What’s cooking today: Slow-roasted bone-in beef brisket

What’s cooking today: Slow-roasted bone-in beef brisket
Tony Jackman’s slow-roasted brisket on a bed of rosemary. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

In just seven days, Frank N Furter claimed lasciviously in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I can make you a man. In just four hours, you can turn out a beautiful hunk yourself – a hunk of beef brisket that’s juicy, succulent and, well, as perfect as Rocky.

This, I thought to myself as I admired the fine form of a slab of trimmed beef brisket on the bone, was going to be cooked on a bed of rosemary and surrounded by a braising stock of reduced aged balsamic, good red wine, decent beef stock and mustard. Plenty of black pepper too, and Kalahari smoked salt.

This Big Boy deserved flavour.

But the showpiece of the recipe would be the beef itself. That this joint was available at the butchery of my local Tams SuperSpar was doubly astonishing, because I’d just been admiring the crown of mutton rib nearby, and a giant beef shin “hammer” nearby. Something was happening at my local butchery.

The new meat display at Tams SuperSpar in Cradock: brisket on the bone roasts towards the left, thick-cut saddle chops, beautiful crowns of mutton ribs in need of a very slow cook all day, and joints of lamb leg including the shanks. Classy, and good news for any food writers who live in town. Now let’s have a small fresh fish deli please, shipped in from PE twice a week? (Photo: Tony Jackman)

It transpires that a former staffer had spent some time in Cape Town and learnt all manner of butcher’s tricks, and brought them back to his old Karoo town. The formerly rather straightforward choices have made way for all manner of delights for anyone who, like me, needs to come up with five fresh recipes a week and is always looking out for something different.

I had first thought that it was short rib on the bone, but it was labelled brisket once they’d packaged it up for me. I studied images of both cuts online and they do look rather similar, but brisket it was, cut in a stylishly Frenched way. Once the roasting had shrunk the meat, the result looked pretty grand. It needs a good few hours of cooking, both short rib and brisket being among the toughest cuts of beef.

To confirm that it was brisket, I sent a photo off to Richard Bosman, who knows his meat and cuts. He confirmed that it was brisket but an unusual way of cutting it.

Well. This is a cut I am going to ask them to do again, because they’re on to something. It made for a generous roast for two people, which suits us fine. You could ask a butcher to prepare a wider cut for you.

It weighed 900g but a fair bit of that weight is bone, so it might be too stingy for three or four people.

(Serves 2)


1 x 900g brisket on the bone


Olive oil

Salt and black pepper

1 litre good beef stock (I used a great glug of Nomu beef stock mixed with 1 litre of water)

5 long rosemary branches to match the length of the bone

1 glass of good red wine

3 Tbsp mustard

3 garlic cloves, bashed and chopped

½ cup balsamic reduction

2 heaped Tbsp mustard


Preheat the oven to 220℃.

Season the brisket all over with salt.

In a heavy iron oven pan (like the old black ones that came with your oven), brown the joint well on all sides in melted butter and olive oil.

Choose the youngest rosemary branches you can identify, about the length of the brisket bone. Place the rosemary in a pile in the centre of the oven pan. Place the brisket on top of this.

Pour 1 litre of beef stock into a jug and stir in a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or other hefty red wine. Whisk 3 Tbsp of mustard into this and add the chopped garlic. Season with salt and black pepper and stir.

Pour this around the meat but not on top, after seasoning both sides with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Mix the balsamic reduction and mustard in a bowl and brush it on top of the meat. Brush the remainder on top of the beef during cooking.

Put it in the 220℃ oven for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160℃ (170℃ in my wilful gas oven) and roast for another three or four hours or until the meat is just ready to slide off the bone.

About 40 minutes before the end of the roasting period, remove from the oven, discard the tin foil, and spoon the remainder of the baste on the fat cap. Put it back into the oven for another 40 minutes or so.

I served it with sautéed mushrooms and cauliflower and broccoli cheese finished in an air fryer.

Serve with the pan juices or, if they have cooked away too much, deglaze the pan with a glass of red wine and a splash of balsamic reduction. There were still enough pan juices with my roast. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Michael Forsyth says:

    Hi Tony, I wonder if this would work cooked in a Wonderbag (if you don’t know about a Wonderbag for cooking fantastic stews and curries, and saving electricity at the same time, you need to investigate one). I reckon I’d get this up to a decent heat in the oven and then transfer it to the Wonderbag for slow cooking overnight. Imagine how much electricity you’d save instead of cooking in the oven for four to six hours.

  • Gordon Wright says:

    Wow Jackers! This is a real show stopper in my book. I am defo going to try this one.

  • John Ridler says:

    Hi Tony
    The brisket on the bone looks mouthwateringly good.
    Wish my butcher in Jnb would put on a good display like yours.
    Well done.

  • Dave Keating says:

    Tony you forgot to put the foil on before you discarded it 😉 sounds delicious. You are lucky to have such a great accessible butcher nearby and in a supermarket nogal. It’s a dying trade sadly.

    I did similar the other day with a brisket from Checkers, they have them cut to size in foil trays, so not a nice piece of bone like yours.

    I put it on fresh bay branches and it came out beautifully.

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