The Brewdog brisket butty
Of all the sandwiches you’ll see on The Butty, this one’s been waiting in the wings for the longest. Despite being handed a selection of the finest beers from a our friends at Brewdog a while back, and having been challenged to create something truly spectacular, the plans have lain on the drawing board for months, constantly being tweaked and bettered. In the end, it came down to a patient weekend, some black magic, and a big, hearty lump of beef.
Brisket’s been on the Butty’s shopping list for an age, but it’s just not a cut of beef that we really care about in the UK - it’s rare that you’ll ever see it outside of a butcher’s, which is a damn shame. For this sarnie, 700g of good Scottish brisket was nabbed from a butcher’s counter in a decent local supermarket - if you’re doing this for a lot of people, then by all means, get a bigger cut from the local butcher.
Given brisket’s a tough bugger, it makes sense to take your time, marinading it to give it flavour, and cooking it low and slow to bring out the flavours. At the heart of this marinade is one of Brewdog’s best - Paradox Jura. This dark, 15% Imperial Stout is a beast of a beer, spending nine months gestating in the oaky darkness of a Jura whisky barrel, emerging on the other side with a smoky nose and a heady, boozy kick that cuts through the flavours of coffee, treacle and bitter chocolate.
Everything else in the marinade is aimed at building on the flavours of the Paradox, creating a smoky, earthy blend with a hot and spicy kick - the perfect match for the sturdy chunk of cow.
The Paradox potion
- 1 bottle of Brewdog Paradox Jura
- 1 large white onion (diced)
- 1 sweet, red pointed pepper (diced)
- 3 red chillies
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (sliced roughly, un-peeled)
- 6 cloves of garlic (smashed, un-peeled)
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark honey
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco
- Salt and pepper to season
Method: Mix everything together in a bowl, making sure the syrup and sugar aren’t stuck to the bottom. That’s it, really.
With the marinade prepped (it should have a spicy, slightly bitter aroma to it), stick the brisket in a deep dish - you need the beef to be totally submerged, so choose something that’s got high sides, and a small surface area, like in the picture. Once it’s in, cover it (cling film’s fine), and put it in the fridge - it’s going to be in there for 48 hours, so go and get on with your life in the interim.
After the beef’s spent a couple of days getting pished in the fridge, it’s time to fire up the oven. Whip out the meat, and plonk it in a roasting tray, pouring the marinade over the top. Make sure a good amount of the onions and peppers end up on top of the beef, as these will break down in the oven and give even more flavour to the brisket as it cooks. The liquid in the try needs to be about halfway up the brisket, so add a little water if you need to top it up.
Firstly, turn the oven to 200c (180c if it’s a fan oven), and cook the beef for half an hour. Once it’s browned a bit, cover the pan in foil, and drop the temperature down to about 140c (120c fan), and put it back in for three hours. While it’s slowly cooking to perfection, be sure to keep it well fed by spooning the marinade over the top of the meat - this will mean all the flavours of the meat and boozy broth are absorbed into the brisket.
After four hours, the brisket should be done. Leave it to rest on a chopping board for about ten minutes, before slicing it into thick slivers - the meat should be superbly tender, so don’t worry about it being too chewy. If you’ve marinaded it well, you should be able to see where the meat has changed colour at the edges, after slurping up all the beery wonderfulness in the pan.
For bread, you need to source something pretty special for such a lovingly prepared bovine butty. In this case, De Gustibus bread in Borough rose to the task, with a delicious sourdough bloomer, more than capable of supporting such a moist, meaty filling. Sliced thickly and buttered sparingly, the meat is simply piled on, with a few generous spoonfuls of the soft onion and pepper mixture spread on top. No salad here - this is all about the beef.
One of the finest craft beers in the land combined with one of the best, most under-appreciated cuts of beef in these fair isles, this sanger is exactly what you need on a cold autumn weekend. Like coming up with the recipe itself - it might take a while, it might be a bit of hard work, and you might have to use up a cracking bottle of beer. But when you’ve got this butty sitting in front of you with a bite out of it, and a cold 5am Saint in your hand, all will be forgiven. Promise.
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