Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fun Playing With Myer USA Prime Brisket

This year, the Jewish High Holy Days came early (as you surely know by now - they are never on time!). Since I was busy with Regional Gathering food preparation, I wound up rushed and only made a small Rosh Hashonah holiday dinner for a few friends. I'm glad that I did, though, because I got to work with  (and then to eat) the most amazing brisket I have ever tasted. 

I initially ordered straight from my comfort zone: one first cut brisket flat, please. Then, Hank at Mister Brisket told me of a new product they carry - Myer USDA Prime Whole Briskets. I'd never cooked the whole brisket before, and the ones I've seen others cook always look sooo big.  But because Myer raises their Angus cattle without antibiotics or hormones, on grass and feed until "corn finishing," the product is smaller than commercial beef. Was I willing to take a chance on cooking it? Hell yes!

This is the whole brisket, but was about the size and weight of a conventional first cut

I had parsnips left over from soup-making, so they joined the sliced onions in the bottom of the roaster.

This is how my Mommy made it - rubbed with garlic granules (from Heather's Heat and Flavor), Sweet Paprika (ditto), Telicherry Pepper (ditto), Kosher Salt, and a bit of hot Hungarian Paprika made from our garden peppers (ok, I lied - my mother would never put anything remotely spicy on anything she cooked).

Here, we see the brisket covered with Mom's secret brisket weapon: Manischewitz Tomato-Mushroom Sauce. But since we also had an abundance of perfectly ripe tomatoes (and since I thought it might balance nicely with the parsnips) - we also added lots of fresh tomato to the pan. Cover with parchment paper and heavy-duty foil, then roast at 325 degrees for a bunch of hours.

Once the brisket is cooked about halfway - it will look like the above photo (after you slice it, of course).  And then - back into the pan to finish!

Unfortunately, I didn't see the episode of The French Chef where Julia Child cooks brisket until the day after I made this (on the Cooking Channel), so I didn't know that you are supposed to separate the flat from the rest of the brisket before you slice them, because the grain runs in a different direction in each section of the meat. And do you know what - this meat was so incredibly tender and tasty that it mattered not at all.

This lovely slice came from the flat. I marveled at the exquisite taste of the meat and the amazingly silky taste of the fat (which I would normally cut away and discard).

This slice was from the "other" part of the brisket, and though it is clearly sliced with and not against the grain - it was tender and delicious.

This post is about brisket, but I am so happy with my chicken soup and kreplach (meat dumplings) that I can't resist showing them off here:

My potato kugel (first one that I've made in years - Bob usually makes it) also came out fluffily wonderful:

By Yom Kippur (a week later), we'd finished the kugel, though we'd saved brisket and kreplach in the freezer. We decided to fry up some kreplach as a side dish to have with our brisket (this is how I'll get us back to brisket) -

A hearty meal to help prepare for the fast. And that brisket just kept getting better and better with each day that it lasted.

And now it's all gone.

But I know where I can get more: Cleveland's very own Mister Brisket! And the Meyer's product costs the same as the conventional first cut brisket - such a deal! This was the most fun I've ever had cooking  a brisket and the result was nothing short of spectacular - between the quality of the meat and the addition of fresh tomatoes, it rates as the tastiest brisket I have ever bitten into.

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