Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to make a perfect brisket

Tonight is Rosh Hashanah, so of course I'm cooking. I keep seeing a bunch of brisket baking questions in my Facebook feed, so for anyone searching for how to make a perfect brisket, here's how.

Of course, there's no one way to make a perfect brisket so I should qualify this as my personal favorite way to make a perfect brisket. The recipe I use I think is the one often called Southern Brisket or Jewish Brisket, but to be honest this recipe didn't come from my family, so I really don't know how traditional, or non-traditional, Jewish, or southern, it is. The recipe actually comes from my brother's friend's grandma, who I think was Jewish, and also southern, but I'm not entirely positive.

Anyway, southern, Jewish, or not, this is a recipe for how to cook a perfect brisket every time.

Beef Brisket

1 beef brisket, 6-8 pounds - get the best quality one you possibly can. I get mine from a specialty butcher.
1 jar Heinz chili sauce, 12 oz
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
1 can of Coca Cola, 12 oz

Serves 8 to 10 people

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Put the brisket in a strong cooking dish, approx. 13 x 9 inches. A disposable aluminum one will not work. Don't risk it and learn the hard way like I did, just trust me you need a real baking dish. I use a stoneware Le Creuset Baking Dish and love it, but any sturdy pan will work.
3. The brisket should be placed in the pan fat side up. Score the fat all over with a sharp knife.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the chili sauce, onion soup mix and can of coke. Pour over the brisket.

5. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and put it the 325 degree oven.
6. Leave the brisket alone. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Do not turn, poke, prod or even open the aluminum foil. Again, I repeat, leave the brisket alone. I know this can be difficult, but trust me, you can't open it even once or you risk having all the heat escape and letting your lovely brisket dry out. I repeat one more time, leave the brisket alone. Cook for 3 to 4 hours; general rule is 30 minutes per pound.
7. Take the brisket out of the oven, cut off and discard the top layer of fat.
8.Slice the meat diagonally against the grain. Then, put the entire sliced brisket back in the pan with all the sauce, an make sure there is plenty of sauce covering the brisket slices. Let it rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, then serve. If it isn't quite done, you can re-cover the pan, and put it back in the oven to cook a little while longer, then remove and let rest at room temperature before serving.

That's it! Serve the brisket sliced with plenty of sauce covering each piece, and if you choose, you can serve additional sauce on the side as well.

Brisket is just as good - many argue better - the next day, so be happy if you have leftovers, of if you like to cook ahead, make the brisket the night before and just reheat in a 200 degree oven before serving.

For all those celebrating, L'Shana Tovah!

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