Happy Memorial Day! How do you celebrate? It seems to me that most Americans celebrate with MEAT — usually between two buns, & most often eaten outside.
My husband’s family goes out to his Grandma’s house in Grantsville, Utah, & puts mums on the graves of their ancestors, then has a big delicious meal afterwards. I first took part in this tradition when we’d been dating for four months. I started recognizing last names on several of the graves, so I asked if they were descended from the same Clark I was (Clark, after all, isn’t an uncommon name, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if we weren’t). Turns out we’re fifth cousins. Awkward! Especially finding this out when you haven’t been dating for very long! But we laughed about it & later got married anyway… & got a big scare when we had to sign our marriage license, certifying that we were “not related within and not including the fifth degree of consanguinity” (neither of us had heard that last word before). Turns out it just means you’re not second cousins. Phew! In the clear! We’ve had a lot of laughs about that one as well.
Sorry, I digress. Back to Memorial Day. My family celebrates with a big cookout with friends. My mom is an amazing cook & lives all the way across the country in California, so this Memorial Day — which is also her birthday — I’m remembering her. Happy Birthday, Mom! I don’t want this to become a Mother’s Day post, rather than a Memorial Day one, so I’ll just say that how she’s able to do it all stumps me completely. She’s an amazing cook, gardens so well she practically has an orchard in the middle of LA County (& we always enjoyed the fruits of it — literally — at meals growing up), went to all of our concerts & band competitions & was a “band mom” for many years… & works full-time as an attorney downtown. I hope I can do half that without a demanding job! In short, she’s incredible, & so are her barbecue beef sandwiches. Since we don’t have a grill, this has become my big summer “cookout” dish. If you’re an apartment dweller like me, they can be yours too!
Syd’s Barbecue Beef Sandwiches
- 3 1/2 lb. pot roast
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- a few Tbsp. oil
- 1+ cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. vinegar (I use cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce — not salsa (the best is “Homade” — actually spelled that way — sweet chili sauce in a squat glass jar, but I’ve only been able to find it out west, so I use the Heinz version plus a pinch of chili powder. Not perfect, but still good.)
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 dash (or 2) cinnamon
- 1 dash (or 2) cloves
- 1 dash garlic salt
- Brown both sides of the pot roast in a large pot (I use a Le Creuset Dutch Oven) in hot oil with the garlic & 1/4 of the onion. Add salt & pepper to taste & enough water to cover, then cover & braise on low 2-3 hours or until tender. (Slow cooker: After browning, transfer everything to slow cooker, add 1 cup water, & cook on high 2-3 hours or low for 5.)
- Remove roast & shred, then return to pot or slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients, cover & simmer about 3 hours (slow cooker: high for about 2, low for about 4).
- Serve over rolls of choice at your next big get-together this summer!