Mister Brisket Plays to Consecutive Sellouts at L’Albatros

Posted by: on Feb 7, 2013 in Blog | No Comments
Zack and Sanford

The stars pause for applause

On February 4 and 5, Sanford “Mr. Brisket” Herskovitz put on a two nite show at L’Albatros Brasserie and Bar with the help of  the restaurant’s wine maven Brandon Chrostowski, ace chef Jack Ahearn, and, of course, proprietor Zach Bruell.  Originally planned for a single evening, the idea was to serve cuts of beef popular in French Brasseries and pair them with wines from the Bordeaux region.  Sanford would discuss the beef, Brandon would add some details on the wine and everyone would eat and drink.

Well, the event, which was publicized via Open Table, Mister Brisket email and the Plain Dealer, proved so popular that a second nite was added.  All in all, roughly 110 people attended both evenings–and they were not disappointed.

Displayed Cuts of Beef

The food was superb, the paired wines were outstanding and the atmosphere–including live music–put everyone in a festive mood.  But the star of  both evenings was Sanford who filled in the time between courses (a kitchen and its service staff can’t just blast out fifty five beef samples and wine pours the moment the last course has ended–thus there was time to kill) by channeling his inner Henny Youngman and telling joke after joke with near flawless timing. Some were crowd friendly; others were more ribald.  But most of the people in attendance laughed continuously as they anxiously awaited the punchlines.

Sanford Telling Jokes

Here’s one Youngman classic–“I’m walking down the street and a woman runs up to me and says that for fifty bucks she’ll do things my wife never dreamed of.  I said Great…Make me dinner.”

Another joke told both nights–“A man and woman arrive at a resort on their honeymoon anxious to consummate their love.  But as the woman gets undressed, the man needs to use the bathroom.  He leaves the room and she lies down naked in the bed.  Well, not more than a few seconds pass when a train goes by and the vibration is so intense she is knocked onto the floor.  Stunned, she calls the resort manager who immediately comes to the room.  She explains what just took place and he says it’s not possible.  Then he looks at his watch and says–there will be another train in less than a minute.  So, the two of them lie down in the bed.  Just at this moment, the husband comes out of the bathroom and is stunned to see his wife in bed with the resort manager.  What are you doing! he shouts.  The manager’s response–Would you believe I’m waiting for a train?”

Chef Jack Ahearn

The evening itself featured several beef selections.  First came Steak Tartare made from Ground Round; next was Meyer Natural Angus USDA Prime Boneless Short Rib; the third round featured Flat Iron Steak and a Sirloin Butt Steak; finally Mister Briskets USDA Prime Meyer Natural Angus Hanger and Skirt Steak were served.  Brandon Chrostowski nailed the wines which were paired with each course.  And the kitchen staff, which also had to take care of other customers throughout the restaurant, did a superb job with the beef and side dishes.

Both nights were capped off with a terrific Lemon Tart and a very funny, slightly blue, true story from Zach Bruell.

Brandon enjoys a great MB sandwich as well as fine wine.

While everyone had a blast, much credit for this event belongs to L’Albatros sommelier, Brandon Chrostowski.  He  quietly put all the elements in place that made both evenings a success.  Kudos to Brandon, the service and kitchen staff at L’Albatros, as well as Zach Bruell and Sanford.  All of them did a fantastic job of turning a special event into a spectacular pair of evenings.


Holiday Gift Ideas

Posted by: on Dec 13, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

An email recently made its way to us that accused a popular fruit basket company of funding Islamic Jihad.  Since anything that arrives via email must be true, we decided to do some research and find out what other gift purveyors are doing with their funds.  Here’s what we discovered:

–Chocolate Purveyors invest profits into companies that manufacture acne medication.  Think about it.  They sell you the chocolate, it causes the zits, then they sell you the medicine to clear up the acne.  Pretty “sweet” deal for them.

–Florists have been putting their money into antihistamine providers.  They want you to buy flowers, cough, sneeze, and use medication to control it.

And, most embarrasingly, a major provider of boxed steaks of dubious quality puts enormous sums into the People’s Republic of North Korea.  Indeed, their secret slogan is “Deer Meat, Dear Leader.”
At Mister Brisket, we pledge to put all the profits from gifts you purchase towards one and only one non-controversial and honorable purpose–we’re gonna pay Howard Hansen from Cook Refrigeration. He’s the guy that maintains our freezers and coolers.  Less than a week ago, we had to replace the compressor on our wooden cooler.  Howard took care of it immediately.  It’s not a cheap job.  But he does great work….and he’s reliable.

Ten Recommended Gifts From Mister Brisket
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1) A Pan of Roasted or Barbecued Brisket:  $50  (also available as gift certificate)
It heats easily, tastes great, feeds a crowd and is a true Cleveland original.  No one does what we do with Brisket.  For $50, you can send anyone a wonderful gift that they can use immediately or freeze and enjoy at some point in the future.  Also available as a Gift Certificate.
2)  Two Meyer Natural Angus USDA Prime Skirt Steaks and a Two Pound Bag of Shrimp:  $65 (also available as gift certificate)
Recently a friend and his son joined my son and I for a steak fest.  We grilled several varieties but all of us were convinced that there is nothing that tops our amazing skirt steak for a great all around red meat fix.  Skirt Steak is not as well known as rib and strip but it’s every bit as good.  Each skirt feeds 3 adults.  The shrimp provides the “surf.”  Also available as a gift certificate.
3) USDA Prime Rib Steak for Two:  $30 (available as gift certificate)
We take one of our amazing prime ribs and cut a huge one bone steak.  We also provide the recipe, gift card and festively wrap this marbled Cowboy Rib.
4) Deli Dinner for Four Big Eaters:  $65 (available as gift certificate)
Four Extra Large Corned Beef Sandwiches (Pastrami or other meat can be subbed in), Four Potato Salads, Four Slices Cheesecake
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5) Burger and Dog Bonanza:  $65 (available as gift certificate)
Know someone that likes to grill?  How about twelve of our Brisket Burgers, twelve Turkey Breast Burgers and twelve Natural Casing Beef Hot Dogs?  Each item is of the highest quality and will come with simple grill instructions plus a gift card inside a festive wrap.
6) Six Jumbo Beef Tenderloin Filets:  $99 (available as gift certificate)
We cut Six Huge Filets, wrap them festively, and deliver along with a gift card and cooking instructions.

7) USDA Prime Steak Bonanza:  Two Prime Strips, Two Prime Rib Steaks, Two Prime Hangers and Two Prime Skirts: $125
This is a brilliant gift and best given to someone that loves red meat.  All steaks come with cooking instructions and gift cards.

8) Dearborn Spiral Half Hams:  $50
This brand represents the highest quality in spiral hams.  Give to someone that will appreciate quality.
Salami for Ship
9) A Salami For The Troops:  $20
Purchase a Salami to send to one of our soldiers in someone else’s name.  They will be notified that a salami is going to be shipped overseas as a gift from them and will receive info on the soldier that receives it when it arrives.  This is a wonderful honor and a great gift for people that prefer to do things for others.  For more info:http://www.misterbrisket.com/other-servicessend-salamis-to-the-troops/salamis-to-the-troops/

10) Pork Extravaganza:  One Pound of Smoked Slab Bacon, Two Kurobuta Pork Chops and Two Pork Tenderloins–$35

We deliver anywhere in Cuyahoga County or ship anywhere in the continental USA.  Call/fax/email the addresses and we can have your gift delivered by the end of next week.  Or, we can mail out gift certificates for all the items listed along with a gift card.  Mister Brisket Gift Recipients frequently weep with joy.  Make someone cry (happy tears) and purchase a gift from us.  For more ideas:

Please Note:  Costs of Delivery/Shipment are not included in costs of gifts.  Those are separate charges.

Mister Brisket Reminds You We Are Open On Sunday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 24.
We will also be open on Sunday, December 30 and Monday, Dec. 31.

Your Patronage is Appreciated.  Phone: 216 932 8620   Fax:  216 321 3511

email:  misterbrisket@earthlink.net

Fresh vs Frozen Turkey–Is there a Difference?

Posted by: on Nov 8, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

A common customer request at Thanksgiving is for a “wonderful, fresh turkey.”  The wonderful part is easy–we sell you an Empire Kosher Turkey, you follow our instructions http://www.misterbrisket.com/recipes/#turkey  and get a great result.

But the fresh part–well, that’s problematic.  The simple fact is that most turkeys sold as fresh-regardless of the purveyor–were previously frozen.  How do we know?  Simple.  An entire nation consumes turkeys on Thanksgiving.  Now, are we supposed to believe that all these animals are raised, slaughtered, processed and transported to markets at roughly the same time?  If all the turkeys sold as “fresh” had recently been killed, it would require massive numbers of turkey migrant workers streaming across the borders.  Turkey farmers would have to raise these animals simultaneously and then spend the rest of the year waiting for Thanksgiving to return.  Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Furthermore, here’s what the USDA has to say about the labeling of turkeys:

What Does “Fresh” or “Frozen” Mean on a Turkey Label?
The term “fresh” may ONLY be placed on raw poultry that has never been below 26 °F. Poultry held at 0 °F or below must be labeled “frozen” or “previously frozen.” No specific labeling is required on poultry between 0 and 26 °F.

The intriguing part of that statement is the last sentence.  Specifically, it indicates you can store a turkey at 1 degree–keeping it quite frozen–and not have to sell it as frozen.   And that is undoubtedly how Turkeys are sold as fresh that have previously been frozen.  Quite simply, the USDA is defining “frozen” as zero or below.  Just one degree above, however, gives you the chance to slack out the bird and allow the consumer to assume it is fresh.

Most importantly,  numerous tastings have been done with “frozen vs fresh” turkeys and the results have invariably demonstrated that the tasters can’t tell the difference.  Bottom line–enjoy a wonderful bird at Thanksgiving from Mister Brisket without concern.  We’ll make sure it tastes good–whether it was recently pecking the dirt or used as a hockey puck by warehouse workers.

Alternative Method for Roasting a Turkey

Posted by: on Nov 1, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

I have an alternative to my traditional turkey roasting method.  What follows is a method I’ve ripped off from Julia Child,you know who she is, and, Harold McGee, the author of “On Food and Cooking” and a few other complicated tomes about the chemistry and physics of cooking.

First Mc Gee:

A few years ago he wrote an article in the New York Times about how he “ages” a turkey. This means you pat the bird dry ,inside and out, with a bath towel. Then you put it on a plate in your refrigerator(uncovered) and let it dry out. You do this for a few days. McGee does this because he believes,as I do, brining  is an exercise in futility. But that’s fodder for another discussion. Anyway,after the turkey is dry, you roast it in the usual way.  The good news is that it tastes amazing. The bad, forget about the gravy. There is none!   The turkey,though, turns out to be moist. You must remove it at 165 internal temp.


Now Julia:

In one of her cookbooks she cuts- up the turkey into 5 parts;I.e., the whole breast with the wings on and  two legs. You take the two legs and separate the thighs and drumsticks. Now you got 5 parts. The rational is that the turkey will roast faster. If the leg parts finish before the breast, it’s no hassle to take them out of the oven and finish off the breast.  Again you have to watch internal temp.

Ok. What I’ve done is to combine the two methods. I dried  out the turkey, cut it into the 5 parts and roast it. I left the breast intact with the wings tied to it with butcher twine. I did not remove the backbone. This was done so the stuffing,I stuff my turkey, would not fall out and make a mess in the roasting pan. The results were amazing. Not only was the turkey , around 20lbs.,done in about three hours, it was  perfect. Moist,tender and to use a Yiddish term, mit a tom. Tasty!


If you want to try this method,I ‘ll take a 20lb. turkey, feeds around 12-15 people,”age” it  in our cooler,cut it into the 5 pieces and tie the wings to the breast. I’ll include written instructions for roasting. If you’re interested, PLEASE let me know at least

2 weeks before Thanksgiving or Christmas. Oh yeah, Empire Kosher Turkeys are the best for this methodology. Reason? I never use anything else.

Making Roast Chicken

Posted by: on Oct 29, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

Making Roast Chicken                   10/29/12

So, what’s a good meal to complement two consecutive days of rain?  Well, if you run a meat shop, and you have a cooler full of good stuff, you might want to roast a chicken.  So, that’s what I decided to do.

I started off with one of these amazing dry pluck fryers.  That’s the chicken I keep talking about in emails with no growth hormones or antibiotics that’s never scalded when it’s processed:  http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/1002393/3ae62006dd/ARCHIVE

Ok…enough plugging…you can keep buying at the supermarket if you like the chicken equivalent of a Dr. Kevorkian patient.

Since I possess sharp knives and modest meat cutting skills, I decided to process this chicken like the ones we send to L’Albatros.  That is to say, I opened up the back and boned out the breast.  Next, I rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with the usual suspects–Kosher salt, Black pepper, Paprika and Granulated garlic.  Here’s what it looked like:

Please note…I am not a professional photographer nor do I play one on TV.  Nevertheless, what you have here is a 3 1/2 pound bird with a boneless breast.  Legs and wings are attached.  Paprika is plentiful.  Next I added a breast, which I also de-boned and seasoned.  After all, I’ve gotta feed a wife, two kids and eke out a few leftovers for Buttons the Dog. See how little he is?

Next, I flipped over the chicken so the skin was on top.  This way, the fat runs onto the meat–not away from it.  Then I placed it in my oven and roasted until the internal temperature hit 160 degrees–which is done for poultry.  It’s tricky because the breast will get done a bit faster than the thigh.  This is because dark meat–which contains fat–takes longer to cook.  It’s important to take the temperature in both the breast and thigh to assure the chicken is thoroughly done.  I should mention that I cooked the chicken in a convection oven on a flat surface at 300 degrees.   My recommendation would be 325 degrees if you’re using a conventional oven.

Because the breast is boneless, the whole chicken roasted in roughly 40 minutes–faster than if it had the bone in.  Here’s your model citizen.

Now, there is no question but that the look of the chicken would have benefited greatly from the presence of a food stylist.  However, it is delicious. In addition, look how nicely Buttons filled out after eating quality chicken.

Just add some baked potatoes and your favorite green vegetable and you’re in business.


Tell It Like It Is

Posted by: on Oct 29, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

So, I received a call this morning around 10am (Oct. 23) from a woman in New York. She quickly identified herself as the daughter of a long time customer and explained that her mother had been bringing her items from Mister Brisket for years. How, she wondered, could she get a few things herself without needing her Mom to serve as courier? I quickly explained how easy it was for us to ship to her via UPS ground and that it would take two days to arrive–still frozen. We discussed items she’d recently had and really liked–including our amazing beef pastrami and Meyer Natural Angus USDA Prime Beef Skirt Steaks. I told her the cost on these items and how much she could expect shipping to add to her total. She added on a Meyer Natural Angus USDA Prime First Cut Brisket for the slow cooker and decided that was enough for her first order.

Ok, I said–now the last thing needed is a credit card number. Susan told me to hang on and then came back to the phone. The card is in my husband’s name she explained which led me to immediately think to myself that this is information I don’t want. In truth, I need the numbers, exp. date, special code and billing address zip. Plus, the other phone was ringing and someone had walked in for an early corned beef sandwich. But, before I could tell her not to bother, she finished telling me his name–Aaron Neville. Funny, I replied, there’s a famous singer with the same name.

Yes, she told me, that’s my husband.

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Corned Beef

Posted by: on Feb 3, 2012 in Beef, Blog, Recipes | No Comments

At our store, we have a large convection oven.  Each corned beef is placed inside a cooking bag that we seal with a heat resistant twist tie.  Next, we punch several holes in the top of the bag and place it on an oven tray.  The corned beefs are then placed in the oven fat side up and cooked for slightly over three hours at 300 degrees.  Now, this method works well for us but may not be suitable for you.

If you don’t have a convection oven—or cooking bags–you can still bake your corned beef.  First, heat your oven to 325 degrees.  Secondly, use a roasting pan with a lid.  An eight pound raw corned beef in a home oven should take a little over three hours.  Remember, place it fat side up in your roasting pan and keep the cover on.  If you have a meat thermometer, then consider your corned beef done when it reaches 190 degrees.  You don’t need to add any liquid; your corned beef has plenty of fat.

The most common method of preparing a corned beef is to boil it. Place a large stockpot on the stove and put in the corned beef.  Add several quarts of water (at least enough to comfortably cover the meat).   Bring the water to a rolling boil.  Then, turn down the temperature and allow the corned beef to simmer for about three hours.

Slicing Your Corned Beef

There is only one rule for slicing corned beef—cut directly against (perpendicular) the grain.  The grain is easy to spot.  Just look at the lean side of the meat and you’ll see it all run in a similar direction.  It can become tricky when you’re slicing both the point and flat section together.  When that occurs, stick with the direction that the flat section is going.  There is a lot of fat in between the two sections.  Remove as best you can.

If this seems like a lot of work, keep in mind that Mister Brisket offers free slicing on all corned beefs that are purchased from our store.  You can cook it in advance (see next paragraph), bring it to our store, and we’ll de-fat and slice it for you.

An Option—Cook it Ahead of Time

One smart thing to do is to cook your corned beef several days before you plan to serve it.  This makes the trimming and slicing much easier.  The process is basic.  First, cook as you normally would.  Then, allow the meat to cool for several hours at room temperature.  When it’s done wrap it in foil.  Next, place it in your fridge.  When you’re ready to serve, trim off the excess fat and slice your corned beef.  Now, just re-heat.

Re-Heating Cold Corned Beef

The easiest thing to do is to place your slices of corned beef in a cooking bag and seal it.  Do not punch holes.  Next, put the cooking bag in a pot of boiling water and let sit for about ten minutes.    Another method is to place the corned beef in a steamer or double boiler.  Also, you have the option of placing your sliced corned beef in your roasting pan.  Pour on a little water.  Heat the meat for around 45 minutes at 275 degrees.  The meat is ready when it’s hot.

Beef Short Ribs

Posted by: on Feb 3, 2012 in Beef, Blog, Recipes | No Comments

(Serves 8)

New recipe coming soon. In the meantime, you can make them using our brisket recipe. Substitute six pounds of beef short ribs for one first cut brisket and cook the same way.

Basic Veal Stew

Posted by: on Feb 3, 2012 in Blog, Recipes, Veal | No Comments

(Feeds 4)


2 lbs Veal Shoulder/Chuck
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup white wine (you can sub veal stock or beef stock)
2 cups cored/chopped tomatoes (use canned)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup pitted black olives
Salt and pepper


Place a large skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes…Add two tbsp olive oil. One minute later add the veal chunks and brown…remove the veal when it is browned on all sides…clean the skillet removing all liquid. Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil and onions. Stir them occasionally until soft (5-10 minutes)…Add the garlic and cook for one minute…Add the wine or stock, some salt and pepper and bring the liquid to a boil and leave for one minute…Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme and reduce heat until mixture is simmering…return the veal chunks and turn the heat to low. Cover and allow to cook until the veal is tender. Stir occasionally. This should take around 45 minutes. Add the olives (you don’t have to use them if you don’t like them). Taste and season according to personal preference.

Classic Beef Stew

Posted by: on Feb 3, 2012 in Beef, Blog, Recipes | No Comments

Classic Beef Stew

(Feeds 6)


2-2 1/2 lbs beef chuck chunks
2 tbsp olive oil, 1clove crushed garlic
1 tbsp minced garlic, 3 large onions cut up
3 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (sub dried thyme if needed)
5 large potatoes–peel and cut into chunks
5 large carrots cut up
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat a large deep skillet for which you have a cover at med. high…add the oil and crushed garlic clove then stir for 1 minute…remove and discard the garlic…add the beef chunks a few at a time. Turn them so they brown on both sides. Keep adding…Season the beef with salt and pepper as it cooks…remove the beef with a slotted spoon when it is browned. Spoon out the fat from the pan as best as possible…Turn down the heat to medium. Add the onions, stirring, until they soften…Add the flour and cook, stirring, for another couple minutes…Add the beef stock, wine, thyme, bay leaf and the beef chunks. Turn down the heat to low and cover. Let it cook for 30 minutes…Uncover the pan. The mixture should be soupy. Add the carrots, potatoes and turn up the heat to bring it back to a boil. Now turn it back down and cover. Leave alone for at least a half hour. At this point see if the beef and veggies are tender. Cook until they are. Add more salt and pepper during this process if necessary…Add the minced garlic and peas. If the stew is too soupy, remove the cover and turn up the heat until some of the excess liquid has boiled off. If the consistency is good, let sit covered until the peas are heated. When peas are finished, serve and enjoy.

If you want to make the stew but not serve it right away, remove the beef and vegetables from the liquid. Place the beef and veggies in one container and the liquid in another. When ready to serve, place back in the skillet, cover and heat.