Sunday, January 23, 2011

Risky Brisket

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In which I learn to read all the directions first.

A couple years ago, my mom got me a subscription to Cooking Light magazine. At the time, I was all, "Yeah, RIGHT. I will get right on board with making what I'm sure are really YUMMY recipes. Because 'Light' recipes MUST be YUMMY. They will be dripping with delicious fat much like I am dripping with sarcasm."

However, a lot of the recipes ARE really yummy...and there are a LOT of recipes. I have so many torn out magazine pages, that I've been trying to make a few a week so I know if I should keep them around or not. This week I decided to go nuts and make a brisket. I say "go nuts" because it's about an 8-hour process and I have never made brisket before or been taught how to do it and rampant cooking experimentation just sounds CRAZY. Perhaps I have a low threshold of crazy.

Anyway, we made a special trip to get dark beer (neither of us drinks beer, really, unless we're in Belgium or Germany), and to get a brisket. All I knew was that I needed a "5 pound flat brisket". This should have made some alarm bells go off in my head. Bells that sounded like "wow, that's a big piece of meat" or "do you really have a pan big enough to cook that in?" or even "how many servings does that MAKE, anyway?"

But nothing bothered my blissful brisket anticipation until the butcher handed me the hunk of meat. Um, whoah. That's a lot of meat. I wonder how many servings this makes, anyway?

When I got home and actually read the recipe, I discovered the answer is sixteen. Sixteen (16)!! We are only two...well, I suppose we'll be freezing some. Anyway, no big deal. Brisket all week! It's brisketopia! Brisket-palooza!

The next morning, I pulled the massive bulk of meat out and read, "In a roasting pan...."

In a what, now? What pan? Roasting what? What what?

Ummmm.... I don't have one of those. What the HECK am I going to brown this giant slab of meat in?

I actually pulled out my wok. That...was not going to work. But under the wok was my grill pan! That might just work!
"Just" being the key word.

Uh, OK, but now I'm supposed to add 4 cups of water, 3 cups of beer, 2 cups of carrots, a cup of onions, and a partridge in a pear tree...that is NOT all going to fit in that pan. WAIT! I have this giant Pampered Chef stoneware dish...maybe that will work...
Yes! And fortunately, I am fantastic at balancing and not a klutz AT ALL, so there should be NO PROBLEM getting this into the oven without disaster!

Actually, I did get it into the oven without disaster. I kept an eye on it for a while, because technically I was supposed to boil the mixture first, but eventually I stopped paying attention. After all, it was going to be in there for four hours, and it hadn't moved in 20 minutes...haha.


I looked in about two hours later and that sucker had bucked up like a...well, like a piece of meat that's shrinking unevenly as it cooks, I suppose. Yikes!
And THAT's when I remembered that I was supposed to COVER the thing. Well, dang. I bet if I'd had a real roasting pan and been able to put in that last two cups of water, I wouldn't now have a weird misshapen brisket with dessicated carrots and crispy thyme on top.

So I transferred it to yet another container: a deeper Dutch oven that I considered starting with but wasn't big enough before the brisket shrank.

Well, perhaps I shouldn't use SUCH a restful sound, since there was still a lot of transferring, straining, fat skimming and reducing left to go. I don't have a final picture, because...well...cooked brisket isn't all that impressive. But it was GOOD!

It probably took you roughly as long to read this post as it did to make this brisket.


Jackie's Stitches said...

Too funny! You sound like you're the kind of cook I am - the kind that every dish in the house is dirty before it's all over! I'm glad it was good because there is a lot of it.

Delusional Knitter said...

You are not alone ... and thanks for letting me know its not just me. I once got ingredients for a recipe and then when I went to make it I noticed it said, "... in your 6 QT or larger crock pot." And um, well, we had a 2 QT at the tme ... we have a much bigger one now, I had to go out and buy it to make that recipe (we planned on it at some point anyway).

P.S. I thought the same thing, but found out Cooking Light does have super yummy recipes!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giggle with your cooking experiment ... definitely something I would do!! Glad to hear it turned out well in the end ... it certainly looked scrummy from this side of the screen! :D

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