A Day of Brisket—Bring Your Kippah’s!

04Feb10

Lately I have been really into slow cooking things. A couple of weeks ago I roasted a pork shoulder for about 6 hours and shredded it into a nice pulled pork meal. Simply delicious. This past weekend, in an effort to change things up a little bit, I decided to slow cook a piece of beef. When slow cooking beef, there are many routes to go, and a plethora of cuts to choose from. Having been raised on Jewish cuisine (see my posts on pastrami), there seemed to be only one logical conclusion to my slow cooking desires: Brisket. Just the thought of moist, tender, meaty brisket made my mouth water long before I had even purchased the massive hunk of meat.

Going to the mountain on Saturday for a beautiful day of snowboarding, I decided to pre-order my brisket while we were in the lodge for lunch. The guy sitting next to me at the bar seemed to find it rather odd that I was asking the person on the other line to “make sure it’s a nice cut, and DON’T even think about trimming the fat.” Clearly, I thought, this guy knows nothing about meat, judging especially from his hideous one piece ski suit and glass of chardonnay.

We finished the day of skiing and on the way home stopped by the market to pick up my meat. I was a little surprised to find that the 5 lb. brisket went for about $20.00, I suppose only because my 4 lb. pork shoulder was something like $4.50. The young girl at the checkout counter looked at me with a gaze of horror as she rung me up. I think she was a vegetarian. What the hell is with these Vermonters and their seemingly intense fear of beef? Man up, enjoy life, clog an artery!

The recipe I used is pretty much an exact copy of Ms. Paula Deen’s, and even though it was tagged as “Texas Style”, and I was going for more of a “Palm Beach”, “New York”, or “Israel Style”, Paula has never steered me wrong before.

Paula also likes dogs.

I got home, plopped the brisket in the fridge to be dealt with in the morning and went about my night.

The next morning I began preparing the brisket at about 11:00 AM, combining the spices in a bowl to make a nice rub. [Note regarding the rub, which is annotated below: It is very important to use kosher salt in this recipe. Using conventional table salt (which should never be used anyway) will result in the rub, and impending flavor of the meat, being entirely too salty. The explanation for this is that kosher salt crystals are far bigger than the conventional table crap. This essentially means that 1 tablespoon of table salt is equivalent to about 4 tablespoons of kosher salt. Again, stay away from Morton’s (unless that is you’re using it for tequila shots, which is honestly the only reason I keep it in the house).] And I digress.

After coating the meat in the rub, I placed it in a roasting dish, covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour. [Another note: allowing the brisket to marinate in the rub is not nearly as important as it is for something like pork. A pork shoulder requires maximum marinating time (overnight) because when cooked, the meat itself produces much less of its own juice than does beef. Also, unlike roasting pork, the brisket will essentially be braised in the beef stock/Worcestershire mixture, allowing for sufficient flavor infusion.

After allowing the oven to pre-heat, I diced up my onion (I actually used shallots which is highly recommended, and are in fact more flavorful than onions) and covered the brisket with the tiny bits. The cooking aspect is relatively uninteresting other than the fact that as I mentioned, the brisket was pretty much being braised, which was a surprise to me. The liquid surrounding the beef was practically boiling, and the aroma coming from the oven was cotdamn scrumptious. My roommates were actually angry with me for tantalizing their taste buds.

Lo and behold, about 4 hours later the brisket was finished roasting, and looked awesome. I let it rest for about 15 minutes and then went into it with my Cutco. carving set, which for the record, could take your hand off. The meat truly exhibited that fall off the bone consistency (despite the fact that there was no bone), and compared to Thanksgiving turkey carving (which was the last time I donned a carving knife and fork), the brisket was a breeze. We ate with some sautéed green beans and purple potatoes—check these out (http://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t–35073/purple-potato.asp).

Overall, the meal was excellent. I gave myself a nice pat on the back for a job well done. If you like brisket or slow cooked meat in general, I highly suggest trying out this recipe. It is super easy, and unless you a) cannot read, b) use TABLE salt, or c) enjoy desiccated meat, then I guarantee that you will love it.

Also, regarding the Texas v. Jewish style brisket—I’m convinced there is no difference. This brisket tasted exactly like the kind I’ve been eating at Passover Seder’s my entire life. A true Mitzvah!

 Brisket

Ingredients

  • 5 pound Beef Brisket
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 15 oz. can beef stock
  • 1 medium/large onion
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

 Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mince onion.
  • Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and bay leaf. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Cover the roast with the diced onions. Place in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  • Add beef stock and Worcestershire sauce and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover pan tightly and continue cooking for 3 hours, or until fork-tender.
  • Slice meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan. 
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