Brisket is a
cut of meat that is shied away from mostly because people know it's
tough. If you know this up front all you have to do is prepare to
deal with it!
The beef brisket comes from the breast section
right under the first five or six ribs. It is a dense meat
(very little or no marbled fat) and cooking it to be tender is a
time consuming yet easy chore. It's all in the preparation and most
importantly in the cooking.
This is a method I use for your regular 6 - 9 lb.
brisket untrimmed. I won't buy the trimmed brisket unless it will be
put in a soup or something.
You can experiment with the seasonings for this.
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1 tbs. Garlic powder
1/3 cup lemon juice
Mix together well....
Marinade brisket in it's original cry-o-pack if
that's what it came in. With the fat side up slit the plastic about
6 inches so you can pour the marinade in. Work it around best you
can and refrigerate overnight.
I'll allow about 1/2 hour per pound to cook the
brisket at 225 - 250º F. This is an estimate, some briskets are
tougher than others. When I purchase a whole brisket I look for the
smallest one in the case. I figure the smaller the brisket the
smaller the cow the more tender the meat.
When ready to cook take the brisket out of the
plastic and save the marinade. Rub the brisket down with any
seasonings you like trying not to use any that contain too much
salt. Lightly oil a roaster or pan with at least 2" sides,
place the brisket in fat side up. Pour in the marinade and about a
cup of water. Lay 6 - 8 slices of bacon on top.
Cook uncovered about 2 hours to get it brown. You can also brown
it on top the stove if you have a pot big enough. In the oven you
can let the water cook out of it and that will brown it, but don't
let it cook "dry" for too long.
Check it every 30 minutes or so to be sure there is still water
in the pan and add as needed. After the initial few hours cover the
pan. Heavy duty aluminum foil will work if you don't have a cover.
An hour or so before it's done slice some mushrooms, onions and
bell peppers (cubed - 1" X 1"). Put them in with brisket
adding enough water or beef stock just to cover the vegetables. Add
about a tsp. each of creole seasoning, black pepper, and, 1 each
tbs. Worcestershire and soy sauce. Cover again and let it cook.
Now the tricky part "when do I know it's done?".
Generally you can take some tongs and grab one side of the brisket
and bend it. If the meat looks like it wants to separate it's done.
When I say done I mean tender enough, not cooked to a certain
temperature which of course you should check also.
I'll sometimes just cook it till it all falls apart to use for
You can cook the brisket in the oven or the pit if it's big
enough to keep the pan away from the fire. You can also start it in
the oven and finish it in the pit for a smoked flavor.
When all is done you need to discard the fat.
it's been cooked enough you can take a knife and scrape the fat (knife
perpendicular to the grain) right off the meat with the knife's edge as shown in the
When slicing the brisket look for the grain and
slice it first (with the grain) in the widths you want as shown here.
Then, cut it against the grain. I like to use an electric knife for
this. This is a dense and naturally tough meat, so the thinner the
slices the better the meat.
Most briskets will have two distinct pieces of meat separated
by fat and each piece of meats' grain is running opposite ways. To
properly cut it you should separate these two pieces, remove any
fat, and, cut them
This brisket is is only half (the smaller portion) of
the large one shown at the beginning of this recipe.
When all the meat is sliced take the meat and put
it in a
casserole dish, then, pour the gravy and vegetables over the brisket.
Let it rest for about 15 minutes. Taste it and sprinkle seasoning as
you like. Makes great sandwiches!