Being a grad student leaves little time for eating, let alone cooking.  So whenever I have an opportunity to cook something that will carry over for a few days, I take full advantage. Especially when that something requires minimal effort!

Last Monday, I cooked a brisket with this exact plan in mind.  Brisket is pretty common in Texas, it’s really delicious and actually can be easy to cook when you learn the proper technique.  You can barbecue it or even cook it in the oven.  Because it’s such a large cut of meat, it lasts forever!  Plus chopped beef sandwiches or even just pieces of cold, sliced brisket are amazing snacks or lunches.

To round out my meal, I also made a pot of pinto beans and some cole slaw.  In the words of Ron Popeil, this is definitely a “set it and forget it” kind of meal– the brisket bakes for several hours on low heat, the beans simmer on the stove for quite a while, and the cole slaw can even marinate overnight in the fridge.

Oven Brisket:

I used about a 4 lb. brisket, but you can get larger or smaller ones and adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 1- 4 lb. brisket
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce plus about a half-jar of water– enough to cover the meat.  My favorite it the Salt Lick’s Lauren’s Recipe, a spicier, habanero version of their original…  you can find it at Whole Foods
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Trim the fat from the brisket, leaving a thin layer facing up to help keep the meat moist.  Season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper and cover with the sauce and water.  Cover with foil and bake at 325 for at least 4 hours.

Pinto Beans:

For two people I recommend about a half pound of dry beans.  Don’t forget to sort them before cooking… this was my big job when I was younger– taking the beans out of the bag and double-checking for rocks or beans that don’t look so great.

  • 1/2 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 1/8 cup chile powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water to cover the beans

Sort beans into a colander and rinse under cold water.  Cover beans with water in a heavy stock pot.  Add chile powder and pepper.  IMPORTANT: Do not add salt to the beans until they’re done cooking.  Otherwise it will break them down and make them mushy.  Boil the beans on medium-high heat for an hour or so or until they’re soft.  Stir in salt.

Cole Slaw:

Using the Fresh Express packaged shredded cabbage is a HUGE time saver in this recipe.  Otherwise you can buy heads of white and red cabbage and use half of each.

  • 1 package shredded cabbage or 1/2 of a red and white head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegetable oil (about 2 turns of the bowl)
  • 2 tsp (or a very large pinch) of sugar
  • salt and pepper

Combine the cabbage, bell pepper and red onion in a large bowl.  Toss with vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate up to overnight to allow the vinegar to slightly pickle the cabbage and combine the flavors.