Entry Level Kitchen

No Experience Necessary

Helen’s Beef Brisket: An Epic Cooking Venture October 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — entrylevelkitchen @ 8:39 pm

Alana and I have decided that we cook way too much. Since moving in about two months ago, we have already had to buy olive oil (we moved in with three bottles), salt and pepper. Seriously?! In my last apartment a bottle of olive oil would last for three months–but to be fair, I had a tiny kitchen and ate more Trader Joe’s frozen Indian meals than home cooked dinners.


Anyway, we cook too much. We decided this while making tonight’s dinner, a roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and braised red cabbage.


Yeah. We cook too much.


Whatever. Here’s a kitten.



My coworkers and I have started having Friday potlucks, where everyone brings a part of the meal and we have lunch together. The theme of the last potluck was Jewish food, which was inspired when my boss pulled some smoked salmon out of her fridge and saying, “I really need to use this up.”


Her idle comment inspired the following feast: bagels with smoked salmon, spinach and cheese kugel, matzo ball soup, potato latkes, spinach burekas, and my mom’s beef brisket.


When I brought the tray in on that Friday morning, I explained to my non-Jewish coworkers, “This is a big deal. This is like my first Thanksgiving turkey.”


It’s not that I’m all that connected to my Jewish heritage, but this brisket is really good. I remember being SO excited every time my mom made it. We would eat the leftovers for days, and like a turkey, it was always better the next day.


Needless to say, as someone who is incapable of following a recipe and almost never cooks meat, this was a process.


I called my mom maybe six or seven times in the days before cooking it to get her advice. I went to three groceries stores to get the right cut of meat. I even watched this Youtube video, at my mom’s insistence.


I’m pretty sure it was a success, although I gave clear instructions to everyone that I would only accept positive feedback. I mean, it’s my first brisket. Cut me a break. But I thought it was pretty good. I invited friends over on Friday night to help me finish the rest of it, and by the time it was done heating up in the oven the second time, the meat was perfectly tender and falling apart. Like I said, I am not usually a meat person, but damn that was good.


Here it is. The recipe. I am now maxed out on Jewishness for the rest of the year, thank you very much.


(Look at my artistic food stylings. It’s ironic, or something, okay?)

Mom’s Beef Brisket

Servings: 1 million

Prep time: 4 days of deep discussion with your Jewish mother


  • First-cut beef brisket. I bought 5 pounds which was insane. Most recipes said to buy 3 but I was really letting my inner Jew out, so I bought 5
  • 4 cups of ketchup (just go with it)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 jar of green olives
  • 1 jar of capers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot

First you have to sear the beef. Don’t worry, this is not scary. Make sure to put salt and pepper on both sides and then all you have to do it put it in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. Just get it brown but don’t cook it all the way through. This is going to smell REALLY good, and you’re going to be all, “Man, vegetables never smell like this. Why don’t I ever eat steak?”

Then you mix together all of the above ingredients except for the carrots and onions. You’re going to chop those up and put them in the pan with the meat. After both sides of the meat are browned, put it in the pan and cover it with carrots and onions. I even put some on the bottom before I put the meat in. Then cover EVERYTHING with sauce. The more the better.

Cook it in the oven for three and a half hours. Go watch a movie or something. Do NOT fall asleep. You will be so sad if you do.

Final step: feast!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s