Let’s get this out of the way right now. Brussels sprouts are total bullshit. It’s a practical joke, played on us by Mother Nature.
People say that god must have been high when he made the panda. Well, he must have been on some serious LSD, while on a mushroom trip laced with some bad fentanyl, when he came up with these.
“Oh, hey, check this out. I made cabbage, and it’s the world’s shittiest vegetable. But, you know, I made it, so it’s awesome, but whatever. What if I made a bunch of baby cabbages and grew them on a tree trunk? Man, that’ll seriously fuck with their heads. Ooh, let me go work on the aardvark designs while I’m on a roll…”
(I like to envision god as The Dude.)
“Whoops, looks like I accidentally labeled them as Brussels sprouts, and not brussel. That’s awesome, now people are going to call them the wrong thing forever! Who’s going to call me on this, oh god you misspelled brussel, you really gotta change it. Haha, you just got turned into a dung beetle, how you like that? Someone get Gary Busey so we can find some more good coke.”
So the stuff is basically garbage. But, it also is good for you, and is probably high in folic acid, or vitamin T, or sodium flunkatate, so you should probably try and eat them so you won’t die an early death.
I watched a video from Not Another Cooking Show, where Stephen cooked Brussels sprouts. He swears by them, and used to make something very similar on his food truck, so I figured he knows how to make them edible.
In order to make these abominations delectable, you’ve got to get some color on them. Which is a nice way of saying you need to burn them a bit. And in order to get the color, you need to maximize surface area. Which means that you need to cut them in half, and into quarters if they’re really big.
(How do you determine what is really big vs. normal? Hell, I don’t know, have them face off in a 64 sprout tournament to determine the biggest one? It’s like porn, you can’t explain it, but you know it when you see it.)
After you’ve cut them up, put them into a bowl and generously – and I mean generously – coat them with olive oil. They do not need to be thinking they’re Michael Phelps swimming the 400 meter IM through the oil, but they do need a good coating. Then hit them with a few pinches of salt and many grinds of pepper. Don’t be shy on the seasonings, they’re masking the evil tastes of the sprouts.
While you get the oven heating, get a sheet tray and dump those sprouts onto it – if it gets too crowded, use two trays, this is not the time to be jamming your food too tightly together. Then – and I cannot stress the importance of this enough – make sure that all of the sprouts are facing cut-side down. You want the flat sides to start getting color as soon as possible.
Once the oven is ready, chuck the sheet in the oven and let it get burning those sprouts for a good 15 minutes. Then pull the sheet out of the oven and take it to a counter to start flipping them.
The next point I cannot stress enough is that you should individually flip each Brussels sprout cut side up. This sounds like a royal pain, and maybe it is. But, this is how you show your food love. It needs to know that you care about it, that you want it to be everything you hope it will.
(Of course, you can just toss them around, or shake the tray a bit and see what happens, but the sprouts will know. Oh, they will know. And when you get that phone call many years from now, and the police tell you that your sprouts got drunk and lit bags of poo on the principal’s doorstep, or they shot up a school, or they started reading Ayn Rand…you’ll know why…)
After you flip them…
…you discover that your oven has some hot spots. But even the lighter ones are still starting to get some color on them. So chuck the tray back in the oven (giving it a 180 turn to account for the hot spots) for another 15 minutes (if they’re looking a little parched, a little more oil won’t hurt).
While they’re getting their second cook, you can make the sauce. I like using sriracha and honey, it’s a pretty simple combination that gets a lot of flavor out of the sprouts. I mix it in the same bowl I tossed the sprouts in, so there’s less cleanup afterwards.
After their second cook, the whole sprout has got some color on it.
From here, you can just shake the pan around a bit to make sure that nothing stuck. Forget about showing them love anymore, they took the car and crashed it, and they didn’t take out the trash, and they keep playing that Spin Doctors song, they deserve their punishment.
Everything from here out is based on your liking. If you think they need some more cooking, throw the tray back in for another 10-15 minutes. If you like them softer, for some stupid reason, take them out now.
Whenever you’ve decided that they’re done, drop them into the bowl with the sauce. Coat them in the sauce, and relish the fact that you have done the unthinkable: you have taken the putrid and made it delicious.
Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha and Honey
Adapted from NOT ANOTHER COOKING SHOW
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, dirty or nasty leaves removed, halved (trimmed if large)
1/4 c olive oil
Multiple generous pinches of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1/4 c Sriracha
2 T honey
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place halved sprouts in a large bowl. Add oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well with your hands and ensure that the sprouts are well-coated with oil. Add more if needed.
Pour sprouts onto a sheet pans (if the tray is too crowded, use two pans), and turn all sprouts cut-side down.
Place pan in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove pan and flip all sprouts to round-side down. Rotate the pan 180 degrees, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
While the sprouts are cooking, add the Sriracha and honey to the large bowl, Stir to combine. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Remove pan from the oven after the 15 minutes have elapsed, and stir and shake the sprouts to keep them from sticking.
Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the sprouts are browned to your liking.
Remove pan, and add the cooked sprouts to the bowl with sauce. Toss to combine and serve.