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Substitute for Jewish-style brisket?

It seems that, in my current locale, I cannot easily get hold of a 3-6 lb. brisket like I'm used to cooking. As far as I can see, my options – short of the occasional VERY expensive kosher-certified brisket – are either a thin 2 lb. center-cut brisket whose fat cap appears to have been trimmed away, or some larger beef roast, like a shoulder cut, that would have approximately the same character as brisket. All I want is to make a nice <i>heymish</i> braised brisket to go with some kashe varnishkes. Given my choices, which would work better: doubling up the trimmed-down center-cut briskets, or some other cut big enough and tough enough to mimic the brisket I grew up eating?

Please help: I'm pining away for a taste of home in this frigid weather.

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    1. Boneless chuck roast, or 7-bone chuck roast.

      1. I agree with the others that chuck roast is very nice, but I also don't see any problem with using two center cut briskets. There are recipes that say if a big one doesn't fit into your pot then cut it in half, so it's essentially the same thing. If you're worried about not enough fat on top, you could ask your butcher for a piece of fat trimmings and stick it on top during the cooking. I do that when I make roast beef and they always give me the chunk of fat for free. It's nice because you can put seasoning on the meat under the fat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AmyH

          An intriguing idea. I'll give that a shot sometime in the near future.

          Meanwhile, today is my first outing with a boneless chuck roast. Thanks to you all for the suggestions. If this turns into a major fiasco, at least I'll have something entertaining to post. I'm going very traditional with this one, to limit the opportunities for disaster.

          We who are about to cook salute you.

        2. Well, that was a fiasco. :( The chuck roast came out dry, the gravy ended up a charred mass on the bottom of the pan, and the meat itself mostly smelled like organ meat. I fear that I had too many uncertain variables in play at once.

          Anyone want/need some leftovers? I'm not sure how long I can force myself to eat this for another few meals.

          7 Replies
          1. re: elustaz

            What happened? How did you cook the chuck roast? I am not a fan of boneless chuck roast, prefer a 7-bone or something with some marbling. You do need some fat to create tenderness.

            1. re: Diane in Bexley

              I'm pretty sure that was one of my problems. Will have to pay close attention to marbling next time.

            2. re: elustaz

              Did you use a recipe that you've done successfully with brisket in the past? I can't imagine why the chuck would come out dry when brisket did not. And not sure why it would smell like organ meat, either. I wonder if you got a bad piece of meat.

              Also, due to some snow-related complexity, I shopped in a different grocery store on Saturday and saw these vacuum packed little tiny pieces of brisket. They couldn't have been over 1 or 1 1/2 pounds each. I couldn't imagine who would buy those or what they'd do with them, and it made me think of your OP. I hope you can eventually find a nice 3-6 lb brisket somewhere!

              1. re: AmyH

                Yes and no. I've used the basic recipe before with brisket to more-or-less success. The only real difference was the spice mixture I put into the sautéed onions, but other than that, I've done it before.

                1. re: elustaz

                  I wonder if the different spice mixture made it smell like organ meat since you are accustomed to using another mixture and subconsciously might have been expecting the other smell.

                  How did you cook the meat? Oven braise? Covered or uncovered?

                  1. re: AmyH

                    Covered oven braise.

                    I don't think the spices did it. I used garlic powder, paprika, and salt — strictly a muscle-meat combo in my kitchen. I'm saying that the meat smelled like *raw liver*.

                    1. re: elustaz

                      Yuck! That must have been a nasty surprise when you took off the cover.