July 10, 2019
Locally-sourced Alberta beef brisket is classic Calgary Stampede fare; there are plenty ways to prepare it, even if you don’t happen to have a smoker in your back yard.
Brisket comes from the lower chest of the animal, which means it has plenty of tough connective tissues, and benefits from a low, slow cooking time, making it the cut of choice for so many barbecue pit masters. Although they require a little more attention, these braising cuts are generally more forgiving, and the most flavourful.
Braising brisket with onions is a popular and traditional cooking method—one that requires a bit of advance planning, but not much actual work. This recipe comes from local chef/culinary educator Jacki Goldman, who has been making it for her family for years. Like so many braised dishes, the flavour improves after a night in the fridge—if you want a low-maintenance celebratory dinner, cool it down and refrigerate the day before you want to serve it, and reheat it when you’re ready for it.
3 white or yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves and cloves peeled
4-5 lb (2-2 1/2 kg) beef brisket
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
Starting about 48 hours in advance, line the bottom of a large roasting pan with onions and garlic. Lay the brisket on top. Pour soy sauce over the brisket, sprinkle with onion soup mix and rub all over the surface of the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, take the meat out of the fridge to take the chill off while you preheat the oven to 300°F. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or foil and roast for 3 hours, or until very tender. Set it aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. (Alternatively, let it rest for 20 minutes, then slice and serve right away with the onions and pan juices.)
To reheat the brisket for dinner, preheat oven to 325°F, remove any solidified fat from the brisket, slice the cold meat across the grain and spread slices out in the roasting pan (or another baking dish) with the onions, garlic and liquid. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
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