The word primal has many meanings, but all of them come back to one meaning “first.” The word speaks of the beginnings of things, from our ancient lineage as human beings, to the animalistic force that lives within each of us. Appropriate to our thinking, then is the meaning of primal when applied to cuts of meat.
The primal cuts are those that are severed from the carcass first before the smaller and less important cuts are removed. The brisket is among these cuts, and while it requires a little know-how to make it properly, when properly made it is nothing less than the choicest of the primal cuts. Brisket Day encourages you to explore this cut and everything it has to offer.
History of Brisket Day
Some things take time, and a good brisket is one of these. Brisket is a popular cut of meat to serve as part of any family affair, and it’s long cooking time ensures that it is a big hit when those who know how to prepare it. Brisket is a tricky meat in that it comes from the animal tough, but if you find a particularly well-marbled piece and cook it correctly, it will become fork soft and simply peel apart, making it the tenderest of tender meats. Of course, there are hundreds of variations on how to prepare brisket, including the use of various hardwoods in the grilling process to ensure a nice smoky flavor. Some people marinate them, some don’t, and many like to serve it with a sauce.
The history of brisket dates back to ancient history – practically ever since humans reared cattle. People would sacrifice their animals on special occasions and eat every part of the animal, including the brisket cut.
Texas BBQ brisket is one of the most popular ways to prepare it. Here, chefs marinate the meat for between 24 and 48 and cook it in a unique wood or charcoal-fired BBQ oven. Careless cooking often resulted in tough meat, so people developed techniques to get the most out of the cut. After all, if you could make brisket taste good, it was a great way to get delicious and cheap meat.
In the old days, you couldn’t store meat in a refrigerator. The technology simply didn’t exist. After 48 hours following the death of the animal, the carcass would begin to turn, meaning that the butcher had to cook and eat it fast.
Friday evenings, therefore, became the traditional day on which people would cook up the remaining cuts of meat uneaten and unsold throughout the week. People found that barbecuing meat and adding marinades and sauces provided the best flavor. And so the rationale for holding Brisket Day celebrations was born.
Brisket Day is also heavily associated with smoked meats – not just brisket. Again, butchers had to use smoking to preserve meat so that it wouldn’t go off. For that reason, they took cuts of meat, such as rib-eye or tenderloin, and put them in smoke sheds. This process killed off all the bacteria and created compounds that would inhibit the growth of harmful bugs in the future.
How to celebrate Brisket Day
Well, it’s pretty much inarguable that the best way to celebrate Brisket Day is to have yourself a deliciously prepared brisket.
- Crock Pot Cooked Brisket With Onions
- 1 Med Red Onion Per 2 Pounds
- 2 Cloves of Garlic Per Pound
- Salt and Pepper (to Taste)
- 2 T of Worcester Sauce per 2 pounds
- 2 T of Soy Sauce per 2 pounds
- Roasting Vegetables (Your Choice)
Start off by rinsing your brisket and then pat it dry. Rub it down with the salt and pepper, Worcester sauce and soy sauce, and place in the crockpot. Add sliced onions and chopped garlic (you can always add more, our quantities are just a suggestion for the faint of heart!) and then cook on 275 for about 4 hours in the crockpot. At hour four, add in the vegetables and a can of beer of your choice and let finish cooking for the next hour. Voila! It is delish!
So besides cooking a hearty brisket meal, what else can you do to celebrate brisket day?
Well, one idea is to go for a meal out at a local restaurant that still serves beef brisket in the traditional style. Ideally, you’re looking for an establishment that takes the cheaper cuts of meat and then prepares them in such a way that makes them taste far more expensive than they actually are. By going to a local restaurant along with your friends and family, you’re showing your support for everyone involved in the supply chain, from the restaurant owner to the cattle rancher.
Many restaurants make a point of serving brisket. They want to prove that it is possible to make even the cheapest cuts of beef taste amazing. They see it as a challenge. Some, for instance, use special tenderizing techniques and serve it rare. Others rely on slow cooking methods. The great thing Brisket Day is that there are so many recipe options. Barbecued brisket is a classic, but today’s chefs are so inventive, you’re now spoiled for choice for how they prepare your meat.
Brisket Day is also an opportunity to highlight the environmental costs of food waste. As people, we often throw away a substantial proportion of the food that we buy. The tradition of eating brisket, however, reminds us of the fact that food was a scarce commodity in the past, and that it is important to make use of every part of the animal. Throwing away food is both costly and damaging to the natural world.
So there you have it: some simple ways to celebrate Brisket Day. What will you do?