Cooking Tips

Best Beef Brisket

Best Beef Brisket

Serves: 8-10 

Prep Time: 10 minutes 

Cooking Time: 4 hours 15 minutes 

Making a giant, roasted brisket for your family or friends is basically the best way to say “I love you” through a dish. It’s so comforting, and it’s a showstopper that’s actually ridiculously simple to make. That can be our secret, though.

While the process is simple, there are a lot of ways to make mistakes. Make sure to follow these steps and you’ll end up with a beautifully tender piece of meat (and hopefully, lots of leftovers for sandwiches or hash!) every time.

The only “ingredients” in this brisket are salt and pepper, so you want to make sure they do their job. Go for kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (no shakers here) to maximise flavour. Take your brisket out of the fridge, season generously on all sides, and leave it out until it gets to room temperature to begin the tenderising process. Think dry brine, but easier.

Choose the right roasting pan. Grab your largest, heaviest, high-sided pan. A disposable pan is okay if it's all you've got, but a heavy duty one will ensure even cooking and caramelisation.

Fat is your friend. Always roast fat-side-up. When you do that, the fat acts as a self-baster, dripping onto the brisket itself and the potatoes, allowing everything to braise. You don’t want too much fat, though, or things could get greasy.

Nail the timing. Our fool proof ratio is 18 minutes per 450g (pound). Stick to that and you'll be golden. Ovens can vary, though, so to really be sure your brisket is cooked through and tender, check with a fork towards the end. Poke it into the middle—the fork should go through the meat easily, with no resistance.

Make it ahead of time. If you can, try to roast your brisket a day ahead of when you plan to serve it. After roasting, let it sit and cool slightly, then slice against the grain and place back into its juices. Letting it sit in that liquid allows the brisket to really soak up all those delicious flavours. You know how chicken soup is always better the day after you make it? Yeah, it's like that. Then, reheat at a low temperature before you're ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS

1 kg beef brisket
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 kg baby potatoes, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
720 ml low-sodium beef stock

STEP 1 

Preheat oven to 220°C (200ºC fan). Season brisket generously with salt and pepper on both sides.

STEP 2

Place potatoes in a large roasting pan and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top of potatoes, fat side up.

STEP 3

Roast until brisket develops a deeply golden brown crust on top and potatoes are cooked, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

STEP 4

Reduce oven to 150°C (130ºC fan). At this point, remove potatoes if roasted potatoes are desired, or leave in pan for stewed potatoes. Add stock to pan and season beef again with salt and pepper. Cover pan tightly with foil.

STEP 5

Return to oven and continue cooking until brisket is tender and a fork meets almost no resistance when inserted, about 2 hours 30 minutes.

STEP 6

Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing (against the grain for tender slices!). Serve with potatoes.

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Rick Steins Stress Free Christmas Dinner

Rick Steins Stress Free Christmas Dinner

8 simple tips for a stress-free Christmas dinner by Rick Stein

Food galore, drinks a flowing and being surrounded by friends and family. Who doesn’t love this time of year? To many though, the thought of having to cook Christmas dinner can be a very daunting task – especially when doing it for the first time. That’s why we’ve put these tips together with the help of Ian Salmon, Head Chef at Rick Stein, Sandbanks. 

1) Organisation! This is number one on our list, and the most important tip of all. In the days leading up to Christmas make sure you’ve got absolutely everything you need, from the obvious like a turkey, potatoes and pigs in blankets, to checking you’ve got enough oil to cook with and plenty of salt and pepper for seasoning too. We recommend getting all your food and drink shopping done by December 22nd – that way you can avoid a last-minute trolley dash around your local supermarket.

2) Brine your Turkey on Christmas Eve: As turkey is a lean meat, it can become dry quite quickly, so Ian recommends to brine your bird for around 12 hours before popping it in the oven to cook. During this process, it’ll absorb extra moisture, which in turn helps it stay moist and juicy, and the brining liquor will also help to season the meat. To do this you’ll need a large pot or bucket, filled with a 10% salt water mix, 2 tbsp of sugar and lots of aromats (black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, a couple of bay leaves and orange peel).

3) Have you got the right equipment for the job? Make sure you’ve got plenty of oven trays, pots and pans and serving dishes. Oh, and not forgetting a new roll of extra-long tin foil – super handy for helping to keep things warm before you serve dinner. Another thing to check is your knifes – make sure they’re nice and sharp, as this will make cooking faster and easier.

4) Prep your veg the night before: Peel potatoes, carrots, parsnips and any other veg you’re having and leave them in pans of cold water overnight. This will save you a lot of faff and additional mess on Christmas morning. If you’ve got lots of space in your fridge (unlikely), you could even pre-cook your potatoes and parsnips on Christmas Eve to save even more time.

5) Get your timings for the big day sorted: Plan exactly how long everything takes to cook and make yourself a to-do list. EG/ Turkey goes in the oven at 7.30am, check it at 8.30am and lower the temperature and so on…

6) Keep it fun, get the family involved: Christmas is all about seeing family and friends, and enjoying quality time together. So, why not get everyone involved in the Christmas dinner process (just make sure you forget the old proverb ‘too many cooks…’).

7) Buy a Christmas Pudding to cook in the microwave: By doing this you’ll save over an hour, as cooking your pudding this way should only take 5-10 minutes. Giving you back some vital time to host or concentrate on juggling the other five things you’ll no doubt be cooking. 

8) Wash as you go: If like us, when you cook a roast dinner you use every pot, pan and utensil in sight, clean up as you go (where possible). Even if this just means packing the dishwasher before carving the turkey, it’ll insure you get to relax and enjoy the after-dinner festivities with your family – rather than being chained to a washing-up bowl for an hour after you’ve eaten.

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