Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Brisket and Rolling the Dice

The other night I was making a brisket when my husband, the Center of the Universe poked his head into the kitchen, following the smell of meat. It’s one of his primary skills.

CoTU: “I thought you usually make brisket in the oven. What’s with the pot-on-the-stove technique?”

Me: “I don’t just usually make it in the oven. I always make it in the oven. This is a true aberration.”

CoTU: “Would you care to elaborate?”

Me: “Well, I have always made my patented fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth, yummerific brisket with a packet of Lipton’s onion soup mix, and I was appalled to find, just as I was searing the meat, that we have none of the requisite ingredient in the house.”

CoTU: “Would you like me to go to Dierberg’s and get you some?”

(He’s always happy to help if the outcome is edible.)

Me: “Thanks, but you’re too late. I was too tired to go, and didn’t want to ask you, so I pulled out some other brisket recipes I’ve been saving. I always thought they sounded good, but didn’t want to tinker with success. Tonight I had little choice.”

CoTU: “So you’re gambling with a 5-pound slab of meat, just to save a buck eighty on onion soup mix?”

Me: “No, I’m lazy, not cheap. In order to save a trip to the store, I’m trying a different recipe. This one happens to call for cooking on the stove, not in the oven. Besides, the primary benefit was that I had all the ingredients on hand.”

CoTU: “I can’t believe you’d risk a big beautiful roast like that.”

Me: “You know, it’s like me cutting my own hair. I used to think that I did it to save money. I now realize that I just happen to like cutting my own hair, and I think I do just about as well as the pros. Well, I like trying new recipes, and the dread of another trip out in the rainy weather impelled me to go this route. Sue me.”

CoTU: “No problem—it’s not like I’m not going to eat it. But it is a gamble…”

Me: “Hey, so were you, but I took a shot, and here we are all these years later!”

CoTU: “Because you were out of onion soup mix?”

Me: “No. Because I was willing to try something new. See? It worked out great for both of us, and this will, too.”

Note: The brisket was awesome! Here’s the recipe, and I’ll also give you the old time-honored, uber-simple one whose absence CoTU was lamenting .  Hmmm... I should have taken pictures, because a picture is worth  a thousand calories. 

First the new:

Sweet and Sour Tangy Brisket

Hunk o’ meat—recipe says 3-4 lbs., obviously I used a 5-er

3-4 medium onions, sliced

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup ketchup

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup water

1. Saute the onions in a tablespoon of vegetable oil till translucent

2. Remove to a bowl

3. Sear the meat (both sides) in the same large skillet

4. Add the onions back to the pan and add the crushed garlic

5. Mix the vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup in a bowl

6. Add the water to the mixture you created

7. Pour all this into the pan with the meat and onions

8. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook 2-3 hours, till meat is fork-tender

Seriously, CoTU now thinks this has replaced the old favorite in my recipe repertoire, so we give it two thumbs up. Also, we had guests to share it with the first night, and they seemed to love it, too.

BTW, I always make meats like this the day before I want to serve them, so I can refrigerate them overnight, skim off any excess fat, and slice it while it’s cold—that way I can get the slices nice and thin.

Now for the old standard recipe…

Time-Honored Brisket

Same hunk o’ meat 3-4-5 pounds

Packet of Lipton's onion soup mix (probably one is good for meats up to 4 lbs. If your roast is larger, use some of the second packet from the box.)


1. Sear the meat in a large skillet in a teaspoon of vegetable oil

2. Place the meat in a 9 x 13” pan, sprayed with Pam

3. Sprinkle onion soup mix over the meat, and rub in with your fingers

4. Add about a cup of water

5. Seal the pan tightly with aluminum foil

6. Place in preheated 350° oven for 2-2 ½ hours, till tender

Voila—super easy, and super delicioso! Trust me—I’m known for my brisket!


  1. I'm lazy like that too. I'll try anything if it means not having to make a trip to the store. Both recipes sound delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  2. We were talking just the other day about the fact that some of our family just want to stay with the tried-and-true. And in Minnesota, if you don't like the new recipe, you just say, "Well, that was interesting."

  3. Thanks for the recipes! I've been trying to figure out how to make a good brisket.

  4. I suppose there's nothing odd about wanting to eat brisket at 7:58 a.m.

    Thanks for that ... I really should read your posts later in the day ;)

  5. I love me a good piece of meat! Sorry I have been MIA. Hope you have a good new years.

  6. I will send ALL the men in this family to Leah's for a brisket party.