Warm spiced pulled brisket with horseradish and fukujinzuke

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In this moreish canapé recipe, Danny Kingston cooks brisket low and slow over eight hours for sweet, tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat. Danny serves the shredded brisket on chicory leaves with a dollop of fiery horseradish and fukujinzuke – a delicious Japanese pickle made from cucumber, aubergine and mooli radish.

First published in 2015

Along with a lot of things, such as beards, chihuahuas and avocados, we have almost certainly reached peak ‘pulled meat’ in this country and are now staring down at the abyss. What started from within the confines of American BBQ (which is a daft thing to say, given that as a cuisine or canon, it is simply massive) we have seen that prime staple of ‘pulled pork’ lurch and mutate into lots and lots of other areas; such as pulled chicken, pulled cheese and pulled green jackfruit. Admittedly, the latter does sound quite interesting, having been billed recently as the new pulled pork for vegetarians. But I do fear that the whole ‘pulled’ factor is already starting to get wearisome. Especially since I am about to introduce a recipe here for pulled brisket. So before you say ‘oh pull the other one,’ and nod off, hear me out.

Of course, pulled brisket is also very well known and you may have made it before. In the summer, on your barbecue long and low (using indirect heat) when it was hot and sunny. Do you remember that? No? Well never mind, this hardworking and cheap cut would normally be enjoyed at this time of year in a simpler incarnation, namely as boiled beef and carrots. That thoroughly British dish. You can still add some spice and heat to the mix though, to warm up the cockles at Christmas time. Which is where my cheat’s ‘Not Barbecued BBQ Brisket’ comes into play.

This recipe originally appeared on my blog and for the purposes of coming up with ideas for canapés, it immediately sprung to mind. A little goes a long way, so it is great for dishing out at parties, served up in sturdy leaves of chicory and dabbed with dots of fierce horseradish. The twist here comes with the introduction of fukujinzuke, a tart pickle made from mooli radish which is commonly used in Japanese food, particularly in curries. I’ve used it both in the cooking process and as a garnish here. To add extra tang to the shredded beef and because fukujinzuke is often a vivid bright red, it helps detract from the ‘pulled’ aspect of the dish.

Just in case someone pipes up and says ‘Oh no, not another bloody pulled meat dish’!

There’s always one.




Spiced pulled beef


Begin by searing the brisket. Place a large frying pan on the hob on a high to medium heat and add the oil and then pop in the brisket to brown and seal all over
Take the beef out of the pan and set aside. Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the pan, bring the heat down and gently fry until everything softens and caramelises, for about 20–30 minutes
Turn the heat back up and add the fukujinzuke, chilli and tomatoes, sautéing for a couple of minutes and stirring with a wooden spoon
Add the cumin and mustard and continue to stir for another minute, then add the honey, dark brown sugar, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and beer. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 1
Remove the brisket from the pan and leave the sauce to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor and season to taste (I like to put lots of cracked black pepper in). Blitz until smooth
Take a stock pot or casserole dish with a lid and place the brisket inside. Pour over the sauce, place the lid on your chosen cooking receptacle and place in the oven
Return every half an hour or so (or when you can remember) and turn the brisket in the sauce. Repeat for around 8 hours or until the brisket becomes very soft and tender
Remove from the oven, take the brisket out of the sauce and place on a chopping board. Cut the string and with two forks shred the brisket, starting at one end, pulling the fibres apart lengthways into ribbons (this should be quite easy). Mix the beef back into the sauce
Serve up by spooning a healthy amount of meat into the well of each chicory leaf and place on a large platter. Finish by blobbing a small amount of horseradish on top and sprinkle across some of the remaining mooli pickle on each one
First published in 2015

Danny is a food adventurer, home grower, supper club host and writer of the entertaining and quirky epicurean blog, Food Urchin.

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