By Ashley Messick Dating is hard. In an attempt to impress each other with their apparent creativity, new couples tend to go for the gusto when it comes to dates — rock climbing, improv class, acupuncture. It’s hard enough to seem charming in a normal setting; adding in paintball guns makes it even tougher. That’s why I turn to food in times of stress. Not eating it alone in my bed necessarily, but cooking it. I find that nothing impresses a guy used to chips and stale pizza of unknown origin than a girl who knows her way around a kitchen. But what to make? Something too girly like a Caprese salad or a nice quiche might lead to an awkward stomach grumble later in the evening. And since I have to eat it too, I don’t necessarily want to chow down on a giant T-bone steak while trying to remain dainty and charming. So I go for something in the middle — beef barbecue. It’s easy and impressive, and most of all tasty. It takes a while to make, but the payoff is well worth it. It also makes your house smell great, in a manly sort of way.
Makes 10-12 sandwiches. It freezes like a dream, for the inevitable next date. 3 lbs. beef chuck roast 1 large onion, chopped ½ cup celery, diced 2 Tbsp vinegar 2 Tbsp brown sugar 4 Tbsp lemon juice 1 cup ketchup 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp chili powder 1½ cups water Note: A Dutch oven works best for cooking the beef.
Step 1: Put the beef in a large Dutch oven and top with the onion and celery. Step 2: Combine the remaining ingredients and pour them over the beef. Cover and bake at 350° for 4 hours. Make sure to start checking at 3 hours, 3½ hours, and 4 hours to make sure there is still enough liquid so it doesn’t burn. Step 3: Remove the meat from the pan. Shred it with 2 forks while it’s still hot. Make sure to get as much fat as possible from the meat and the pan before returning the shredded meat to the pan. Step 4: Correct the seasoning. If it’s too dry, add a little bottled BBQ sauce. Serve on buns with your favorite coleslaw. Knock his socks off. About the Author: Ashley Messick is a Washington, D.C.-based food blogger dedicated to the unnatural task of eating at all of Washington’s top 100 restaurants in one year. Her psychosis is documented on From Komi to Marvin.