AUTUMN 2015 TRENDS
Beef brisket, the new pulled pork?
The brisket trend was born in Texas, where it’s the staple meat in smokehouses.
Brisket is rising in popularity in the UK, driven by the appetite for US-style smokehouse BBQ meats.
Britain’s US-style BBQ restaurants generated £68m in sales last year, mostly driven by an appetite for the slow-cooked, shredded meat.
Unlike pulled pork, which is produced through a cooking process rather than referring to a single cut of meat, brisket comes from the lower chest area of the animal. Brisket isn’t just found in beef, you can buy pork and lamb brisket too.
It is forecast that brisket and burnt ends [pieces of meat cut from the point half of a smoked brisket] will become the best seller in US-style BBQ chains such as One Sixty and Reds True Barbecue.
The UK supermarkets have cottoned on to the trend and high end retailers such as M&S and Waitrose already offer slow-cooked brisket products.
Bitter the New Umami?
Bitter flavours are set to become the ‘it’ flavour – much of the trend has come from bar mixologists using more bitter ingredients in cocktails, and this has crossed into the food world. Frisée, rapini, endive, radicchio, Asian greens, and other bitter vegetables. The rise of New Nordic cooking, which includes lichens and birch tree ash, has helped to champion bitter ingredients as people are coming to realise that bitter is the most sophisticated flavour and that it adds balance, dimension, and complexity to dishes. Whilst most people aren’t born with a craving for bitter foods embracing bitter foods can also improve health, as the compounds that make foods taste tart, such as polyphenols also happen to be potent antioxidant.
Considered the ‘national’ dish of Quebec, poutine is a fast comfort food which traditionally consists of French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. Many Canadian variants have evolved such as Sugar Shack Poutine with bacon, sausage and maple syrup. “Fries with the Works” fries with ground beef and onions, topped with thick beef gravy and fresh green peas.
Many derivatives now exist outside of Canada including Greek poutine with Feta cheese, in New York, Chilli Cheese Fries – Shoestring French Fries covered with chilli cheese then covered with shredded cheddar cheese. In Texas, fries that include at least one variety of grated Cheddar cheese are commonly served with ranch dressing, sometimes consisting of bacon, jalapenos and chives. In New Orleans Debris fries – fries, roast beef debris “gravy” and cheese. Carne Asada fries have become popular in Southern California consisting of a combination of fries, carne asada (grilled, marinated steak-strips), beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and cheese. In Adelaide, chips topped with yiros meat, tomato barbecue and garlic sauce are served as an ‘AB.’
A bumper crop of lobsters along the east coast of the USA has made this vacation staple of chopped lobster meat with mayonnaise a must-eat across the country. In addition, there’s been a tidal wave of openings where homarus americanus plays a starring role in the UK, beginning with Lobster Kitchen. Then came Smack Deli in Mayfair, from the people behind Burger & Lobster and Fraq’s Lobster Shack in Fitzrovia. Lobster has also hit the food wagon scene in London via B.O.B’s Lobster VW Combi van. The question is, will there will be any lobsters left in the western Atlantic by this time next year?
New British – basically New Nordic with a twist: local and seasonal products served with few frills. Menu descriptions tend to be as terse as possible ‘Cockles, courgettes and herb oil’, ‘Isle of Wight tomatoes, nasturtiums and eel jelly’ for example – serious simplicity.
Not just a foodie trend, virtually every civilisation includes fermented foods made by the souring action of microbes. Fermentation not only adds flavour and preserves but also, according to some, aids health by improving digestion, increasing immunity, restoring good bacteria in the gut and increasing vitamin content in food. Britons’ are developing a taste for the sour, the influence of immigration to the UK has helped expand our tastes from pickled onions, cucumber and beetroot to kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha (fermented tea).
Smoked Maple Syrup
Combining maple syrup and beech wood smoke not only produces a culinary ingredient to add background flavours to glazes and marinades, sauces and gravies, but is also a fashionable ingredient for mixologists to use in gastro-inspired cocktails.
Named after Si Racha in Thailand, Sriracha is a type of chilli sauce made from a paste of red jalapeno chilli peppers, vinegar, sugar and salt. Sriracha is made from sun ripen chillies which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic, sugar and salt. The mania for sriracha started in the US – its increasing popularity was driven by west coast America, because their palate is sweet – it’s like ketchup with a kick. You can put a lot on food without it being wildly hot, whereas with Tabasco even five or six drops is too much. And it’s not expensive. The sriracha sensation is part of a wider appreciation of chilli sauces, which is overtaking milder condiments, such as Worcestershire sauce.
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