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Apr 8, 2012 07:17 AM

A question about cooking kosher meat

I don't keep kosher, and I know very little about kosher meat. This year, for the third time, I was asked to make the Passover brisket, and for the third time I found it to be overcooked. I purchased a kosher brisket at the request of our seder hosts, who do keep a kosher home. Now, just let me say, this is not to spark a conversation about braising kosher brisket in a non-kosher pot, in a non-kosher oven using non-kosher knives and other utensils. Our hosts know I don't keep kosher, and it was okay with them. Their request to me was to use kosher meat, and I did.

My question is this: does kosher meat cook differently than similar non-kosher cuts? I wondered if the meat had perhaps been salted to draw out the blood, which, like brining, began the process of breaking down the connective tissue even prior to cooking. Is there something else that might be done during the butchering/processing of kosher meats that would shorten the required cooking time? What do I need to know about cooking kosher meats that might affect the end result? Thanks!

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  1. The salting on a cut like brisket has a trivial effect on the piece of meat. It's fairly superficial compared to a true brining. Not sure what you mean about overcooking with respect to braising brisket. Hard to "overcook" a braised brisket.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      By "overcooked" I meant that the meat fell apart as it was being sliced. It still tasted fine, but even the slices that survived the slicing fell apart when they were served.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Did you let it rest before cutting and did you cut across the grain?

        1. re: ferret

          This isn't my first time making brisket. I know about letting it rest and I know how to slice it. That's what prompted my question. I did everything just as I do with a non-kosher brisket -- same cooking time, same size brisket, same oven temp, same pot.

          1. re: CindyJ

            Different butcher. Some butchers are better about their meat than others, both in the kosher and non-kosher worlds.

            1. re: CloggieGirl

              I'm not sure if it's the butcher, but remember brisket is not a primal cut of meat. It's possible that the cut you're buying for the kosher brisket is different than the cut you're buying for the non-kosher brisket. A different cut could result in the differences you're seeing.

              1. re: avitrek

                It looked exactly like the cryovac-wrapped brisket I usually buy. The one difference was that the non-kosher ones I get have a nice fat cap still attached; this kosher one had the fat trimmed.

            2. re: CindyJ

              Then I have no clue. There's genuinely nothing different about a Kosher brisket that would make it cook differently.

      2. I sol de my time problem by listening to Alton Brown talk about collagen and brisket. As opposed to tender cuts of meat, where you go for an internal temperature in the low to mid 100's for medium, brisket needs its collagen dissolved. I use a meat thermometer (yes, I have one for Passover) and turn the oven off when the internal temperature reaches 205 F. Perfect combination of soft, tender, not coming apart brisket each and every time. Good luck

        1. First, we cook brisket in a slow cooker, then we don't just let the meat cool, we refrigerate it until it is cold before we slice it. After we slice it, we freeze it separate from the liquid and then after defrosting reheat it in the liquid on the day we serve it. Its easy to slice and it comes out great.

          3 Replies
          1. re: skipper

            Hmm, color me unperturbed by a brisket that falls apart.

            1. re: DeisCane

              if it didn't fall apart then it's not done enough to serve to my (or wife's) family. After all the knives in the silver service aren't steak knives.

              1. re: DeisCane

                It wasn't a terrible thing -- it was just not the same "done-ness" as what I'm used to. My slices usually cut just fine with a fork.

            2. Related to what skipper said, but simpler. When I make brisket, I cook it partway, take it out of the oven and slice it. Then return to the oven and finish cooking. This way you get nice slices, but can cook it to any degree of doneness (sp?) you like. I cook kosher brisket, but got this advice from my mother, who did not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jerirl

                That sounds a lot like Nach Waxman's brisket-braising method.