This week I’ve picked up a beef brisket joint from Aldi, under the name of Ashfield Farm. Beef brisket is a really meaty joint of beef that’s best cooked very slowly – making it the best type of beef to cook in a slow cooker. Lidl also sell these joints and I had gone there first, but they were sold out!
At the time of writing, the beef brisket joints in Aldi are £6.99/Kg and in Lidl they are £6.49/Kg (although they are labelled in such a way that it looks like that might be an introductory price).
Many people haven’t heard of brisket, or are confused by the name and aren’t sure if they’re getting the right thing; what’s great about these is that they say the word Brisket clearly on the packaging, so there’s no mistake about what you’re getting. They will usually be found alongside the Beef Roasting Joints.
Brisket is a type of roasting joint that, when slow cooked, produces the most amazing tasting beef – ideal for serving as thick sliced beef, or as pulled beef. Once cooked it won’t slice thinly – I prefer brisket because I find that thin sliced meats tend to taste of nothing! Cooking a brisket gives you a super moist beef in gravy that’s melt in the mouth and leftovers can be used to make beef curry, or just save it and freeze the leftover beef in gravy for future quick Sunday lunches!
I have a 3.5 litre slow cooker and I bought a 1Kg beef brisket – which is actually “a bit too large” for that size of slow cooker…. but I was in a bit of a gung ho mood. The options I had were to cut it in half and freeze the second half of the brisket joint, or plough on regardless; my Plan A was to cook it all in one piece later this week.
How Do You Cook a Beef Brisket?:
The pack has instructions for cooking the brisket in a standard oven, these say:
- OVEN: Electric, 180°C; Fan, 160°C, Gas Mark 4.
- Cook for: 30-40 minutes per 500 grams plus 35 minutes.
- Always wash hands, all surfaces and all utensils after handling raw meat.
- Remove all packaging.
- Heat 15ml of oil to a high heat and brown the meat on all sides, add seasonal vegetables of your choice and transfer to a heatproof casserole dish.
- Pour over 150ml of stock, water, or wine and season to taste.
- Cover and cook on the middle shelf of a preheated oven for the times stated above. Ensure product is thoroughly cooked and piping hot throughout.
- Do not reheat. Not suitable for microwave cooking.
Remove the String?
When the instructions say to remove all packaging, this beef brisket is vacuum packed for freshness and once you’ve taken off the vacuum pack you’ll find the brisket is held together with some string/elastic, which you need to remove. Brisket is made from a slab of meat that is then rolled into the sausage shape and that shape is held with the string/elastic, but you don’t need it!
Beef Brisket Cooking Times:
For the oven instructions above, a 1Kg beef joint would need 35 minutes, PLUS TWO x 30-40 minutes. This makes a total of 35+(60 to 80) = 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 55 minutes.
Every brisket weighs slightly different, the price of each one is different – so you will need to do the quick calculations of cooking times based on the size of brisket you have. A 500 gram brisket would take about 1 hour 10 minutes and a 1Kg brisket takes about 2 hours, to give you an idea of the range.
Cooking a Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker
This is how I always cook a brisket – it’s a joint that really benefits from long/slow cooking. In short, follow the above instructions, but you can omit most of the liquid if you wish. Sometimes I’ll just put a small splash of water in the bottom – and sometimes I’ll cover the brisket with stock/water/wine to make beef stock (for the freezer). Then, simply cook on low for 6 hours.
After 6 hours lift out the brisket and cover it, then pop it into a lidded storage lid – turn the slow cooker up to high and leave the lid off and let the stock/gravy boil down and reduce for 1-1½ hours (after 1 hour, do it by eye). Cool the gravy and blend in the vegetables if you wish. Add the gravy to the brisket, covered, in the fridge. The next day, transfer your meat and gravy to your slow cooker and reheat for 2 hours on low. Serve!
How to Use Leftover Beef Brisket:
You can keep it covered in the fridge for 3-4 days, or freeze it. Freeze it in the gravy in portions and you’ve a ready meal of beef and gravy; freeze it in chunks or fat slices and you’ve got a sandwich filler or the start of a beef curry.