Pot Roast: ?? re cooking brisket v. chuck
I just bought my first first brisket.
Can I marinate it, sear and brown it, then braise it the same as I would a chuck roast?
Anything I ought to know?
My most yummy brisket recipe calls for no marinating and no searing, just low, slow oven-braising. And it always receives rave reviews -- tender and SOOOO tasty!
3 very large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 whole brisket (approx. 6-7 pounds), patted dry with paper towel
½ tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds yellow onions, halved and sliced
4 medium carrots, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
3 large ribs of celery, sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 bay leaves
2 bottles Heinz chili sauce
2 12-oz. bottles good quality dark beer
Preheat oven to 325°
Rub chopped garlic onto both sides of the brisket. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper.
Spread onions, carrots and celery in a roasting pan. Place the meat over the vegetables. Put two bay leaves under the meat and two on top of the meat.
Combine chili sauce and beer in a large bowl. Carefully pour mixture over meat.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and braise in oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven, remove foil and allow meat to cool for about 20 minutes. Remove all remaining visible fat from the meat, then slice the meat against the grain.
Strain liquid into a fat separator and pour off fat. Add the de-fatted liquid and vegetables from pan to a saucepan or large bowl. Using an immersion blender, puree some of the vegetables, leaving some in large pieces for texture. Put the sliced meat into an ovenproof casserole dish. Cover meat with gravy. Cover and reheat. This dish is even better the following day.
How large is your brisket? A real whole brisket (usually sold in a cryovac bag) runs 11 pounds or more. The 6-7 lb. "whole" brisket that CindyJ describes is probably a whole flat cut, with the fattier point cut removed. The flat cut is leaner and easier to slice, and is usually what is sold in supermarkets or by most butchers. Also, most supermarkets trim the brisket to the usual 1/4-inch of fat, which is not enough to baste, moisten and flavor the brisket during the very long cooking.
I agree that it is not necessary to sear a brisket as you would a chuck roast. I also don't think you need to marinate, as you would a flank steak, for example. Brisket is full-flavored on its own, and will also pick up loads of flavor during the hours of braising in a flavorful liquid. (Obviously, if you were going to BBQ the brisket it would be a whole different story, necessitating a very flavorful spicy rub.)
The chili-beer recipe is a good model. You definitely want lots of garlic and loads of onions. I also like celery and carrots, some people like the taste that bell pepper adds, and I sometimes add zucchini and mushrooms for more bulk. For the moisture, you could go with wine and chicken or beef stock or broth, and throwing in a packet of that dried onion soup/dip mix isn't unheard of.
Cooking is long, slow, covered and sealed. 325 is as high as I'd go, maybe even 300. You do need several hours of braising in the oven. The internal temp of the meat should reach 200 or darn close to make sure the connective tissue has melted and the meat is tender. I definitely think it is better after being chilled and reheated, so you can cook it a day or two ahead. It will also be MUCH easier to slice when cold and firmed up. Also, the fat in the cooking liquid will solidify and be easy to remove -- don't throw it away, it will be great for roasting potatoes. I disagree about removing all visible fat from the meat -- this isn't a diet dish and a bit of fat adds moisture and flavor. Reheat after slicing covered with the cooking liquid/gravy and softened vegies.
Treat it as you would a chuck roast but sear and browning is not necessary. Slicing is very important. Must go against the grain as you would a flank steak. If you have a whole packer brisket I seperate the two parts after it's cooked and let each cool in the fridge before slicing. The grains run different.
That's right about the "whole" brisket, which I haven't been able to find in my area. I usually get my brisket still in the cryovac bag, untrimmed. The pieces of brisket you usually see in the meat case have been trimmed of the fat, which I believe, is an essential part of the cooking. I just ask the butcher for the whole package, unopened. I wish I could find a bona fide "whole" brisket, including the point cut.
I normally do marinate my brisket overnight, for extra flavor. I never do that for a pot roast. But you don't have to. Cut little slits into the brisket and put slivers of garlic into each slit. Make sure you have enough fluid and cook slow and long. You can do it in the oven or on the grill (covered in foil or in a foil bag. You need the fluid to make it moist. And it HAS to be sliced correctly or it is trash. But no need to sear, and I think that would probably make it worse. I do use Claude's marinade for brisket, sometimes, or an Italian dressing, but if you put in a good beef broth that works too, (not meaning the marinade.)
You slice it diagonally across/against the grain. When you pick up the first real slice (first cut is a little triangle) You hold it up and look it, by the thin end. It should separate into bite size section and break apart easily, as if you don't even need a knife to cut it. If it is a strip of meat with no give, you have sliced it the wrong way. Same goes with fajita meat.
If I can find a photo I will add it later.
This came from this board and I don't know to whom the credit belongs but it is killer!
Season with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic. Sear it in a cast iron pan and brown it on all sides. (cut it in half first if necessary)
Roast for about a 1/2 an hour in a dutch oven, uncovered at 400
Add 3 cups of beef broth, a 12oz. bottle of dark beer and top it off with 2 sliced (huge) onions.
Reduce the heat to 350 and let it cook for another 3 (about) hours
turning it once in a while (3 times throughout)
Sweet Pea uses New Castle Ale