Monday, August 31, 2015

Brisket revised, but still A Western Tradition

You can preorder Hannah'sChoice here!
Jan here, with a recipe rerun. That's what happens when you're on a deadline! But the book is in good shape, and I'll be hitting "send" to start "Mattie's Pledge" winging its virtual way toward my editor tomorrow afternoon (I hope!).

This book, the one due tomorrow, is the second one in my Amish historical trilogy from Revell Publishers. The first in the series, "Hannah's Choice" is coming out in January!

You can order "A Home for His Family" here.
Meanwhile, my third book from Love Inspired Historical, "A Home for His Family," is releasing tomorrow!

So exciting stuff is going on around here, and cowboys are going to be the center of attention!

Western style brisket is on the menu today. This is a repeat recipe from a while ago, with an update because in cowboy country, once you let people know you want to fix a brisket, you get loads of advice.

I would be reluctant to change my original recipe from The Pioneer Woman (below), but then I tasted the brisket my friend, Mel, fixed.

Oh, my, was it tender, moist and delicious!

So I made some slight changes in the recipe I shared last year, and they'll show up in bold italics as we go along.

So here's the amended post:

Even though I'm "The Midwesterner" at the cafe, right now we live in the western part of the Midwest.

Cowboy country.

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?

Branding time.

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. 

This is where I changed the recipe after tasting Mel's version - extend that time to twenty-four hours.

Yes, you read that right!

(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!)

Amended time: start roasting the meat on Wednesday night for Thursday dinner - and start marinating it on Monday morning.

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!

...and you have Sunday night supper all set to go.

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!

Jan here again - what is your favorite last-meal-before-the-deadline recipe?


  1. Somehow I don't think converting that brisket recipe to tofu will work so I'll just take your word that it's delish. :-) Love that your Revel book is coming out in January and love the cover. So excited for that! I'll be sure to order A Home for His Family when I make up my Love Inspired order tomorrow. Excited to read that one too. How are you keeping your cowboys and your Amish straight? Do your Amish characters speak with a twang or your cowboys say 'ja' sometimes?

    1. LOL! I can just hear those Amish with their western twang!

      And I think you're smart to avoid this recipe. The tofu just wouldn't be the same, especially after the 24 hours of cooking. But you could go for the sides. Wouldn't a plate of roasted fall veggies go great with the brisket? And don't forget dessert!

    2. I'd never forget dessert, Jan! Speaking of which my dear daughter is stopping by with chocolate mousse cake!!!! My reward for dealing with my mice infested basement! Shudder.

  2. I love all these books getting done, coming out, being released, deadlines, the whole 9 yards! Happy dancing for you! So stinkin' fun!

    I want to go see Kav's daughter and eat mousse cake. Because mousse is almost like mouse and it's just so fitting, Kavalicious!

    I'm telling you, glue traps and poison... says the woman who had a baby squirrel in her bathroom.


    1. When I read Kav's comment, the mousse/mouse connection flew right by me! What a great idea.

      Of course, mousse is always welcome. Critters - furry or otherwise - are not.

      And thank you, Ruthy! It is stinkin' fun!

  3. So much book excitement for you, Jan! Congrats! And good luck getting that book sent out. :)

  4. A whirlwind of books! And the brisket looks super tasty... I think I might try it. I'm afraid to do the BBQ treatment on the whole thing, incase nobody likes it, so I'll try it on a small amount. Stay tuned...

  5. Congrats on all the book excitement, Jan. SO cool.

    I always manage to get confused on the cutting across the grain. Once I start to do it,the grain seems to be going any which way.

    This sounds delicious though!