Ugly Brisket Two

The Chicks have this BBQ contest coming up in Gallatin this weekend and I have now practiced the hated brisket TWICE. That’s two more times than I would normally cook brisket. Chick Linda and Chick Roxanne were on their way back from a contest yesterday when Linda called . She and Rox would be here for supper. Good timing.  So the brisket was chugging away on the smoker and I ran to the grocery store because Chicken Divan was just calling my name (recipe coming) and I needed chicken. I had high hopes for this brisket. I’d just bought my second jar of ancho chile powder, which I also never buy, because that’s what Adam Perry Lang uses on his brisket and if you can’t trust a professional chef, then I just don’t know what.

So the good thing about Rox, who is Linda’s daughter, is that she has an excellent palate. The bad thing about Rox is that she’s just like her mother, completely honest at all times. So since I’d cooked the brisket and was looking for constructive criticism, I gave Rox a slice.

rox brisket test“It’s not done,” she frowned. “It won’t pull apart.” Dammit. “And it’s too spicy.” No, it’s not, I say. I made it last week and it was perfectly delicious. I tasted it. It was too spicy. “Maybe if you put some sauce on it,” said Rox. Oh, oh. When you have to start throwing sauce on competition barbecue you just know you’re in trouble.

But the good news is that the three of us actually sat down and made a game plan for the cook. We never do that. The original, slightly geriatric Chicks always show up with great intentions and then have a few drinks and that all goes out the window. I think Rox is having a good effect on us. She’s young and not forgetful and doesn’t stray easily.

After my brisket failure, I certainly wasn’t going to serve that for supper. Thank goodness I’d had a Chicken Divan craving. Rox declared it delicious and actually wanted the recipe and since I know Rox to be the honest person she is, I felt vindicated. I don’t think there’s a Chicken Divan category on Saturday or I’d enter the darn thing in the contest.

So, for you, Rox, here’s the Chicken Divan recipe. See you on Friday, girl, and the Chicks in Charge will get it on. Or lose it completely. Or end up somewhere in the middle. It’s all good. Sweet dreams, as Annie Lenox says, are made of this.

Chicken DivanDSCN0450

3 chicken breasts, sauteed in oil with your favorite spice rub and cubed

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 8-ounce container sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste


3 bags Uncle Ben’s Ready Wholegrain Medley (I know, I know, but it’s good and it makes this recipe a breeze. If you want to cook your own rice, have at it.)

Mix soup, sour cream, mayo, cheese, lemon juice, curry, salt and pepper all together. Add the chicken. In a greased casserole (9-by-13) put the rice in the bottom. Layer the broccoli over the rice and top with the chicken mixture. Top that with small cubes of butter – as much as your conscience allows. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

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