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posted: 12/12/2012 6:36 AM

Pressure cooker speeds up a classic Hanukkah dish

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  • Cooking beef for sweet-and-tangy barbecue brisket sliders in a pressure cooker frees up the oven for other Hanukkah dishes.

      Cooking beef for sweet-and-tangy barbecue brisket sliders in a pressure cooker frees up the oven for other Hanukkah dishes.
    Associated Press

By J.M. Hirsch
Associated Press

The nice thing about cooking a monster brisket for Hanukkah -- aside, of course, from the fact that the meat can be mouth meltingly delicious -- is that it is a dish you can mostly ignore as it cooks.

Season a massive hunk of brisket, toss it in a Dutch oven with some liquid, then pop it in a 275 degrees oven for the better part of a day. Done. And delicious.

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And that's what I planned to do for this recipe. Until I realized that while that approach does leave the cook free to do other things, it also monopolizes the oven. And it does so at such a low temperature that it becomes difficult to share the space with other dishes you might want to prepare.

So instead, I turned to that most terrifying -- and misunderstood -- of kitchen tools, the pressure cooker. Modern pressure cookers are quite safe. Basically, they lock in moisture and -- thanks to the pressure seal -- are able to cook at a higher temperature. The result is fast, even cooking that won't dry out your food.

Which means my sweet-and-tangy barbecue brisket sliders cook in about 1 hours instead of all day. And the hands-on time is the same.

• Associated Press Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter @JM--Hirsch or email him at

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