Who doesn’t love beef brisket?
Here on the East Coast, most people know and like it brined (corned beef). In Texas, it is a prime cut for long slow cooking (smoked). And then, of course, the ultimate brined and smoked brisket that is steamed (pastrami).
Years ago during one of our trips to New Orleans, we dined at Tujague’s. Reportedly the second oldest restaurant in a city known for all levels of dining, Tujague’s is more of a local favorite than a “tourists must visit” kind of place. It is not often written about in the foodie mags. It is, in its own way, a classic and one that in my opinion is worth seeking out.
One of the house specialties at Tujague’s is their “boiled brisket.” Nothing could be more humble in name yet more superlative in flavor.
Sometime after that trip, I discovered, on the restaurant’s website, their recipe for this dish. Since that time, I have made this brisket at least once year, usually served with latkes as part of my Hanukkah celebration honoring the Jewish part of my heritage. It amuses me that I prepare a New Orleans Creole brisket recipe to celebrate Hanukkah. This provides a rare opportunity for me to combine my love of New Orleans, my French (my maternal great-great-grandparents entered this country at the port of New Orleans) and my Jewish family.
Recently, I had been overtaken by a strong craving for the brisket and so we purchased a seven pounder from the local BJ’s and I cooked it up for Sunday dinner with friends.
Preparing for our trip next month, yesterday I happened to be checking NOLA.com, the website of the New Orleans Times Picayune. In one of those quirky little coincidences,. I came across a story about the passing of one Steven Latter, the proprietor of Tujague’s. It was interesting to read about how he and his brother took over the restaurant without any real food service experience and preserved this treasure. Mr. Slatter (who, by the way, was Jewish) eventually bought his brother out to become the sole owner. Reading about him made me a little sad that I hadn’t actually met him as I think we might have enjoyed each other’s company.
I read the story and was contemplating what it might mean for the future of the restaurant. Sometimes, owners can be more than just the “boss” at a restaurant; they may provide the very soul of the establishment. As I mused on this, I noticed a link to a story from last year that talked about how great the “brisket sandwich” was. The sandwich was basically a roast beef poor boy/po’boy (the New Orleans version of a “hoagie” or “sub”) made with the house brisket and available only at the bar.
Aha! Now I knew what I would do with some of the leftovers from Sunday’s brisket.
This noon, I ran out to Italian Peoples’ Bakery and picked up a loaf of their stick bread.
Back home, I made the sandwich and I was not disappointed.
Thank you, Mr. Slatter, for keeping Tujague’s traditions.
- 12” length of good French or Italian stick bread sliced almost but not quite all the way through and opened up.
- 5 ounces of leftover boiled brisket (see recipe below) warmed, slightly
- Chopped lettuce
- Fresh tomato slices
- 2 Tbs Creole mustard (or dark, coarse grained mustard)
- 2 Tbs mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs prepared horseradish (or two taste)
“Dress” the bread with the mustard, mayo and horseradish. Add slices of tomato in one layer, then a light layer of lettuce. Cover evenly with slices of brisket (I warmed mine for one minute in the microwave). Close bread, using back edge of long knife to kind of stuff the filling back in while pressing down on the top of the bread with the palm of your free hand. Cut into two lengths and enjoy. (I ate this myself but it would probably feed two normal people)
Boiled Brisket ala Tujague’s
- Fresh beef brisket (about 4 pounds)
- 2 onions sliced
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ tbs. salt
- 12 whole black peppercorns
Put the beef brisket in a coup pot, having trimmed excess fat. Add the onions, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until brisket is very tender. When the brisket is ready, remove it form the pot, drain, and slice to serve. Serve brisket with horseradish sauce on the side.
- ½ cup horseradish
- ½ cup Creole mustard
- 1 cup Catsup.
Blend and chill.