Even though I'm "The Midwesterner" at the cafe, right now we live in the western part of the Midwest.
Open spaces, big skies, antelope, coyotes...
...and cattle. Lots and lots of cattle.
What do you think happens when you add multiple-thousands of acre sized ranches with tens of thousands of cattle?
|This is what the western prairie looks like in April. By June the grass|
is knee-high and emerald green.
Once the grass starts greening up and the spring calves have all arrived, each rancher needs to round up the cow/calf pairs and bring them in to a central location. The calves are roped, vaccinated, given a quick once-over and branded...all in about a minute each.
Starting late April through Memorial Day, ranchers meet at each other's spreads to join in the work - and fun - and the traditional branding day meal.
This branding day spread is a big deal. This is where the rancher's wives can really show off what they can do - I mean besides working alongside their husbands day after day.
One of the traditional meals is brisket.
I don't have a branding crew to feed, but I did get a brisket with the half steer we put in our freezer last January. I knew that somewhere along the way, I'd have to fix it.
So I went to the internet to look for recipes. I could have "corned" it, and had corned beef. (Yes, that was tempting!) Or I could have smoked it (but we don't have a smoker, like Mindy did when she fixed her brisket. You can read her post here.).
I ended up at the Pioneer Woman's website, and found a recipe I could fix in my kitchen. Here's the link to the original recipe.
Of course, I had to change things up a bit so I could use what I had in my pantry. Here's the recipe I ended up with:
Braised Beef Brisket
1/2 envelope onion soup mix (like Lipton)
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cups Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
4-6 pounds beef brisket
Now, to begin with, the brisket is a pretty tough piece of meat. It comes from the chest of the steer, and is tough and stringy.
That is, until you prepare it correctly. That's why corned beef is so popular - the pickling breaks down the fibers of the meat. This marinade, combined with hours of slow roasting, does the same thing.
Combine the first seven ingredients in a large roasting pan. (Don't do what I did and try to make do with your 11x13 baking dish - but it was the only one that would fit in the refrigerator.)
Put the brisket in the liquid, turn it once to coat both sides, position the meat with the fat side up, and cover the pan tightly with foil.
Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
Read that again: refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours!
Remember all those tough fibers? This cut of meat needs that much time.
If you were smart and used a large roasting pan, you can just stick in the oven as-is.
But, of course, I needed to transfer mine to a larger pan.
Set your oven for 250°, and let that meat s-l-o-w-l-y roast for about eight to ten hours.
(Is anyone adding up the time? If you want to serve this meat for Thursday dinner, you need to start marinating it on Tuesday morning. This dish takes some planning ahead!)
About ten minutes before serving, take the meat out of the oven and let it sit for a few minutes.
Slice it thin, across the grain.
Serve it with some of the juice from your pan, and you have a delicious main dish!
And be sure to plan for leftovers!!!
When you're ready for the leftovers, take the cold brisket out of the fridge, and slice it.
Heat it up with some of the leftover juice and a few tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce...
|Ever since living in the Kansas City area many years|
ago, we've become BBQ sauce fanatics. This brand
is from Blue Springs, Missouri, and delicious!
Wait! I forgot to tell you the best part!
Even though these two meals were hours (and days!) in the marinating and cooking time, the actual prep time was only about ten minutes!
When you're on a deadline, that's priceless!