When my mother became ill and needed to be hospitalized a little over a month ago, I knew I had a big job ahead of me. Yes, caring for my mother (who is now recovering in a skilled nursing center, I’m happy to say) by keeping a very close eye on hospital staff was work, but even more daunting was cooking for my dad. Three times a week I’d run (and still do) full meals (dessert included) out to him to keep him well nourished. He’s happy with pretty much anything (Although I think he’s still reeling from the Torta Rustica not knowing, with a name that contained the word “Torta,” if it was a main dish or a dessert!) but, basically, he’s a meat and potatoes man. So it was time, I thought, to pull out the meat-and-potatoes-man cookbook, Cooking the Cowboy Way: Recipes Inspired by Campfires, Chuck Wagons, and Ranch Kitchens. The recipe below is adapted from the King Beef Oven Brisket in the book and was deemed “Outstanding” by my dad. I have to say that he’s right. It was the best brisket that I think I’ve ever eaten.
“Outstanding" Beef Brisket
1 tablespoon Penzey’s Chili Con Carne Seasoning
(can substitute chili powder)
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s Northwoods Fire Seasoning (optional)
1 4-pound beef brisket, trimmed
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the rub, combine the chili seasoning, salt, onion, garlic powder, mustard, pepper, sugar, espresso powder, and Northwoods Fire Seasoning in a small bowl, and mix thoroughly.
Season the brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a roasting pan or Dutch oven and roast uncovered for 1 hour.
Add the beef stock or broth and enough water so that there's about 1/2 inch of liquid in the pan.
Cover tightly with heavy foil (or the lid, if using a Dutch oven), decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees F, and continue cooking for 3 more hours or until fork-tender.
Slice the meat thinly across the grain. Top with the juices from the pan, and serve to the hungry man in your life!
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