Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beefy Beast From I-24 East

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 8:46 AM

click to enlarge Barton Creek's business card
  • Barton Creek's business card

A massive slab of beef brisket bought at West Nashville Farmers Market has finally made it to the table.

The brisket, from Barton Creek Farms in Rock Island, weighed in at nearly 7 pounds and was 3 feet long. To fit it into the vacuum package, proprietor Dan Roller had folded it in half. It took three days to thaw, about the same amount of time as a whole turkey. It took up half a refrigerator shelf. To fit it into the roasting pan, I had to cut it into halves and arrange them so they didn't overlap.

Did I mention it was large?

Local beef can be a gamble, but the fact that it was grain-fed was reassuring. We could argue grass versus grain all day, and for good reason, but the mellow flavor of grain-fed gets my vote.

The beast roasted into tender shreds in a bath of caramelized onions and pineapple juice, filling the house with a rich beefy fragrance.

And the big surprise was the price. Local, grain-fed beef from a creature that had a name and a life and an owner was a very reasonable $20 and change.

Roller says he will be back at the West Nashville Farmer's Market this spring. Meanwhile, he's working with a couple of restaurants in town, including Miel, which is interested in serving the beef. He adds that if there's a critical mass of consumer retail interest in Barton Creek beef, he's willing to make the westward trek into town.

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