Beef, brisket, pot roast

Now the weather has a little chill in the air my thoughts have turned to some Autumnal cooking and comfort recipes.

One of my favourite methods is pot roasting and the best cut of beef in my opinion, for a sumptuous result, is Brisket.

This comes from the front of the animal; it’s the lower part of the breast, so it’s responsible for helping to hold the animal up and therefore is always working.  This means the muscle will be tougher and have more connective tissue and collagen fibres, but this is a good thing when we are slow cooking. This connective tissue acts as a self-basting element and adds that gelatinous mouth feel and significant flavour.

Brisket is a fat cut of meat, but your local butcher can work some serious magic on these beauties.

I believe it’s best boned, it can be cooked flat, and indeed is the way the traditional Jewish salt beef, or the Texan style smoked Brisket is served. Check out DJ BBQ’s stonking recipe on FoodTube. Also the extremely tasty pastrami is done this way too.

However I like to have mine, boned and rolled, it make the joint a bit easier to handle. So let’s turn this joint into a thing of wonder.

I like to brown my joint, and always look to add flavour add every opportunity, so do this in dripping, you could go for a healthier option. Don’t forget to do the ends too. This gives us great colour and flavour through the caramelisation. When you have achieved the desired sear/crust, remove the brisket, now deglaze the pan, scraping all the marmitey crusty bits off the bottom with a splash of liquid of your choice, stock, beer, or wine, whatever you fancy. Now add some veggies, onions, carrots, celery, squash, the varieties are endless. Don’t forget some herbs, bay leaf, and thyme work for me. Now return the Brisket to the pan and top the liquid up to about half way on the joint. Bring it to a blipping boil, cover, turn down and cook low and slow for 4-6 hours. It’s gotta be served with some creamy mash for my idea of heaven.

Steve West

About the author

I used to love going into the butchers when I was a kid. I remember the smell of the sawdust and watching the butchers cut a great big steak off of a rump, and being fascinated. I've been a butcher since I was at school and started working for my childhood sweetheart’s father in his butchery. Before that I'd always wanted to be a zookeeper and work with animals! In 1986 I won the Welsh Lamb Butcher of the Year award and got to give a presentation to Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, which is a definite career highlight. I’ve always worked with quality meat but never with beef that’s been hung for as long as it is at Jamie's Barbecoa, where I now work. Our dry-ageing and the fact that we're so selective about what we sell makes our products special. I haven't yet seen a single bit of meat that I wouldn't want to sell and it’s such a buzz when customers come back and tell me how good last night’s meal was. There’s quality throughout the range – it’s good being an ambassador for that.

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  • Linda Bush

    I have never been a beef fan…. but this has made my mouth water and I will be talking to my Butcher on Saturday so I can try it out on Sunday.

  • Isabelle Hierholtz

    All I would add is: to complete the perfect experience, make sure you pick up your brisket from Steve. He can tenderise meat by just glancing at it, yep, he’s that good!