I have never made Brisket. For about three years, for the most part, I did not eat meat. No poultry, beef, eggs…none of it. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I couldn’t even look at meat without gagging.
Then, I had a dream. Not like a Dr. King dream, like a sleepy dream. And it had something to do with brisket. I hear about all of these great chefs cooking brisket and thought, there is no way I can do that. One, I really had no idea what it was, other than beef. Two, from the way people talk about it, I thought it was difficult to make.
I’m here to tell you, it’s not hard. Not at all.
My husband, he’s a beef and potatoes guy. Me? I just want my food to taste incredible, no matter what it is. So when I woke up from this brisket dream, I told my husband, “I want to make brisket today.” Off to Whole Foods we went and when we got there, I looked at the meat cooler…no brisket. hmm…I asked the butcher if they had brisket and he said, “Yes! It’s in the back, we don’t keep it up here.” SUPER! So I bought 3.66lbs. (I got the first cut, if you’re curious)
Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest. While all meat animals have a brisket, the term is most often used to describe beef and sometimes veal. The beef brisket is one of the eight beef primal cuts. According to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, the term derives from the Middle English “brusket” which comes from the earlier Old Norse “brjósk“, meaning cartilage. The cut overlies the sternum, ribs and connecting costal cartilages. (Taken from Wikipedia)
I really had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to cook it or what to do with it. I just knew it needed to be braised. According to a bunch of other ‘home cooks’ Tyler Florence makes a killer brisket. So I went with it. I have a plethora of Red Wine that needs to be used before we move and his recipe called for two cups. It was fate!
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles striped from the stem and chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (4 pound) beef brisket, first-cut
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 large carrots, cut in 3-inch chunks
- 3 celery stalks, cut in 3-inch chunks
- 4 large red onions, halved
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)
- Potato Pancakes, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
On a cutting board, mash the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt together with the flat-side of a knife into a paste. Add the rosemary and continue to mash until incorporated. Put the garlic-rosemary paste in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; stir to combine.
Season both sides of the brisket with a fair amount of kosher saltand ground black pepper. Place a large roasting pan or Dutch ovenover medium-high flame and coat with the remaining olive oil. Put the brisket in the roasting pan and sear to form a nice brown cruston both sides. Lay the vegetables all around the brisket and pour the rosemary paste over the whole thing. Add the wine and tomatoes; toss in the parsley and bay leaves. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 3 to 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.
Remove the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Scoop the vegetables out of the roasting pan and onto a platter, cover to keep warm. Pour out some of the excess fat, and put the roasting pan with the pan juices on the stove over medium-high heat. Boil and stir for 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced by 1/2. (If you want a thicker sauce, mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of wine or water and blend into the gravy).
Slice the brisket across the grain (the muscle lines) at a slight diagonal.
For my daily “Favorite”, I have a dutch oven (or…several) and I can’t help but admit, that I really, really love Le Creuset. There was an outlet in Carlsbad, CA and I stopped in, every time I was up there. These dutch ovens are used and abused, but they never fail me. The brisket I bought fit perfect in my Buffet Baker.
I seasoned the brisket, added the Rosemary-Garlic paste, then the wine…
As a tip on cooking with wine. Never use anything you would not drink, and enjoy. It doesn’t make much sense to cook with something you wouldn’t even drink, does it? (I used L’Uvaggio di Giacomo Sangiovese Il Ponte 2000. I LOVE the bottle!)
Then I baked. And braised. For 3.5 hours.
Another one of my favorite things…Red Wine reductions. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are sexy and absolutely one of the most delicious ‘gravies’ I have ever eaten. I made one a couple years ago and LOVED it. I haven’t been able to say no to one since. If you have never tried one…please do, soon. Amazing…I promise. As I write this, my husband is actually dipping spoonfuls of mashed potato into it.
I took it out of the oven and the smell, was awesome. My husband poked the brisket and said, “It’s going to fall apart when we take it out.” “Yeah, that’s the point. I think.”
Took it out, let it rest. Made some mashed potatoes with some red potatoes I had left from last week. Make the reduction and plated.
For the love of pectorals, this stuff is awesome!
Friends and family should probably take notes so they can tell me what they want me to cook/bake when they visit or I visit them. And put this on your list. Trust me, it’s awesome…