Two brisket questions
1. Just bought first-cut brisket today, Monday, that I am going to serve Saturday night...(with recipe from The Mensch Cookbook...spicy brisket) Can I brown the meat in advance, (like Tuesday or Wednesday) and keep refrigerated until I actually prepare the dish on Friday?
2. When making a pot-roast type dish with brisket, many recipes say to separate the meat from the liquid for refrigerating. What is the reason for this..so the fat can be skimmed more easily when chilled? What will happen if I store the entire brisket in the sauce?
In response tothe first question:
Yes, you can sear the meat in advance. I wouldn't suggest doing it Tues for Saturday... Perhaps Thurs or Fri... I worked in catering for several years and we often seared off more than we needed and stored the rest... However- using the fond (browned yumminess) in the bottom of the pan is one of the things that makes home-made brisket so yummy.
As for the second part- You may store the brisket in its own sauce. I prefer to do that actually- getting the fat off is slightly more difficult, but not the worst thing in the world... The only thing to consider is the cooling time involved... I suspect by "storing it in its own sauce" you mean to prepare the whole thing in advance and just re-heat it in time for service. Good idea. Just make sure the whole thing cools quickly and reheats evenly.
You know the recipes always tell you that it takes just a few minutes to sear but it seems to take about a half hour to sear a large piece of meat (this brisket is four pounds) enough to get good carmelization on each side. Maybe I am not using high enough heat..who knows? But I see your point: Why do it so early? I wanted to avoid having so much work on the traveling day before the actual dinner.
I've made brisket pot-roast style many times and I see no reason you can't hold it browned and well wrapped until you're ready for the final braising. And since you're wet braising it, as opposed to baking it, I see no reason it wouldn't be even better after sitting in its liquid, as long as it's not floating in a very watery liquid. I'm assuming the liquid is a rich, thick oniony/garlicky wonderfulness.