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In the JOK Kitchen With Stephanie Pierson


Stephanie Pierson recently wrote The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes.  This book is the first of its kind, the first book solely devoted to this cross-cultural wonder, brisket.  The Brisket Book compiles everything you ever wanted to know about Brisket and more.  From cooking advice, to chef interviews to butcher wisdom and it's remarkable history way beyond the Jewish history of brisket we are more familiar with.  With colorful photographs and every different kind of brisket recipe you can imagine this book is a must have.  Note: not all the recipes in this book are kosher, but most can be adapted with minor substitutions.  Here we find out more about the author and what inspired this book.

1.       What inspired you to write a book about brisket?

I was just in love with brisket and made brisket a lot. I realized 2 things: One, brisket is in just about every cookbook but never had a cookbook of its own. And Two, lots and lots of other people (check Chowhound boards and Serious Eats) are as passionate about it as I am.

2.       When was the first time you ever had brisket?

I first had it when I was in my 20s and had moved to New York from Baltimore. I could not believe how good it was and what I had been missing for all those years. My family - alas - had no brisket tradition.

Joan Nathan making brisket for "The Brisket Book" by Stephanie Pierson

3.       When was the first time you cooked brisket?

Right after I had tried it for the first time. I asked my close friend for her family's recipe, which she was kind enough to share. And I could not believe how easy it was to cook.

4.       What is your favorite way to eat brisket?

I love all kinds of brisket - no surprise!!! But definitely barbecued. And of course, braised. It feels like someone loves you when they serve you brisket - and it makes me happy to make brisket for family and friends. Kind of corny, but there it is.


5.       What is your least favorite way?

I guess corned beef, hot. I could live without it. On the other hand, a corned beef on rye from a great deli. Yum!

6.       How long did it take to write this book and how much brisket didyou eat?

It took about a year and a half and I ate so much brisket it is amazing that I do not weigh 400 pounds. (I did not ever eat the lean Weight Watcher's brisket!!!) I cooked a lot of my own; went to bbq places; traveled to cook brisket with Cooks Illustrated, Joan Nathan, Nach Waxman; every trip I took I made sure to see how the local brisket was.

7.       After all of this do you still love it?

Now I love it even more - I can't believe all the ways you can prepare it - also I have learned so much from chefs about techniques and their own lovely takes on it.

8.       You mention a vegan brisket, what is that and do you really feel comfortable calling it brisket?

Well, I do because it is very very good and seems - to vegans - to be a really excellent stand-in. And there is the fact that even people who don't like meat seem to like brisket. Counter-intuitive but true!

Thank you for your sharing your love of Brisket and these interesting brisket recipes with us.

Brisket in Tahina Sauce

Cuban Creole Stew Beef Braised Brisket for a Scandinavian take.

Pictures and Recipes are all from The Brisket Cookbook by Stephanie Pierson.