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weinoo

Braised Brisket -- Cook-Off 43

83 posts in this topic

I just made the brisket yesterday but we won't be eating it until tonight. But of course I sampled, and it was delicious. I used the CI onion-brased method in The New Best Recipe cookbook. Lots of onions. Three pounds of sliced onions to three pounds of brisket, but I upped the brisket. The one I bought was about 9#, and I cut off a third of that to save to make a beef stew later. So, the meat was the only thing doubled, and there was still plenty of gravy. The onions cook down in the gravy and it's probably even better than the brisket. The only thing I don't do by the recipe is add the little bit of vinegar at the end. I don't mind it, but the family thinks it has a funny taste.

That's one thing I always do with brisket -- save some of it for a beef stew. So, while the brisket was cooking (it only cooks 3 hours at 300 deg F), I browned the meat for the beef stew and cooked the base for the stew. This went in the freezer, and when we want stew, all I have to do is add the vegetables and we're done.

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Chris, thanks for the heads up on David Thompson's penang. The idea of braising the meat first, and then adding the coconut milk and paste is genius. You'll get the flavour of the beef, with the curry "stuff" without sacrificing the flavour of the beef.

But, one of the techniques I learned from Paula Wolfert was to hold the braise for the next day, separating the meat from the liquid. Basically, remove the meat, seal tightly in a ziplock. Liquid in another container. Both in the fridge, which makes taking the fat of the liquid very easy. Reheat gently in the oven. I do like doing this, and find it makes a big difference. She even advocates doing this process twice, which makes for an even more succulent dish (think rinse and repeat!).


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Chris, thanks for the heads up on David Thompson's penang.  The idea of braising the meat first, and then adding the coconut milk and paste is genius.  You'll get the flavour of the beef, with the curry "stuff" without sacrificing the flavour of the beef.

Actually, you braise it in coconut milk and then create the curry base with coconut cream and the paste, retaining the cooking milk to use to moisten later if you'd like. (He first uses the technique I've learned from Chinese cooking in which you place the meat in cold water, bring it to a boil, rinse the meat, and toss the mucky cooking liquid.) The cooking milk is very beefy, and as a result you can create two very different curries: one with that meaty umami from the braising liquid, the other a cleaner, delicate curry which the slices of brisket carry.

But, one of the techniques I learned from Paula Wolfert was to hold the braise for the next day, separating the meat from the liquid.  Basically, remove the meat, seal tightly in a ziplock.  Liquid in another container.  Both in the fridge, which makes taking the fat of the liquid very easy.  Reheat gently in the oven.  I do like doing this, and find it makes a big difference.  She even advocates doing this process twice, which makes for an even more succulent dish (think rinse and repeat!).

I agree with Susan: this is a fantastic technique and I use it myself all the time.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Finally reporting on Saturday's cooking of CI's braised brisket.

As mentioned up thread, I actually had two brisket pieces, a 3lb and a 2lb. These got browned first:

gallery_31076_6262_224296.jpg

Next came the onions, which picked up the nice fond created by the meat:

gallery_31076_6262_170299.jpg

Once the onions have softened, you add tomato paste and paprika:

gallery_31076_6262_349286.jpg

Finally, after the addition of a few more ingredients, like red wine, chicken broth and bay leaf, you pour the onion mixture into a big foil envelope inside a baking pan, and nestle the browned brisket on top:

gallery_31076_6262_8055.jpg

Here's my brisket all tucked into its foil blankie and ready for the oven:

gallery_31076_6262_88575.jpg

And four hours later -- heaven! My terrible photography makes the meat look dried out here, but it was very succulent.

gallery_31076_6262_141459.jpg

The flavor of the meat from this recipe is really incredible. Next time, though, I think I would just use a baking pan of the right size and cover it tightly with foil, instead of putting the meat inside the foil inside the pan. Inevitably, the foil leaks and makes a mess in the pan anyway. Why lose any of that great juice?

There wasn't enough pan juice this time to make it worth while to separate the meat from the juice when I stored the leftovers overnight, and the meat wasn't terribly fatty, so I don't think it made a difference anyway. Besides, my husband can't be trusted with a container of carmelized onion in the fridge.

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I haven't been seeing a fat cap -- if that's the right word for layer of fat atop a brisket. I had one and kept it for sure. Do people usually trim it off?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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When we cook the 20# big boys, we get them with the fat cap and leave most of it on. Unfortunately, most of my customers don't want a lot of fat, so the smaller ones come in without much (almost none). A good layer of fat is a great thing when cooking a brisket.

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I'm with Pam -- leave most of the fat cap on. You can easily remove the fat from the liquid later, and a person can always cut any fat remaining off the cooked brisket.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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We were having guests for dinner last night, so I decided to make a brisket. My butcher (Jeffrey, at the Essex St. Market) had a whole brisket for me if I wanted it - 12 pounds, but I decided to go with the flat - sometimes they look like this on both sides:

gallery_6902_6266_77048.jpg

but the one I bought looked like this:

gallery_6902_6266_16315.jpg

By the way, it weighed 6 pounds, and cost $2.99 a pound, which is the same price Jeffrey charges for the whole thing. I cut it into a 4 pound piece and a 2 pound piece, and since we were 4 for dinner, I cooked the 4 pounder.

Interestingly enough, I've never really followed a recipe for brisket, I just cook 'em like I see 'em. But, checking out the CI recipe talked about above, my method is pretty much the same...and here's the other ingredients that go into it:

gallery_6902_6266_34205.jpg

I like to brown the brisket really well, though some recipes call for cooking without browning; here's what it looks like after browning the fat cap:

gallery_6902_6266_37530.jpg

Then, after browning the second side, I sauteed a few chopped onions till well browned, and deglazed the pot with red wine and chicken stock. Nested in it's bath, covered with onions and garlic and herbs, here's the meat before going into the oven:

gallery_6902_6266_13661.jpg

After 3.5 hours in the oven at 280 degrees, the meat was nice and tender...(but you should check yours starting earlier). The brisket was removed and allowed to cool for a few hours, to firm it up for slicing. The cooking liquid was strained (and the onions were saved to add back) and defatted, and then thickened with a bit of beurre manie. Here's the meat, sliced (with a bit of fat on each piece), and ready to be covered with some of the gravy, covered and put back in a 250 degree oven to be reheated:

gallery_6902_6266_79155.jpg

Everyone ate their fill, along with roasted winter squashes and red potatoes and garlicky green beans. And I can't wait to have a sandwich with the leftover beef.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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The beef penang recipe I've been using is from David Thompson's outstanding Thai Food, and he parboils the beef in boiling water, drains it, and only then braises the beef in coconut milk. When it's done, you slice it into relative thick slices, fry the paste you've been pounding for 45 minutes in cracked coconut cream, and then simmer the whole thing in some more coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, and a few other things. It's sublime, really showing off the tender texture of the brisket in the silky curry sauce.

Ah...it's been a while since I've cooked this and now I am not able to take it out of my mind. It is deliciouse.

Another reason to cook the meat in water instead of simmering it in coconut milk for a long time is that it helps keep the coconut milk from breaking down and retains its freshness.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I usually brown roasts before making pot roast (chuck/shoulder/minute/etc.) but I don't brown briskets. I have no good excuse -- other than my mom and dad (who taught me how to cook a brisket) don't. And that works for me. But now I'm curious, does everybody brown their briskets before parking them in the oven?

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I usually brown roasts before making pot roast (chuck/shoulder/minute/etc.) but I don't brown briskets. I have no good excuse -- other than my mom and dad (who taught me how to cook a brisket) don't.  And that works for me.  But now I'm curious, does everybody brown their briskets before parking them in the oven?

Yeah, like Chris, I like to get a nice fond going. It just adds another layer of flavor, I think.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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We were having guests for dinner last night, so I decided to make a brisket.  My butcher (Jeffrey, at the Essex St. Market) had a whole brisket for me if I wanted it - 12 pounds, but I decided to go with the flat - sometimes they look like this on both sides:

gallery_6902_6266_77048.jpg

but the one I bought looked like this:

gallery_6902_6266_16315.jpg

By the way, it weighed 6 pounds, and cost $2.99 a pound, which is the same price Jeffrey charges for the whole thing.  I cut it into a 4 pound piece and a 2 pound piece, and since we were 4 for dinner, I cooked the 4 pounder.

Interestingly enough, I've never really followed a recipe for brisket, I just cook 'em like I see 'em.  But, checking out the CI recipe talked about above, my method is pretty much the same...and here's the other ingredients that go into it:

gallery_6902_6266_34205.jpg

I like to brown the brisket really well, though some recipes call for cooking without browning; here's what it looks like after browning the fat cap:

gallery_6902_6266_37530.jpg

Then, after browning the second side, I sauteed a few chopped onions till well browned, and deglazed the pot with red wine and chicken stock.  Nested in it's bath, covered with onions and garlic and herbs, here's the meat before going into the oven:

gallery_6902_6266_13661.jpg

After 3.5 hours in the oven at 280 degrees, the meat was nice and tender...(but you should check yours starting earlier).  The brisket was removed and allowed to cool for a few hours, to firm it up for slicing.  The cooking liquid was strained (and the onions were saved to add back) and defatted, and then thickened with a bit of  beurre manie.  Here's the meat, sliced (with a bit of fat on each piece), and ready to be covered with some of the gravy, covered and put back in a 250 degree oven to be reheated:

gallery_6902_6266_79155.jpg

Everyone ate their fill, along with roasted winter squashes and red potatoes and garlicky green beans. And I can't wait to have a sandwich with the leftover beef.

Gorgeous Mitch! I can almost smell it from here.

Browning is a good thing!

I have a question, does anyone else like a horseradish sauce with brisket?

We just came back from Friuli, and up in the northern parts, they shave fresh horseradish on all sorts of things. I think it would be excellent on that brisket. Save me a piece.

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Gorgeous Mitch! I can almost smell it from here.

Browning is a good thing!

I have a question, does anyone else like a horseradish sauce with brisket?

We just came back from Friuli, and up in the northern parts, they shave fresh horseradish on all sorts of things. I think it would be excellent on that brisket. Save me  a piece.

I've never seen it served with a "traditional Jewish" style brisket, as the sauce is usually made from the cooking liquid, but it sure sounds good to me...and rather than save a piece, we'll just make a nice, fresh one...and play around with some horseradish as well.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Gorgeous Mitch! I can almost smell it from here.

Browning is a good thing!

I have a question, does anyone else like a horseradish sauce with brisket?

We just came back from Friuli, and up in the northern parts, they shave fresh horseradish on all sorts of things. I think it would be excellent on that brisket. Save me  a piece.

I've never seen it served with a "traditional Jewish" style brisket, as the sauce is usually made from the cooking liquid, but it sure sounds good to me...and rather than save a piece, we'll just make a nice, fresh one...and play around with some horseradish as well.

Sounds like a plan to me! :wub::cool::laugh:

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By the way, it weighed 6 pounds, and cost $2.99 a pound, which is the same price Jeffrey charges for the whole thing. 

I can't my head around this price. Kosher first cut brisket sells for $14.99/lb in Manhattan. For Shemini Atzeret I made a 4.5 brisket. Braised in beer and chili sauce with lots of vegetables. Served 7 for dinner and we were left with enough leftovers to serve the two of us for two meals.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I have received a brisket, the flat! (Thanks Cali!!!)

Pam, I would like to know a little more about the foil package method. Do you place the foil packet just on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven? I'm assuming with this method, there's no ability to make sauce?

I haven't decided whether to braise this piece yet or try the foil packet method, which sounds really good to me!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I have received a brisket, the flat! (Thanks Cali!!!) 

Pam, I would like to know a little more about the foil package method.  Do you place the foil packet just on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven?  I'm assuming with this method, there's no ability to make sauce? 

I haven't decided whether to braise this piece yet or try the foil packet method, which sounds really good to me!

Your're Welcome. Thanks Kerry for delivering it to Marlene.

I bought the brisket for Marlene @ Wegman's near Buffalo. They only had the first cut and it was 4.49lb.

My mom made incredible brisket for all the Jewish holidays back when I still ate red meat. Isnt there a pretty famous recipe that contains coffee?

Marlene if you want the CI recipe, let me know.

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I have received a brisket, the flat! (Thanks Cali!!!) 

Pam, I would like to know a little more about the foil package method.  Do you place the foil packet just on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven?  I'm assuming with this method, there's no ability to make sauce? 

I haven't decided whether to braise this piece yet or try the foil packet method, which sounds really good to me!

Yes, the foil packet goes onto a sheet pan. Just make sure the foil is really well sealed. I like to use the wider, institutional rolls, but if I'm at home, I'll take two sheets of the regular stuff and put one on top of the other. Then at one edge, fold it over about 1/2 an inch a couple of times and then open up the two sheets and they should be sealed in the middle (does this make sense?). Do that so you have a few layers. Place the brisket and everything else in the middle and fold it all up, sealing everything. I can try to take some pictures later if you'd like a clearer picture.

Even if you use the foil packet, you'll get lots of liquid for a sauce -- even if you add very little liquid at the beginning. Brisket will give off plenty of juices. I often add very limited liquid - oil, lots of crushed garlic, onions (browned or . . souped :wink: ) and spices. Shmear the mix allover, wrap it up and when it's done you should have lots of juice.

When I made them a couple of weeks ago, for one of them I browned the onions and then added the garlic and spices and the wine and reduced until it was almost dry (but not quite). When it was cooked there was plenty of liquid that actually could have been reduced, but I was too lazy to reduce it.

BTW, how far are you from Toronto? Briskets are easily found in the northern suburbs and I'm sure elsewhere. Though, I'm afraid to say, if you're not used to buying kosher brisket you'll be shocked at the sticker price. $14.99'lb in Manhattan doesn't sound far of.

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I'm about 40 minutes from Toronto, but hubby works in the city so could probably pick some up for me if I can find it!

So, let me see. The brisket is not browned first? I thought I saw crispy bits in one of your photos once!

Foil packet, a few layers. I'm assuming then that the juice does not leak out. In the oven at 250? For 3 hours? Something like that?

And yes, I think I need a photo tutorial on the packet! :biggrin:


Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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You did see browned bits - but it wasn't pre-browned. It did that all by itself in the foil. (That doesn't always happen.)

I'd put it in at 275-300 for about 3 hours, but it does depend on the size and thickness.

I'll work on the photos.


Edited by Pam R (log)

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Thanks! I'm thinking this will be on the menu Monday or Tuesday!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I think the 14.99 is more a byproduct of Kosher first cut, rather than Manhattan. Kosher sells for about that a pound here (Maryland, close to DC) but you can pick it up in supermarkets for about 3.99.

Briskets all look good, but I have to say I usually take slicing a brisket as a sign of failure. I've cooked a fair number including (maybe explaining my bias) some for barbecue competitions and I find sliced brisket doesn't have that 'tender but chewy at the same time,' quality.

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Briskets all look good, but I have to say I usually take slicing a brisket as a sign of failure.  I've cooked a fair number including (maybe explaining my bias) some for barbecue competitions and I find sliced brisket doesn't have that 'tender but chewy at the same time,' quality.

What do you do with the brisket if you don't slice it?

And how is slicing it a sign of failure?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Kosher first cut brisket sells for $14.99/lb in Manhattan. 

Within a half a mile of the packing house it runs $12.99. That was last Wednesday before the bank started foreclosure on the plant. They are the largest kosher facility in the US so prices may actually go up in a very soft market. I paid $1.86 at a non-kosher meat locker today.


Edited by StanSherman (log)

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      In addition to not always being recognized for it's looks, every August and September it becomes the butt of jokes at State Fair competitions across the country. If you can get past the embarassment of seeing the poor devils dressed up and carved into silly, cartoon-like farm figures or pumped-up with organic steroids, you'll find a delicious, low-calorie vegetable packed with potassium and vitamin A. Yes friends, your dreams have come true for today we kick-off eG Cook-Off #62, "Summer Squash."
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).

      According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, summer squash, (also known in some circles as Italian marrow), are tender, warm-season vegetables that can be grown anytime during the warm, frost-free season. Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash, (like pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash), because it is harvested before the outer rind hardens. Some of the most popular summer squash are the Green and Yellow Zucchini, Scallop, Patty Pan, Globe, Butter Blossom and Yellow Crookneck.

      My personal favorite summer squash is the versatile zucchini. Slow-cooked with sliced onion and ham hock, zucchini is perfectly comfortable nestled on a plate next to juicy, fried pork chops and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the chi-chi haute crowd isn't forgotten when it comes to zucchini, or, as the sniffy French call it, the "courgette." Tiny, spring courgette blossoms stuffed with herbs and ricotta cheese then dipped in tempura batter and gently fried are a delicacy found on Michelin-Star menus across the globe.

      Won't you please join me in crafting some delicious masterpieces that showcase the culinary possibilities of delicious summer squash.
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