Food & Drinks

Exploring Brisket in California

California Brisket sliced

Moving has greatly impacted the way I cook and what I cook. Being in different kitchens, having access to certain foods and even different grocery stores all have added to the flavors of my food. My second to latest move brought me to Palo Alto, CA. It is a Utopian city with great schools, manicured parks, toilet paper in the public restrooms and Waymo self driving cars going the speed limit. With in five miles of my home I have two Trader Joes, a Safeway, an organic green market, Whole Foods, a gourmet market, Grocery Outlet, Walmart, Costco, Target, a farmer’s market on Sundays and Instacart to shop from the comfort of my couch. The only caveat is the limited amount of Kosher Food, especially fresh meat. There is a very pricey Kosher section in a beautiful gourmet market called Mollie Stone. However its selection is not always consistent. One week there will be a Crown Rib Roast and the next is just deli and ground beef! The most consistent place to find kosher meat has been Trader Joes.

When I first moved there they had Teva Brand Brisket every week. Before moving, in my 11+ years of cooking shabbat and yom tov meals, I had never made brisket! So it was time to take on this challenge. When I embark on a new dish, I do my research on how everyone else cooks it. I pull out about 3-5 cookbooks and do online searches. I figure out the most efficient cooking methods other cooks have used and then I play around with flavor profiles. Sometimes inspiration strikes based on what I already have in my kitchen cabinets. In this case, it was a jar of Chili sauce I had bought to use in a stuffed cabbage recipe. In terms of my cooking method, I generally don’t like to use an excess amount of pots and pans. So the traditional way of searing the meat was nixed in favor of sealing the flavors by dry roasting the meat on a very high temperature before a slow and long baking. I learned this trick from a roast recipe my mother had cooked many times for shabbat. Luckily shabbat comes every week so I had plenty of opportunity to try and try again until I could get the recipe just right. Hope you enjoy this classic Jewish- American shabbat dish! Freezing tip: Cook two briskets at once, slice the next day and divide into separate tin-foil pans covered with sauce. Do the second cooking when defrosted.

California Brisket by Julie Thomas

Course: Main Course
Author: Julie Thomas
  • 3-5 lb Brisket with a nice layer of fat on one side
  • 3 Carrots sliced
  • 4 stalks of Celery sliced
  • 1 Red Onion sliced
  • 6 cloves of peeled Garlic
  • 4 T Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Dry Rub Spice Mix:
  • ½ t Ginger
  • 1 t Paprika
  • 1 t Garlic Powder
  • 1 t Onion Powder
  • ½ t Black Pepper
  • ¼ t Aleppo or Red Pepper
  • ½ t Chilli Powder
  • 3 T Brown Sugar
  • ½ t Dried Oregano
  • ½ t Dried Thyme
  • I 12 oz. Jar Chili Sauce
  • 1 Can Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 7 oz bottle of Beer
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place veggies in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top of veggies, fat side up. Spread spice mixture over roast. Bake uncovered for 30 min.

    Lower temp to 350 degrees. Pour sauce over meat. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 ½ -3 hours. Allow to cool overnight in the fridge.

    Separate meat from sauce and veggies, and slice while cold. Strain the sauce of floated congealed fat. Using an immersion blender or blender, blend the sauce and veggies together until smooth. Return sliced meat to pan and pour sauce over the meat. Cook at 350 for an additional 30 minutes.

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About the author

Julie Thomas

Having logged over thousands of hours in the kitchen, Julie Thomas is always on the hunt for innovative flavors to keep this life task interesting and fresh. Her personal culinary exploration has lead Julie to avidly watch the Food network, collect a vast library of cookbooks, coordinate numerous cooking demos and even contribute and edit the popular kosher cookbook, “The Open Kitchen”. The latest trend of Kosher foodie and cooking blogs has been the newest source of her culinary inspiration.

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