If you’re a kid, September means school.
If you’re a tree, September means gold and red leaves.
If you’re Jewish, September means brisket.
That’s because Rosh Hashanah is in September and although I haven’t done an actual, scientific study, there’s little doubt in my mind that brisket is the most popular dinner entree for Rosh Hashanah.
Everyone’s grandma has a special family recipe, but even though the seasonings may be different from family to family and some versions are sweeter than others and some include vegetables while others don’t, Rosh Hashanah Ashkenazi-style brisket is typically braised in lots of liquid and served with pan gravy.
Unfortunately my family won’t eat braised brisket and pan gravy.
When I prepare brisket, it’s always barbecued, more like Texas-style. I have some relatives in Texas, so I guess it’s okay.
The meat is slooooow-cooked first, so it’s soft. But then it’s crisped up on the grill (or roasted in a hot oven or under a broiler), so it gets those gorgeous, crunchy, blackened burnt ends that are slightly chewy and lusciously sticky.
Texas-style brisket with Apricot/Honey Barbecue Glaze. It’s what’s for Rosh Hashanah.
Texas Style Brisket with Apricot Honey Glaze:
whole brisket of beef (about 8-10 pounds)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup cold brewed coffee
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of ground cloves
To make the brisket: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place the meat in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Scatter the onions on top. Cover the pan tightly. Bake for 7-8 hours or until the meat is soft and tender. Remove the meat and onions. Puree the onions and pan juices to use for gravy over mashed potatoes (or noodles, other starches). Let the meat cool. Trim any large pieces of fat that have not melted. Set aside.
NOTE: you can make this with a smaller chunk of meat (cooking time shorter).
About a half hour before serving, remove the meat from the refrigerator and place it in a large roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slather some of the barbecue sauce over the meat and roast for about 15-20 minutes, turning the meat once and brushing it occasionally with more of the sauce (you will probably use a little more than half the amount of sauce). Slice and serve. OR: broil the brisket or reheat on a preheated outdoor grill.
Makes 10-12 servings
To make the barbecue sauce: Pour the olive oil into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes to soften them slightly. Add the ketchup, jam, coffee, honey, cider vinegar, brown sugar and cloves and stir to blend them. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 12-15 minutes or until thick.
Makes about 2-1/2 cups