I had the opportunity to attend a very special birthday party this past week. Jack Daniel, legendary whiskey maker, would be 160 years old this month.
While many are familiar with the famous Tennessee whiskey, Jack was a pretty fascinating guy too. You can go read up on the man behind the drink here.
Jack’s 160th birthday bash was held at the swanky Drake hotel in Toronto, and the Jack Daniel’s folks didn’t disappoint. Before the party got started, master distiller, Jeff Arnett, gave us a brief talk on the history and pride that makes JD so special. He also walked us through a tasting of their various offerings: the refined Gentleman’s Jack, the unique Single Barrel, and good Old No. 7. Tasting these classics, side by side, gave me a whole new appreciation for each of the brands, and what makes each distinct.
I also learned how Jack Daniel’s differentiates itself from bourbon. Jack mellowed his drink, drop by drop, through 10 feet of maple sugar charcoal. A process that’s still carefully followed today. As Jack insisted, “Every day we make it, we’ll make it the best that we can.”
I’ve lined up a couple of recipes in honour of Mr. Jack’s 160th – Jack’s Slow-Barbecued Tennessee Brisket, followed later this week by Jacked Nectarine Ice Cream Sundaes with Pound Cake Croutons.
The Jack infused BBQ sauce below is bold in an HP Sauce kind of way – and as it slowly carmelizes over 4 hours, it becomes delectably great.
So, raise a toast of your favourite Jack Daniel’s, in honour of the man himself. Happy Birthday, Jack!
Jack’s Slow-Barbecued Tennessee Brisket
Serves: 6 to 8
1 whole beef brisket, about 5 pounds
Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)
- Preheat a grill on High heat. Rub the brisket with the spice rub.
- Place the brisket on the grill and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to Low. Brush the top with Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce and turn the brisket over.
- Close the cover of the grill and slowly barbecue the brisket until tender, about 4 hours, flipping and basting with barbecue sauce every 30 minutes.
- Remove the brisket from the grill, brush generously with barbecue sauce, let rest for 15 minutes, and slice thinly against the grain. Serve with remaining sauce.
Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
3 cups good quality barbecue sauce
1 cup Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over Medium-High heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
- Turn to Medium, add the chile powder and cook 2 minutes more. Add the barbecue sauce and bring to a boil.
- Add the Jack Daniels, bring to a boil, and cook to burn the alcohol off, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and puree with an immersion blender.