Brisket burgers

Apologies, but it’s modest brag time.

Thanks to my epic Barbacoa Beef Brisket earlier in the week, I had a tub of รผber tender beef sitting in the fridge, awaiting its calling. I have bestowed said calling ๐Ÿ™‚  A slightly messy, burger-like arrangement packed with shredded beef, pickles and sauce. 

The “buns” are shredded sweet potato, in case you were interested ๐Ÿ˜‰

Barbacoa Beef Brisket

I found this recipe on Paleo Pot a few weeks ago and became a little obsessed with it. Problem was I didn’t have a slow cooker or canned chipotles, and I object to paying for fresh beef stock unless it’s actually going to be part a noticeable element of the final dish e.g. French onion soup.

So I had a trawl around the great online library and cross referenced a few different recipes and techniques to come up with my own. Result, AWESOME! if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 1: went to farm shop and asked if they had any unrolled brisket. Nice chap went out the back and returned with what looked like a whole side of cow. Ooops. I came out with just under 2kg of beef, which is about equivalent to the 4lb maximum mentioned in the Paleo Pot recipe, @ ยฃ8.50/kg – not bad.

Step 2: When I got this huge slab of meat home I realised that I didn’t have a big enough roasting tin. No problem. I thought it might be a bit too much for just the 2 of us to eat in a week, even with leftovers, and I wasn’t 100% sure how it would come out [ this being my first attempt at cooking brisket ] so I halved it and put a piece in the freezer for another day.

Step 3: Mixed up a blend of Texas-style BBQ seasoning [sorry, secret recipe] and gave the beef a good rub down before wrapping tightly in cling-film and stashing in the fridge over night.

Step 4: Heat oven to 180c and give the beef a good blast for 1hr. After that, reduce heat to 150c and carefully pour in a mixture of home-made chipotle abobo sauce and fresh apple juice. This is just to give enough liquid to help braise the meat, so only needs to be about 2cm depth. Apply a lid, or cover in foil, and ignore for 2 hours.

At this point it was very late in the evening so I just turned off the oven and left it there over night.

Next day it was chilled in the fridge, so I could scoop off some of the excess fat and it makes it easier to cut thin slices. To serve, I cut 1cm thick slices across the grain and reheated it in the braising sauce.

My original inspiration had been the Chipotle salad bowls we enjoyed in San Francisco, with crunchy salad, sautรฉed peppers and onions, avocado and a little cheese  – so that’s what I did ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: only half of the batch was used for dinner so there are leftovers for later in the week, plus there was enough to sneak a slice onto breakie with eggs and hash. Bonus! 

Next week I’ll get to play around with the other kilo currently hiding in the freezer ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheap, high-quality and versatile

No, it’s not my new LinkedIn profile ๐Ÿ™‚

Loved this article by Rubies & Radishes on all the ways you can use minced beef. While free-range or organic meat is the ideal, it can be too expensive to use on a regular basis but this it a viable option.

Rubies and Radishes

We normally have at least 2-3 mince based meals a week (that includes breakfasts) and I like to use the delicious minced meat from our local farm shop. It’s actually about the same price per kg as our supermarket, but don’t expect 3for2 for BOGOF offers ๐Ÿ™‚

Steak skewers with cherry barbecue sauce

This is the first proper ‘meal’ recipe I’ve tried from my new book, and I thought it would be a good “Welcome Home!” meal for my hubby.

Strips of beef steak, skewered and grilled then glazed with a sweet/ sour cherry sauce. Original recipe called for flank steak, but couldn’t get that anywhere so went with a thick piece of rump which was on special offer. Actually made the sauce a few days ahead [I like to get ahead ๐Ÿ™‚ ] and it kept fine in the fridge.

Even better, we only used about half the sauce (despite being seriously piggy with it – and me slopping most of it on the skewers instead of the steak) so I can serve it with the turkey cranberry meatballs later in the week. If I make another batch I think it would taste AMAZING with braai ๐Ÿ˜›

Note: Yes, we did have more than 3 skewers each, but 6 doesn’t look as photogenic ๐Ÿ™‚

Ox cheek bourguignon recipe

I was asked for the bourguignon recipe I mentioned last week, so here it is! I use ox cheek instead of shin beef, and only a large glass-worth of wine so you can use something semi-decent. To keep the cost down I’ve used onion instead of shallots and stock cube stock instead of shop brought fresh stock, and omitted the mushrooms because I don’t like them included ๐Ÿ™‚

Serves 4, very generously (Could even say 4 adults and 2 munchkins, with plenty of veg on the side)


  • 1 tblsp duck fat, or fat of choice
  • 90g Smoked bacon lardons
  • 1kg Ox cheek, trimmed but left whole
  • 1 x Onion, diced
  • 2 x Carrot, cut lengthways then cut into 3 chunks
  • 2 x celery stick, cut into 3
  • 1tsp dried Thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tblsp Tomato puree concentrate
  • 250ml Red Wine (tradition says Burgundy/ Pinot Noir, but anything medium-bodied that you can actually drink will be fine)
  • 200ml Beef stock (if using Oxo, use half a cube dissolved in 200ml boiling water)
  • 2 x Bay leaf


Preheat oven @ 150ยฐC (130ยฐF, Gas Mark 2)

Heat the duck fat in a large, lidded casserole and fry the bacon lardons until starting to crisp and the lovely bacon-fat has rendered. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside – I find the upturned casserole lid handy here. Saves on washing up ๐Ÿ™‚

Season the ox cheeks well with S+P, and fry for about 5 mins on each side. We’re looking for a nice, dark brown crust so you may need to do these one at a time to prevent overcrowding, dependant on the size of your pot. Remove from pan and set aside with the lardons.

Add the onion, carrots, garlic and celery to the pot with the dried thyme and stir well to coat in the oil.

Sautรฉ for a few minutes until the onions are translucent and the raw garlic smell has subsided. Stir in the tomato puree and allow it to cook out. Turn up the heat and add the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to deglaze the sucs. Allow the alcohol to burn off. Hint: when you sniff the pan it won’t singe your eyebrows ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now return the meats to the pot, tucking a couple of bay leaves in with the ox cheeks. It may look a bit snug to start with but it will shrink a little during cooking. Carefully pour over the beef stock. You don’t need to cover the meat in water; this is braising, not stewing.

Apply the lid and put on the bottom shelf of the oven. Set timer for 2ยฝ hrs (150 minutes). After about an hour take off the lid and turn the meat over in the braising liquid.

After 2ยฝ hours the meat should be tender and the sauce thickened slightly. If you’re makng this ahead, now would be a good time to let it cool before portioning into suitable containers and freezing. This would also keep in the fridge for a couple of days. As with all such dishes, it tastes best reheated the next day.

Remove the lid and put the casserole on the hob. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, uncovered, for 15-20mins. If you are reheating this after freezing and thawing, please ensure it’s fully heated through before serving.  When you come to serve, break the meat into large chunks using a wooden spoon or spatula. A sprinkling of chopped, fresh parsley would be pretty but not essential.

Leftovers: I took half of the meat out (avoiding the veggies) after braising in the oven and still just firm enough to hold together, and froze with a few ladles of the sauce to serve another day as a chilli. However, as the meat is 

รผber-tender after being reduced in the pot for 15-20mins, it would lend itself well to being stirred enthusiastically and turned into a ragu (meat sauce). 

Ox cheek bourguignon

We like a challenge. Ox cheek (or beef cheek) was hard to get hold of in the UK for a while following the post-BSE/ CJD legislation, but the lovely folk at Waitrose have it all trimmed and ready to go!

I took a traditional Boeuf Bourguignon recipe and swapped in whole pieces of ox cheek, in place of the usual braising steak, and braised in a low oven for 3 hours. I’m not going to lie – it’s a an ugly, brute of a piece of meat. Using tongs helped a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

Mise en place

2 large pieces, which were just under 1kg altogether, only just fitted in my 4.2 litre Le Creuset pot. After the first hour I took the casserole out of the oven and turned the meat over in the braising liquid. They had shrunk a little by then, which made the job easier. After 2ยฝ hours both pieces were very tender and the sauce thickened a bit, but I turned the meat over again and popped it back in for a final half hour while I dealt with the veggies.

The mashed root veg was already prepped in the freezer, so reheated with butter in a sautรฉ pan. Had a huge bag of kale to get through, so steamed a few handfuls of that too.

Served chunks of fork-tender ox cheek with the chunky braising veggies, buttered mash and bright green kale. Perfect Sunday lunch ๐Ÿ™‚

Ox Bourguignon, swede and kale