Monday, July 29, 2013

Meaty Monday: Summer Slow Cooker Braised Retro Brisket

A week or so ago, when it was impossibly hot and humid, I was lying under my AC vent dreaming of beef brisket. Even me, a recovering amateur BBQ competitor, likes to think about a juicy pot roast, something other than  grilled or barbecued meat. The very thought of running the oven for hours, even with AC going full tilt, just put me off when it's sweltering outside. But then I thought of my mother.

When the weather was really hot and sticky, as it usually is in Philadelphia in the summer, she would cook a pot roast over night, either in the oven or in her brand new electric crock, aka a slow cooker, which became quite popular when I was in high school. It always was made with a packet of onion soup, and a cup or two of Italian vermouth.We lived in a hundred-year-old house, and we had window air conditioners and whole house fans, and we would run through the steamy halls from one cool room to another. Not the sort of atmosphere in which you wanted to do anything that would make the house hotter. But back then, we ate at home most nights, and in summer we often had cold sliced  beef with potato salad or green bean salad, and Jersey tomatoes and corn or a warm pot roast sandwich on a roll later in the cooler part of the evening.

I spotted a really nice small brisket at the market this week, just a wee bit under 4 pounds, and the rest is history. Even though this dish has some barbecue sauce in it, it's not barbecued beef. It tastes like summer, in a very beefy, juicy way, and is marvelous cold for sandwiches or platters.  Mom always used a packet of soup mix in her pot roasts, and it does add a lot of flavor to the finished product. Plus it makes this really quick to assemble, and it can cook while you are staying cool doing other things. Like working all day, or, sunbathing. This is quick and simple to start in the morning and just takes a few minutes to finish at dinnertime.

Yes, that is steam rising from my beautiful, delicious braised brisket!

Summer (Crock) Slow Cooker Braised Retro Brisket

4 lb brisket
1 bottle (12 oz.) dark beer
1 cup smoky barbecue sauce
2T Worcestershire sauce
1 packet of onion soup mix

1.Into a 5 - 6 quart slow cooker, add the Worcestershire, the barbecue sauce, the dark beer and the onion soup mix. Stir well to mix. Place the brisket into the sauce mixture fat side down, and then turn to coat in the liquid so it rests fat side up.

2. Start the slow cooker, and cook on low for about 7 - 8 hours until the meat is fork tender. Remove the meat from the crock, and let stand about 7-10 minutes to cool slightly before removing the fat layer on top, and then slicing. Serve hot, with some of the pot juices, or cool, as part of a platter with salads or in a sandwich. If you want, you can reduce the juice in the crock slightly to thicken it before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

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