A few weeks back, my friends and I gathered for dinner at a beautiful house in Maryland. While standing in the sprawling backyard, my friend and I shared our nostalgia for home – having a yard and a mailbox, being surrounded by furniture that doesn’t require assembly, etc. It was this legitimate homesickness that prompted me to ask my grandma for her famous brisket recipe (see below). My thinking was that cooking Nana’s brisket would make my apartment feel cozier by reminding me of family, and by default, home.
For those of you who read about the egg fiasco chronicled in my last post, you won’t be surprised to hear that this cooking experience wasn’t without its excitement. When the meat was finished, I pierced the meat with a fork to transfer it out of the aluminum pan onto a plate for slicing when the meat slipped off the fork, plopped into the broth below, and splattered my hair, face, and shirt with oily marinade. Luckily my friends were there to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, which helped cool the burn of embarrassment, but not the hot liquid on my skin (no worries though, there was no permanent damage). Yet again, it produced another learning experience, which I interpreted as: buy an apron and some tongs.
So how does the whole experience rank? On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “bad” and 5 being “good”:
Prep time: 5
Prep was limited to sauteing one large onion and sprinkling some spices on the meat. Also, the scent of sauteing onions gives visitors the impression that you are cooking something insanely delicious – added perk!
Overall ease: 4.5
It’s hard to believe I was ambivalent to cook a meat dish; this recipe was super easy.
Cook time: 2
Brisket requires a lot of attention. The hourly glazing with marinade poked a major hole in my plan to pass the time by sitting in the park playing a mean game of Scrabble. Rather, my cooking mates and I sat in my apartment to be on call for the requisite basting. If you are attempting this recipe, be sure to have some friends (and beverages) nearby to kill the time.
All the ingredients came to a little over $20, with the biggest ticket item being the meat.
After baking so many sweets, it was a nice change to make a main dish. Not only was the brisket juicy and flavorful, but the first bite transported me right to my grandparent’s dining room. I interpret that as a success.
Nana May’s Brisket
2-4 lb Flat cut brisket of beef
1 large onion
Salt, pepper, and garlic (for seasoning)
Basting liquid: Beef broth, apple juice, and ketchup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and saute one large onion in pan Season beef with salt, pepper, and garlic on place in roaster. Place sauteed onions on top of brisket. Cover roaster and cook for 1 hour. Turn and add liquid, cook one more hour. Turn, add liquid, and cook for one more hour. Slice meat against the grain before serving.