Poitrine, bringa, bryststykke. No matter how you say it, it’s still a brisket.
WARNING: This book is not suitable for vegetarians, vegans or herbivores of any stripe. However, if you love slow cooked, tender and delicious meat, grab a plate and get your fork!
It’s a cut of meat that slices across ethnic and cultural lines. A specific cut of meat. Not just a burger or a steak, it’s more than that. At first blush you would think, “How many ways could you possible cook that?”. You would be surprised.
In Texas, it is held aloft as a piece of BBQ lore and legend. Worthy of a battle for a medal, trophy or plaque. On St. Patrick’s Day, we can’t get enough of it served with a side of cabbage, potatoes and maybe a Guinness (or two). It has starring role on the other side of the world in Vietnamese Pho. And, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any Jewish holiday without a moist and flavorful brisket served on a big platter to a waiting table of family and friends.
Stephanie Pierson affectionately calls her cookbook a “love story with recipes”. When The Brisket Book hit my desk I thought, “OK, here’s another collection of the same re-tread brisket recipes”. Boring… This is a prime example of why you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. It is not possible to have been more wrong. Boring is the last thing this cookbook is.
I thought I knew about brisket. After all, I have cooked a small truckload of them. But, what I didn’t know about this versatile cut of meat could, well, fill a book. And Stephanie filled it up!
I love the list of “50 Things About Brisket That People Can Disagree About”. Example: #5 Electric Knife? You may as well give one person a can of gasoline and the other person a match and see how long it takes them to set each other on fire. People are just that insane about the topic.
Of course, I have to cook one of these versions. I opted for Chef Todd Gray’s, Classic Braised Beef Brisket. Anything classic should be a good test.
Here’s How To Do It
Classic Braised Beef Brisket
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 3lb beef brisket, trimmed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart veal stock
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 350⁰. (Note: the recipe in the book does not specify an oven temperature. I used 350⁰, it seemed safe)
Mix together the salt, paprika, mustard seed and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the brisket all over with the spice mixture. It will look like this.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Brown the brisket evenly on both sides. About 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Transfer the browned brisket to a large oven proof baking dish or Dutch oven. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Also, add the garlic, stock, wine and vinegar. Cover the dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake in the oven until fork tender. About 3 to 4 hours.
When the brisket is cooked, transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Strain cooking liquids into a pan and reduce over medium heat to about 2½ cups. Slice the brisket against the grain and drizzle with the sauce.
TIPS: I used beef stock instead of veal stock. It still turned our fantastic. This is a super easy brisket recipe. A home chef of any skill level should have no problem at all impressing their family and friends with their brisket expertise.
The Bottom Line: This book hits all the right notes. Not only is it a great collection of new (and old) brisket preparations, but, it also serves as a great resource. It’s a fun read. The contributions from professional and amateur chefs make it interesting on a lot of different levels. Writing a single subject cookbook can be tricky. Stephanie avoids the common mistakes that make these types of books a little on the dry side. Well done!
Author: Stephanie Pierson
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
If you like The Brisket Book, here are few books from the Cookbook Man’s list that might interest you.