I was never a fan of meat as a child. I’d avoid it at all costs, and while this never extended to the ubiquitous Monday mince and tatties I far preferred the childhood comforts of macaroni and cheese, or that eighties classic; chicken kiev! In fact such was my loathing of meat in its purest form that it played a large part, alongside my teenage animal welfare mindset, in instigating eight years of vegetarianism in the 1990s. However the one cut of meat that I always recall enjoying was brisket. I can actually remember asking for it when I was given the choice of the family meal, such was my meat ambivalence in those days that this memory is still ingrained in my psyche. Possibly because of the smells that permeated the house of a rich gravy as it slowly boiled, the juices finding the furthest reaches of the meat and forcing out the dry chewiness that would strike fear into my heart. Brisket has always held an affection for me.
I’ve experimented with a short fast boil and a long slow braise and have now landed on my favourite way to bring the flavours of this wonderful cheap cut to life. a very long, very slow and very tepid bath in whisky. In fact it’s more like a puddle than a bath. For this dish you want to try and get a squat, almost symmetrical piece with a nice marbling of fat. You want it to cook evenly and the fat to soak through the meat, leaving it to glisten while the edges become tantalisingly caramelised. You can serve it with mashed potatoes, chips, on a baguette with pickles and mayonnaise or simply freshly shredded in the middle of the table with a bottle of beer and a fork (maybe) for everyone.
10 hour brisket
500-700g rolled beef brisket
50ml whisky (I find peaty works best)
Salt and pepper to season
1. Set the oven to 120C
2. Rub the brisket all over with a good grinding of salt and pepper, place in a shallow ovenproof tray such as a white enamel ashet
3. Pour over the whisky and cover well with foil. Place in the middle of the oven for 10 hours. Keep an eye after 5 or 6 hours to make sure that it hasn’t dried out completely, if it has add a splash of water.
4. When cooked it should pull apart easily. Do this then pour over the cooking juices and serve.