of course, these undercover meats most certainly aren’t inferior to or any lesser than the aforementioned celebrity meats, which are the first to sell; they’re simply unfamiliar, and therefore go un-asked for.

But did you know that tougher meat—meat that comes from well-developed and well-used muscles—is more flavorful than the rest? You see, as muscles work they build muscle fiber, become stronger and bigger, and additionally build connective tissue and collagen. So when you allow them to cook at a low temperature for a long period of time, these fibers, tissues, and collagens have the chance to break down and become tender, juicy, and gelatinous. That’s what gives braised dishes that rich, smooth, smacky and delicious mouth feel that we all love.

Even though braising meat is often associated with cold weather stick-to-your-ribs type of meals, it doesn’t have to be. Even at this time of year, there are still plenty of incredibly flavorful, and soon-to-be incredibly tender cuts of meat both to sell and eat.

So what do you do when it’s one week before Easter and you discover that we’ve already sold out of all the celebrity cuts of lamb by the time you think about placing your order? You smile at yourself and laugh. Because you know that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; you know that sometimes it tastes better to pick a working, supporting role. You may not feel fabulous because you picked a famous, paparazzi-crazed cut of meat, but you will feel smart, chic, and incredibly on trend with the latest and greatest nose-to-tail phenomenon.

Springtime Braised Lamb | Great for Easter! | Porter Road ButcherBraised Spring Lamb
Serves: 4

Active time: 45 mins.
Total time: 5 hrs.

1.5 lbs. lamb stew meat, 1” cubes
Freshly cracked salt & pepper
1 large onion, cut in quarters
1 bulb fennel, cut in quarters
1 bulb of garlic, cut in half
1 c. dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
¼ c. white wine vinegar
4 c. lamb stock (1 qt)
6 bay leaves
½ c. Mascarpone cheess
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ c. fresh tarragon, chopped
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
1 lb. pasta, like pappardelle
Optional: Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Remove lamb from fridge and bring lamb to room temperature. Season all sides liberally with freshly ground salt and pepper. For a thicker sauce, dredge lamb pieces in flour after seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Melt bacon fat or lard (or grape seed oil) in pot, and once glistening add lamb. Brown on all sides until a golden or auburn brown crust appears (enacting the Maillard Reaction), then remove lamb from heat and set aside. Reserve drippings in pan.
  4. Add onion, fennel, and garlic to pot and cook until edges begin to crisp or turn golden. Deglaze pan with white wine and vinegar, and using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all those delicious brown bits, aka “the fond.”
  5. Return meat to pot with vegetables and wine, and add lamb stock and bay leaves. If you are using a Crockpot, at this point add all aforementioned ingredients to the Crockpot instead.
  6. Cover Dutch oven with a lid and put in the oven for 4-5 hours, depending on how hot or cold your oven runs. When you test the meat for doneness, it should be tender and shred easily, but still have somewhat of a chewy texture.
  7. Remove lamb from pot and set aside. Using a colander or mesh strainer, strain the leftover sauce into a large bowl, removing any vegetables and herbs that remain. Return sauce to pot. Over medium-high heat, allow the sauce to reduce by half.
  8. Meanwhile, fill a large stockpot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  9. Once the sauce has reduced, stir in mascarpone cheese and lemon. Add meat and bring it back up to temperature.
  10. Once meat is thoroughly heated, add peas and tarragon and heat for an additional 1-2 more minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  11. Serve over pasta. Optional: garnish with Parmesan, freshly chopped tarragon, or a squeeze of lemon.

Braised Springtime Lamb | Porter Road Butcher

Still want to learn more about braising? Have no clue what we mean by The Maillard Reaction? Eager to tweak a recipe you’d like to improve? Check out our guide:How_To_Braise

Peas and pasta not your thing? Perhaps you’re more of a parmesan cheese and polenta kind of person… Check out our Easter recipe from last year: Braised Lamb Neck Ragu. –>

Chris’s Andouille Pasta

Everyone understands the value of an easy and delicious dinner. But between crazy busy schedules, hatred of the grocery store gauntlet, or or pure, unavoidable exhaustion following a busy day at work, we hard-working humans neither want to take the time to prepare an extensive meal, nor deprive ourselves with some lame, frozen, plastic-tray dinner. It’s a catch Porter Road Butcher Recipe for Andouille Pasta Sauce22. Often times “easy” means heating up leftovers for the third night in a row or sautéing a couple chicken tenders and throwing it on a bed of lettuce, but simple doesn’t have to be so cut-and-dry…and tasteless.

Chris’s Andouille Pasta is a delicious, easy, and hearty dish that, aside from our smokey andouille (which will require a trip to your favorite neighborhood butcher shop), calls for ingredients most people already have on-hand: things like onion, garlic, peppers, and pasta. But hey, stopping in to see the faces of us PRB folks is a lot more enjoyable than heading to your grocery superstore anyway, right? This dish requires about 15 minutes of prep time, 15 minutes of active cook time, and then another 15-20 of simmer-time, meaning you can go ahead, open up a bottle of wine and allow yourself to simmer while your pasta sauce does the same.

Make this dinner fancy enough for a Friday night dinner party with Lazzaroli’s handmade pappardelle pasta, or keep things effortless by using whatever pasta you’ve got in your pantry. Either way, you’re gonna be full and happy when it’s all said and done.

Chris’s Andouille Pasta

Serves: 4-6
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50-60 minutes

1 lb. PRB andouille sausage
1 medium onion, diced medium
1/2 red bell pepper, diced medium
1/2 green bell pepper, diced medium
3 stalks celery, diced medium
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
14.5 oz. can roasted tomatoes
1 pint Hatcher’s cream
1 lb. pappardelle pasta (we like Lazzaroli’s in Germantown), or whatever shape you prefer
Grana Padano cheese from The Bloomy Rind, for garnish
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish.

  1. Slice andouille into 1/2 inch coins, add to heavy-bottomed skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove from skillet and set aside, leaving drippings in pan.
  2. In same skillet, sauté onions in andouille drippings for 3 minutes over medium-high heat until almost translucent. Add peppers and celery and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, or until color of peppers has brightened.
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add can of tomatoes, undrained and stir to incorporate, then add andouille back to the pan. Allow the mixture to cook for one minute, giving the flavors time to get to know one another and marry.
  5. Add cream, reduce heat to med-low, and allow to reduce until saucyyyyy. Note: this will look like a lot of cream, but never fear; your sauce did not just turn into a soup. It will reduce–just give ‘er time.
  6. While sauce reduces, cook pasta until al dente according to directions on the package. Also, begin to drink wine.
  7. Garnish pasta with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Andouille Pasta Recipe from PRB - Photo by Hannah Messinger

Photos by Hannah Messinger