Beef Brisket


First thing, watch the pricing. I have had prices ranging from $9.99 to $24.00 , the best medium price is $13.99 per kilo, this from the butchers at Box Hill shopping centre, they are Asian and actually do cut down a whole carcass. Bet your butcher does not do this, bet he/she buys it in cryovaced!! I should point out that most Brisket will come with a goodly layer of fat, this is necessary to bathe the hard working meat as it cooks. It is not usual to cook the Brisket dry as a roast, but to braise in a covered pan. Recipe below.


Let me add a rider… I checked with a Kosher butcher in Melbourne and the cost per kilo is $34.50, that because the meat was high end and then had to be Koshered.

Brisket was not something that my mother cooked, she may have cooked it diced as a stew or braise (Mum rarely used the word Casserole) the concept of long slow cooking was not alien, it was thought of as normal. The idea that a piece of meat could be cooked hot and dry with no fat was completely laughable. Meats were cooked in accordance with how hard they worked on the animal, but none would have been deprived of natures gift of some good fat. Slow cookers, cast iron cookware, microwaves were all either non-existent or in short supply. Mum had a sturdy set of saucepans, a collection of frying pans, a soup pot and baking dishes. Several cake tins, some tins for cup cakes and slides for biscuits. A few Pyrex presentation dishes would have been it. Her options were governed by supply and demand.

Even though my family were butchers did not mean we ate top quality tender cuts on a daily basis, far from it. The customers always came first and we got what was left over. Mum would on some occasions (the weekend roast) command a certain piece of meat. As I recall, the pattern was often sausages and chops, a stew or braise or two, Saturday was casual and might have been a pie or pasty or even some of her own sausage rolls, a sandwich or two. Saturday nights dinner would be a soup. On Sunday the roast dinner was essential and on the table by 12.30 pm, finished and then off to the bowling club by 1.15 to catch a start of 1.30. If Mum was in a church going state of mind, then the meat would have been in the oven, the vegetables prepared and sitting in saucepans. The potatoes peeled and in water with strict instruction to my father to put them in with the roast by 11 am. the tomato and onion savoury to go in at the same time, just lower down the oven as it did not need so much heat. The meat would be removed from the oven on Mums return from church, a gravy made with the rich dark pan juices and should the roast be beef, then the oven would have been turned up to high and a Yorkshire pudding popped into the preheated tin she had for the purpose. Dad would have been anticipating its removal from the oven all high and golden brown and crispy. Lamb was a simple matter of making a mint sauce from the abundant mint in the garden.

Back to the Brisket. It is from the front chest of the animal, see

For deeper understanding.

It has a good layer of fat and is a working muscle, it is composed of two sections and is often sold either one or the other. It is not normally considered for roasting or grilling, but even this can be done. See

Some suggestions about cooking a Brisket.

Brisket USA style is a piece of meat which has very little resemblance to what it started out as, it is so heavily spiced that the outside become burned black with the crust (called bark) I have seen it topped with a whole bottle of some sort of chilli sauce (think like tomato sauce + Chilli) cooked on onion, carrot and celery and then bathed in 2 litres of tomato juice it can go on and on. It seems that the meat is the least consideration and the animal that supplied it, none at all.

My preference is the long slow method, but I am not up for anything too highly spiced or flavoured. I prefer to allow the meat to be the star. Part of the issue I have with USA barbecue is the excessive use of flavours and spices, too much sugar and too much salt, to say nothing of mouth numbing amounts of chilli. The important thing is to consider your own taste and act accordingly.

Steak & Onion Brisket.

1 piece of Brisket, about 2.5 kilo (will feed six to eight)

Salt and Pepper to rub into the brisket

2 large onions cut in rings

1 bottle of red wine (what ever you would drink)

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of tomato sauce

6 cloves of garlic peeled and left whole.

Oil for frying.

Use a heavy based lidded pan, a Le Cruset style dis is great. Put on to heat and when hot, add the oil. Gently lower the brisket (that you have rubbed with salt and pepper) into the sizzling hot oil and cook for 7 – 8 minutes per side until a nice caramelisation is achieved, remove meat and put aside. Add the onions to the pan and cook until they are browed and melting. Return the meat to sit on top of the onions, add the remainder of the ingredients, if the wine does not come up half way on the Brisket, add some stock to lift the level. Place in a 150 Celsius oven for 4 hours.

After four hours remove from the oven, remove meat and put aside covered. Remove as much of the fat from the top of the liquid as possible, place on a hot gas and cook until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened.

Serve mashed potato and cabbage. Try simply frying the cabbage in a little of the oil removed from the meat, not too much and no other liquid.



French Bistro Brisket

Serves 6 to 8

1 slab (about 3 pounds) center-cut beef brisket

4 slices thick bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers

24 pearl onions, peeled, or 6 small onions, peeled and quartered

8 medium-size carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, plus 2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and finely chopped

1 pound small red or new potatoes, cut in half

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup Cognac

1 bottle (750 milliliters) fruity red wine, like Beaujolais

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim any excess fat (more than 1/4 inch) off the brisket.

Place the bacon in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a platter.

Add the pearl onions, carrot pieces and potatoes to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until browned (about three minutes), stirring often. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the browned onions, carrots and potatoes to the platter with the bacon. Lightly cover the bacon and vegetables with aluminum foil — they won’t be added back to the pot until the brisket has cooked for three hours. Pour off and discard all but about two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pot.

Very generously season the brisket on all sides with salt and pepper. Place the brisket in the pot and sear it in the hot bacon fat over medium-high heat until darkly browned, about five minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a plate. Pour off and discard all but two tablespoons of fat.

Add extra two chopped carrots, second chopped onion, celery, garlic and bay leaves to the pot and cook until browned, about four minutes, stirring often.

Add the Cognac and let come to a boil, stirring up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon. Return the brisket to the pot. Add the wine and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven. Cook the brisket until semi-tender, about three hours, checking once or twice to make sure the meat doesn’t stick to the pot or scorch on the bottom.

Remove the pot from the oven. Uncover the pot, and using a large spoon, remove and discard any fat floating on the surface. Stir in the bacon, browned pearl onions, carrot pieces, and potatoes. Cover the pot, return it to the oven, and continue cooking the brisket for 1 hour longer.

Remove the pot from the oven. Uncover the pot, spoon off the fat again, and return the uncovered pot to the oven. Cook the brisket until it is very tender, some of the pan juices have evaporated, and the sauce starts to thicken, 30 minutes to one hour more. Remove the pot from the oven and let the brisket rest for about 10 minutes.

Again, spoon off any fat that has risen to the surface. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and thinly slice it crosswise across the grain.

Place the pot with the sauce and vegetables on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the sauce until concentrated and flavorful, about three minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste; the sauce should be highly seasoned.

Return the sliced brisket to the sauce and vegetables. Sprinkle the chopped chives, if using, on top. Serve the brisket French bistro style directly from the pot.


~ by peterwatson on July 24, 2018.

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