Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Idle Hours...Barbecued Oven Braised Brisket

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Although I should be posting a recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers, I thought you might be feeling the same way we feel in this house by now.  Anything but!

In spite of the fact that Madame Mere's apartment IS FINISHED, I still spend my days waiting for FEDEX, UPS, or some other delivery service delivering merchandise she has ordered through the various catalogues

A corner of the great room where she sits in my daughter's big chair is now her designated office. Mail, new issues of Hola, Veranda and House and Garden, with dog eared pages of ideas for the future decor of her rooms, sit in neat stacks on a tv table.  Then there are the catalogues, including Ballards, which she insists on pronouncing "Ballarde" in spite of my corrections, to no avail.  At the bottom of the pile are her insurance statements and claims, her bills and checkbooks.  The world stops for her when her favorite telenovela, India, is rerun on Telemundo from 12 to 2 while she has lunch and her lady in waiting hems her curtains.  We should all be so lucky.

She has now roped me into watching this popular soap opera but I do so, upstairs in my study, while I check my emails, work on the blog and get dressed.   Three o'clock is the magic hour when I  get in the car and go, anywhere, to see what real people do with their lives.  Sometimes I take her with me to shop for her things; others I just wander, aimlessly.

Today we are waiting for her rug from "Ballarde" which is to be delivered between 11:30 and 3:30, another wasted day.  She has already announced we are going to get our nails done after that. but we don't.  The rug arrived, we both hated it and I spent the rest of the afternoon arranging to have it picked up and ordering a new one.

I have been using the idle hours to make something that needs to be in the oven for a long time and these days are perfect for that.  I can't stand to waste time and braising a piece of meat for three hours is my idea of justifying the time. This oven braised beef brisket was posted on My Kitchen By The Lake blog a long time ago and I have made it a couple of times to rave reviews from the family.  I think it is time it appears on Lindaraxa.

Brisket is a large flat cut that comes from the chest of a steer, just below the chuck.  Its a tough fatty piece that when cured in a brine is called corned beef.  Because it is impossible to overcook, brisket is a favorite of home cooks, particularly for Sunday family dinners.

What is known as the first cut, thin cut or flat cut is leaner than the less expensive second cut aka the point cut.  This is what is preferred for this recipe because its more flavorful, and succulent.

You don't need to be a great cook to make this, just lots of time on your hands or a Madame Mere in your life.  Mashed potatoes and my aunt's Caramelized Baked Apples will make you look like  a real Betty Crocker.

Barbecued Oven Braised Brisket


1.4 lbs beef brisket, preferably second cut
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
2 TB vegetable oil
1 large onion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced.
1 cup beef stock
1 cut tomato sauce or tomato juice
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
parchment paper


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Pat brisket dry and rub salt and pepper all over it.

In a hot skillet add brisket and brown on each side.

Place brisket in 13 in x 9 in baking dish.

Add onion to skillet and stir frequently until browned, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add beef stock, bring to a boil and deglace pan scraping bits for 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients  and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Pour sauce over brisket ,cover with sheet of parchment paper and cover tightly with foil.  Braise in the oven , turning meat once, until fork tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for 20 minutes and slice across the grain.  Spoon sauce over it before serving.

The brisket is best if made the day before and up to 4 days before.  Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Photos Lindaraxa


  1. I'm not much of a meat eater, but I love brisket. I can never decide whether I like it better hot the first day, or later cold brisket sandwiches with mustard. Just curious, what is the purpose of the parchment paper unde the foil? My mother usually just makes it in a covered roaster.

    1. Just to create a better steaming environment. Covered roaster is just as good!

  2. "Three o'clock is the magic hour when I get in the car and go, anywhere, to see what real people do with their lives."

    DearHeart, what you have written here today [not the recipe] is so painfully familiar that I'll tell you something I never told anyone. When I was in a similar place as yours, I preplanned my afternoon escape even every dayt, I drew immense joy just thinking about what lay ahead. At the right moment [and only we know what "right moment" means], I'd back out of the driveway, not even saying goodbye or where I was going, I just LEFT. I drove to the airport [50 minutes away], parked, and took myself to the general waiting area, sat down anonymously and watched the same communal TV that every between-flights traveler watched, I just sat there, no one knew me, I knew no one, I sat there and BREATHED. Eventually I recognized myself as I was gently surfacing from misery, so I went back down the escalators, to my car, paid, and drove back to what used to be my home/sanctuary. And this went on for some time, with daily variations according to MY OWN WHIM AND CONTROL. Carry on, you're doing great!

    1. Thanks anonymous. Time does take care of everytjhing. I find I need these three o*clock escapades less as time goes by.l

  3. I've never made a brisket and I think it's high time. Love your 3 o'clock time dedicated to yourself. We all need to escape from time to time, even if there's no Madame Mere in our lives.

    1. I had never made brisket either and to tell you the truth was a bit hesitant as I envisioned hours of sitting by a fire. This is painless and very, very good particularly on a cold winter night with mashed potatoes. Actually, even in Florida this would be good!

  4. That sounds delicious. grandmother used to make something like that. Must try it.

    1. This is a typical grandmother recipe. Do try it, you will like it.

  5. Your recipe looks so tasty! I never made a brisket, but went and got all the ingredients today and will make it for dinner tomorrow. Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks!

    1. Do let me know how you like it. I don't think you can go wrong!.

  6. Hello: I don't envy you, having to completely disrupt your life to take in your mother. Having said that, I am curious if she has access to the internet, as your mentions of her are always filled with resentment bordering on overt dislike. Don't get me wrong -- you might have every reason to resent/dislike her, but if she, or one of her friends, were to see this blog, which is not, after all, anonymous, might she be terribly hurt to find out your true feelings? I, too, have a "complicated" history with my mother, but she is elderly and widowed and I wouldn't want her to know some of my harsher thoughts about her.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I am sorry you have gotten that impression but if you go back a few posts you will find that contrary to "resentment bordering on overt dislike" I have the highest regard for my mother and my previous posts referring to her have dealt mostly with the positive activities we have engaged in since she got here. Sure we have our disagreements, what mother and daughter hasn't; and sure I get frustrated and take off once in a while but that is part and parcel of living together no matter the age or the relationship. If my feelings were as negative as you have portrayed them, I would have never entertained the thought of bringing her to live with us. Instead she will spend the rest of her life surrounded by those she loves and love her and not in some home for the elderly surrounded by strangers. That IS what's important don't you think?, not the nuances of daily life

      There is nothing in this blog that I would not want my mother, or anyone else for that matter, to see. As a matter of fact not only does she read it but a couple of her friends subscribe and call her on occasion to comment about it. I appreciate your concern, anonymous, and as you have been frank with me I will be the same with you. Try to mend fences with your mother before it's too late. You will sleep better at night.

  7. I once worked with a group of Jewish women all who were self-proclaimed experts at brisket. Having never made one myself (and not being a Jew) but being a confident cook I volunteered to bring the brisket to our annual office holiday gathering. Part of the impetus was hearing the various methods that these women would espouse as "their recipe" and "the best". The ingredients list would include things such as Lipton's French onion soup mix, Coca~cola, and bottled Heinz chili sauce. I'm not opposed to convenience but these things were appalling to me. The method I settled upon came from Cook's Illustrated magazine and was straight forward enough. The one thing that it had you do that makes complete sense is to make it one day, let it cool in the sauce and refrigerate over night. The next day you take it out of the sauce and slice it while cold then re-warm in the sauce, thus eliminating shredding the meat which is difficult to avoid when this particular cut is sliced when hot. In any event a brisket is a nice thing to have in ones repertoire. As for my brisket at the office holiday party, I think everyone enjoyed it and even though it was very good and I made it for several years in a row, there was always someone who volunteered that I should have "their recipe".

    1. Dear Roy,

      I found myself nodding and smiling while reading your comment. You could substitute Cuban for Jewish and you would get the same reaction.

      I will check Cook's for their recipe. It makes sense but I will tell you that while I'm sure this is not the best brisket recipe in the world, the meat doesn't shred when you cut it. That's one of the things that surprised me and the reason I have kept on making it. One of these days I will try another recipe to compare, perhaps the one you suggested from Cook's or one from a good Jewish cookbook. There's always room for improvement, except with my Cuban recipes which are the best! Thanks for your comment.

  8. Your brisket sounds wonderful and I agree that the second cut is best. I will try it soon. Love that your Mother is so engaged in everything; Ballard, Veranda, getting her nails done. She sounds like a very interesting and engaging person.

    1. She adores her apartment and has had a lot of fun decorating, or shall we say, redecorating it. I just wait and sign for the stuff! It's also good to see her so excited about herself and her new life. Change is good,

  9. Could it be anonymous might be jealous? Sounds like a bitter dumb..s to me.
    She should only see the queens castle and servant, not to mention the cook.
    Why are these people always anonomous??? Go away and play in another yard. Don't come back here where we a friendly, caring and genuinely care about each other.


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