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A-tasket, a-tisket, I love beef brisket!

MAR 25 @ 11:09

by HavensWestcliff

As someone who was vegetarian for 15 years, my meat-cooking experience has been somewhat limited in fact it has largely been confined to anything you can open and fling from its tray directly into a pan without actually having to touch it.  Its a sorry admission from the granddaughter of a butcher.

However, since my fall from the veggie wagon (at a barbeque where I consumed, in quick succession, a lamb chop, a piece of steak and some duck) I have slowly been adding meat dishes to my repertoire.  Very slowly eating it is one thing but preparing and cooking it is quite another and its taken me a while to be able to anoint a chicken with butter and shove half a lemon where half a lemon didnt really ought to be shoved, without having to breathe into a paper bag and fight the urge to fling the bird across the kitchen and run out screaming.  My poor Grandad

Still, slow and steady wins the race and I definitely felt like Id won a prize after my first attempt at cooking beef brisket.  What a revelation.  A beautiful and economical cut of meat, brisket is perfect for slow-cooking, emerging from the oven after several hours at a low heat, full of flavour and melting in the mouth.  And the effort to reward ratio is stacked nicely at the reward end of things after rubbing the meat with oil and stabbing it with garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme, you simply put it in a roasting tray, cover it with foil and stick it in the oven.  My only word of caution is in when you plan to serve it go for a late lunch or evening meal I say this as someone who found themselves in the kitchen at 6am with only a lark and the brisket for company, having invited friends for lunch at 1pm. 

Here is a rough guide to cooking brisket:

2 kg piece boned, rolled beef brisket (fresh, not salted)
4-5 garlic cloves, bruised
Good handful of thyme sprigs
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F.  Tuck the garlic and thyme into and under the meat and pour over 2-3 tbs of olive oil, massage in and season.  Roast for half an hour then remove from the oven, cover in foil, reduce the heat to gas mark 1/2/130C/250F and return to the oven for 4 hours.  You then baste the meat with its juices and return to the oven again for a further hour at gas 3/170C/325F.  At this point you can also add chunks of potato and shallots/baby onions, tossing them in the meat juices.

Birmingham-based Silverwood do a great range of roasting tins, available at a good specialist retailer.

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