Chris Erasmus’ Masterclass BBQ Brisket Suet Pie

BBQ Beef Brisket and Onion Pie, Stinging Nettle, Mom’s Apricot Chutney & Wild Herbs

Recipe by: Chris Erasmus
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BBQ Beef Brisket

1 beef brisket, deboned (African breed eg Bonsmara, Nguni or Brahmaan)
1 ½ cups coarse Kalahari salt
¼ cup dried wild mushroom (porcini, pine ring or poplar bolette)
3T brown sugar
3T black peppercorns
3T coriander seeds
1T garlic powder
2T smoked paprika
1/2T chili flakes

  1. Place the mushrooms, peppercorns, coriander seeds and chili flakes in a blender and pulse until fine.
  2. Add the salt, sugar, garlic powder and paprika and pulse until lightly coarse.
  3. Rub the brisket generously with the spiced salt, place in a sealable container and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.
  4. Stoke the BBQ with oak logs and run until 170°C and the smoke turns from grey to blue (dirty smoke is bitter vs blue smoke = sweet).
  5. Place the brisket either on the rack or in a heat proof tray and BBQ for 6-8 hours.
  6. From here you can either remove and braise for 2 hours at 150°C or wrap the briskets in foil – 3-4 times and continue BBQ until soft and flexible. – rest for minimum of 3 hours before slicing.
  7. Reserve the rendered fat from the BBQ, strain through an oil filter or muslin cloth and refrigerate for later use for the pastry.

Suet Pastry

300g all-purpose flour (cake)
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1 cup picked stinging nettle leaves, washed and patted dry completely
150g BBQ brisket fat, cubed and kept refrigerated
+- ¼ cup ice water

  1. Place the flour, baking powder, salt and nettle in a blender and run at high speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the cold fat and pulse the blender or food processor in short bursts to incorporate the fat without overworking the mixture.
  3. Add the water by eye until you have a soft dough and lightly work the water in by hand.
  4. Flatted, and refrigerate until needed. (minimum time in fridge – 30 minutes).

Sous vide onion juice

500g sliced onion, thinly
1kg onion, peeled and juiced
¼ tsp chopped rosemary
1tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 x 1l screw top glass jar

  1. Heat a full pot of water with an immersion circulator to 88.5°C.
  2. Bring another pot of water to the boil and place the jar and lid in the water for 10 minutes to sterilise.
  3. Remove the jar using tongs and leave to air dry for 10 minutes.
  4. Place all the ingredients in the jar, seal tightly with the lid and place in the water bath for 3-4 hours until the mixture is golden brown.
  5. Strain the juice and reserve the onion for the pie.