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Apr 12, 2010 12:32 PM

Brisket does not fit in dutch oven - HELP

I am about to cook a 3-4 pound beef brisket in a dutch oven (oval, 6 quart) but I just realized that it doesn't really fit properly. If I put it in, some of it will come up the sides a bit. Is this a problem? Can I braise it properly like this or would I be better off cutting it into pieces?


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  1. Cut it into pieces so you can use the cover properly. You will probably slice it later anyway.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rhee

      I have no problem covering the pot, it is just that it does not fit properly on the bottom of the pot. Should I still cut it?

    2. I'd cut it into 2 pieces but you could just let it come up the sides, it shouldn't hurt the method other than the sides is where the liquid normally would go. Do you have a covered roaster? I sometimes use mine when I have something that wont fit in a smaller vessel; it can be used on the stovetop.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw

        You can move it around enough to sear the whole thing. Then, if it only comes up the sides by an inch or so, it will shrink enough that by the time it's halfway through braising, it will no longer touch the sides. If you don't care about presenting it on a platter in one piece, with neat slices, there's no harm in cutting it in half.

        1. re: greygarious

          Have to agree...put the lid on and go for it! It will shrink as it cooks.


          1. re: Uncle Bob

            STrongly agree. After searing it will shrink and while braising it will shrink, too. If it is way too big to brown, brown the meat with a SS fry-pan or saute pan, take it out add the aromatics, saute them, and add liquid to degraze. Put the meat and braising liquid to the DO. It should normally help. The beauty of the enamel cast iron DO is all in one pot, but nothing is wrong with browning and degrazing in the different pan if the pan is a SS pan and NOT A NON-STICK PAN. I do this when meat is flat shaped and I feel the surface of my oval shaped DO is not wide enough. (but it is very rare case, only with a big brisket and sometimes breast of veals because they are so squarely shaped. With other meats, such as pork shoulders and chuck roast, you should be fine with all in one pot with your DO because their shapes are more in rectangular.). If it is really too big, I would cut only the corners of the meat, but only a bit to just fit to the pot. But don't forget, the meat will shrink and you will be surprised by the extent. Hope it helps:)

      2. Get one of those aluminum throwaway turkey roasters and just seal it tight with heavy duty foil, throw it in a 250* oven. . And you can wash and reuse the roaster, no problem.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          That makes sense if you don't have the right equipment, but OP has a proper Dutch oven.
          Why sear it in a frying pan and then use a disposable pan, then wash both, when you have something that will retain even heat far better and go from sear to sauce-thickening to dining room table all in one pot? That's like hand-washing your laundry on a scrubbing board and drying it on the fence when you own a washer and dryer.

          1. re: greygarious

            Agree with greygarious. Once the meat is browned and degrazing are done in the other fry-pan/saute pan, the Op can use the DO for braising if the meat is not way too big, which is a so much better and ideal tool for braising than the aluminum foil disposable roasters although these roasters can also "handle" braising.

        2. Sounds like you were going to braise it anyway.

          Wrap in in 2 layers of fairly tight fitting aluminum foil. Leave an opening at the top at first so you can put your braising liquid in and any aromatic veggies. I saw Alton brown do this with a pot roast.

          After a low slow braise, cut a hole in one end of foil and drain liquid into a gravy separator. Defat the liquid. Put it in a pan and add your the other things you were going to add. Not enough? Add some stock maybe a splash of wine. a couple of teaspoons of dijon mustard. Add a corn starch and water slurry to thicken.

          If you usually sear then by all means sear first and add the deglazed liquid into the foil.