Saturday, April 2, 2016

First Annual Brisket Cook-off

Ask me my favorite thing to cook and I always say brisket. You might think that sounds a little boring, but brisket lends itself to endless variations. Whether it is braised or smoked the flavor possibilities are numerous. But now the golden brisket award and bragging rights are at stake in the First Annual Brisket Cook-off at temple. My friend Jenni Logan and I teamed up to enter and decided her mom's recipe was our best shot at winning. For this type of event we thought traditional was the right way to go. We're not going for a trendy or 'out there' recipe, but rather something tried and true that will bring back great memories from the tasters.

Jenni and I "met" in the Boston University Masters in Gastronomy program a few years ago. I say "met" because it turns out that way back in high school our paths crossed in the Midwest. We even found pictures with us together at the same summer camp events! Since then we've shared a love of cheese, cooking, and plenty of homework! 
We bring you Jenni's family recipe for brisket and hope that you enjoy as much as they do! It is a sweet and sour style recipe that produces melt in your mouth slices. Stay tuned for the cook-off results! Want to see more pictures and know results sooner? Follow along on Instagram

Mom's Yummy Brisket
1 (3-4 pound) brisket (7 pounds for 10-12 people - double entire recipe)
14 ounces Heinz ketchup
2 large white onions (thinly sliced)
1 lemon (juiced)
1 teaspoon mustard
2 squirts Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup water (adjust to consistency of a medium sauce)
Lawry's salt, black pepper
Garlic powder

1 9"x13" roasting pan
Pam non-stick cooking spray
Aluminum foil to cover and seal meat

Take roasting pan and Pam it. In a large mixing bowl, mix ketchup, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and water (you want a medium thickness (not to thin or thick!)). Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan. 

The brisket should have some fat on the top but not too much. Put Lawry's salt, pepper, and garlic powder on the brisket, season well. Place brisket in the pan. Cover the brisket pretty well with the sauce (you may have to add a little additional water). Add the sliced onions on the top of the brisket. Cover and seal the pan with the foil. 

Bake for at least 3 hours at 350 degrees or until very tender (fork should twist easily in the meat). Cool and slice (I use an electric knife). Be SURE to slice the meat against the grain. Return the meat to the pan, re-cover with the onions and sauce and re-foil. You can either freeze it our keep it in the refrigerator until you reheat and serve. Reheat the sliced brisket in the sauce at 350 degrees.

We used an 8 pound brisket (weighed before trimming fat). We cut into two pieces for ease of cooking.
The type of ketchup is a consideration! Heinz ketchup does have a distinct flavor. If you use another brand (like an organic ketchup), you can adjust the sweetness level with the amount of brown sugar you add.
We found that after slicing the meat needed to be heated fully through and cooked for about 45 minutes - 1 hour to become as tender as we wanted.
You could cook this in a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours, checking at 4 hours on the tenderness.
If you make this for Passover, check your sauce ingredients to be sure they are kosher for Passover.

If you are looking for even more brisket ideas, try these:
New England Maple Coffee Brisket (about halfway down the post)
Smoked Brisket
Smoked Brisket, Version 2
Passover Brisket (with Manishevitz!)
Fun ways to use leftover brisket: Beef and Biscuit Pie
Slow Cooker Brisket

Here are a few shots of the competition! We had a lovely spring snowstorm to start our day - perfect brisket weather. While we didn't win we did have a blast (pretending we were in a Top Chef style competition!). We'll be back next year for another great time.

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