The best sweet Jewish brisket

Why, hello again.

Most of my personal online writing has moved to social media, but this recipe is too good to hide from the search engines, so I figured this is the right place to park it.

For years, I’d been searching for the best sweet Jewish brisket – a style that my kids used to call “candy meat”. After much experimentation, I have combined ingredients and techniques from three recipes into this masterpiece.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients

• 5 lbs brisket (first cut or second cut are both fine)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• Two or three onions
• 1 cup honey-garlic sauce (I use VH brand)
• 1 cup barbecue sauce (I like a half cup of Diana original and a half cup of Diana spicy but for a more traditional taste, use no spicy)
• 0.5 cup brown sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Lay out a piece of aluminium foil that will be large enough to wrap all the way around the brisket and have extra foil available for crimping. Heavy-duty foil works best. You may have to use a second piece of foil as a cover over the top of the meat.

Slice the onions and lay them out on the foil as a bed for your meat. Fold up the sides of the foil so that liquid from the meat will not run off.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy pan large enough to accommodate the meat. Use two burners and a roasting pan, if necessary. Add the brisket and brown well on both sides, about 10 minutes in total. Transfer the meat to the bed on onion slices and fold up the foil alongside the meat. The goal is to leave as little space as possible but be reasonable about it.

Add the vinegar to the pan and deglaze it, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat.

Pour the honey-garlic sauce, barbecue sauce, and brown sugar into a large bowl (larger than you think you need). Pour in the vinegar and bits from the pan and stir to mix. Pour this mixture over the brisket in the foil.

Crimp the foil over the meat and sauce and crimp it tightly. The goal is to create an airtight seal so the meat braises as it cooks. If your foil does not reach all the way over the meat, use a second piece of foil as a lid and crimp that to the bottom piece of foil. Make sure the seam is as close to the top as possible to avoid leaks.

Transfer the foil package to a roasting pan (to catch any potential leaks). Heavy-duty foil handles this transfer much better than standard foil.

Cook the brisket for three hours (for five pounds of meat).

When the meat is done, hold the foil package over the large bowl in which you mixed the sauce and cut the foil so that all the liquid runs out of the foil and into the bowl. There will be more liquid than you started with and some onions may fall out. It’s okay. I told you to use a big bowl.

While the meat rests, skim any fat out of the sauce.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board, leaving the onions in the foil, and cut the meat against the grain into slices a quarter-inch thick. Put the slices on a platter, cover them with the onions, and pour a little sauce over that.

Serve, with the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat or sauce pitcher.

Dear Canada

Dear Conservative Party,

We want an adult to lead our country, but not a paranoid, neurotic adult who refuses to recognize the consequences of his actions.

Dear National Democratic Party,

Yes, you were the official opposition, but that one ad that claimed you were a better choice because you had less ground to make up made you sound like a petulant seven year old. And desperate. Your whole campaign was immature.

Dear fans of proportional representation,

You should start posting of Facebook about how unfair this election is. Some 60% of the country voted against the Liberal Party. The Liberals should receive only a minority government of 134 seats (they expect 184 as I wrote this), the Conservatives should get 108 seats (instead of 102), the NDP should have 66 (41), the Bloc Quebecois 16 (10), and the Green 11 (1). Additionally, there could be an independent and maybe a Libertarian.

Dear Liberal Party,

Here’s your ball. Run with it until you trip.

Another tale of tech support

I have a client I set up with an e-mail workaround. His domain service provider provided only POP e-mail while he, like most people with multiple devices, needed IMAP (which these days you’d call cloud e-mail).

I kept his work domain but routed everything through Gmail, which had the added benefit of the best spam filters in the world. His e-mail looked like it came from his-domain.ca, and all replies to him went to his-domain.ca, but Gmail was the way station between his-domain.ca and all his desktop and mobile devices.

Everything worked great for years until yesterday. His Mail application (I dislike that name even more than I dislike the application itself) stopped sending and retrieving his e-mail. I thought it was a problem at his domain provider and told him to hold tight while they no doubt fixed it overnight. This morning, things were still awry.

His other devices could access and send mail just fine. He called his domain provider and they recommended he access their IMAP server directly. Then he called me in.

It sounds like it was an authentication issue, right? I could log in to his Gmail page in a browser without a problem, so I knew I had the correct password and account name, but using them in Mail did not help. A quick look at Mail’s Connection Doctor showed that we could not access Gmail to get mail or its SMTP server to send mail.

While waiting for his domain provider to call me to help work this out, I had an idea. The browser passwords are stored separately from the system passwords. What would happen if I deleted all traces of his Google account from Mac OS X?

I opened the Keychain Access utility and looked at all the Google entries. There were four. I forget exactly what they were, but one was an authentication expiry, one was a new deadline, etc. I looked at the entries and nothing seemed particularly troublesome, but since I knew how to log in, deleting them would do no lasting harm.

I tried deleting the youngest first, but the entry would immediately be rebuilt – no good. So I deleted them starting from the oldest. In doing so, I got a system notification that I would have to log in again, which heartened me.

I closed Keychain Access and went back to Mail. I put in the requested password and poof – everything was working perfectly.

I didn’t find this solution when I looked, so I decided to write this to advance such obscure human knowledge through Google searches.