Sunday, February 8, 2015

Brisket, Egg, and Pepper Jack Cheese Grits

Lately my job has had me on the road back and forth to Nashville for work groups and meeting with folks from the State. Nothing like driving 3 hours each way for a 2 hour meeting, right?

One of the places where I like to stop to eat on those trips is The Timberloft Restaurant just off of Interstate 40 near Carthage/Gordonsville (Exit 258).  The wood pile is what got me to stop the first time. The staff and food brought me back.

The cooker and wood pile out in front of The Timberloft. It's a great rig, about 4 times as long as my BBQ trailer.

Since that first time I have probably eaten here a couple dozen times over the past 10 years.  I have had the chance to talk with pitmaster and owner, Chef Kevin, a handful of times.  His wood of choice is hickory and his pork BBQ is Memphis style.  His brisket on the other hand is more Texas influenced - simply seasoned with a salt, pepper, and garlic based rub.  

Of course they also have other stuff than BBQ, including their perfectly grilled steaks, fantastic sandwiches, burgers, and their sides are top notch.  Their sidewinder fries are some of the best fries I've had.  They are thick spiral wedges that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and heavily seasoned. They also batter dip corn on the cob and deep fry it - ridiculously good. And desserts?  They have a le Cordon Bleu trained pastry chef turning out some tantalizing desserts. 

So I go into all of that because I stopped by there on the way home to Knoxville this week.  I ordered the brisket plate and they gave me what BBQ hounds call "moist" slices, the best part where the brisket point and flat overlap.  It tasted as good as mine at home, Chef Kevin nailed it.  I took a few slices to go with me and this is what I made up with it.  

Since "Brisket, Egg, and Pepper Jack Cheese Grits" is too long to say, we're just going to call this "The Timberloft" around the house from now on...and we will be making this often.

Brisket, Egg, and Pepper Jack Cheese Grits 
Makes 2 servings - two BIG servings

  • 4 ounces smoked beef brisket
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup fine diced tomato
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon BBQ rub or seasoned salt
For The Pepper Jack Cheese Grits
  • 1/2 cup stone ground grits
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons dried red bell pepper, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Prepare the stone ground grits according to package directions.  During the last 20 minutes, stir in the dried red bell pepper. Then in the last 10 minutes, add the butter, black pepper, and all but two big pinches of the cheese. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary.
  2. Reheat the brisket in the beef stock in a small pan over medium low heat.
  3. Preheat a skillet and add the butter.  Fry the eggs the way you like them and season with the BBQ rub or seasoned salt.
  4. Split the grits between two bowls.  Place the brisket on top of the grits and top each bowl with a fried egg.  Top both with the remaining cheese, diced tomato, and green onion.  
  5. Serve with a green chile hot sauce on the side.  
Gratuitous dried red pepper shot. I dehydrate batches of these any time they go on sale. The last a long time and rehydrate in dishes like this with more concentrated flavor than the fresh peppers. You can also buy bags of them online but I have saved the price of my dehydrator by doing them myself.

If you are ever traveling across Tennessee on I-40, stop in with Chef Kevin and his crew, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

[Standard FTC Disclaimer] I received no compensation for this post and pay full price for my meals at The Timberloft.  Just a place where I like to eat and that has great staff.