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Suggestions for my first brisket...?

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Are there suggestions for preparing my first Brisket? I will us a large round Le Creuset. Share your preference--inside oven or stovetop?

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  1. Definitely, brown stovetop and roast in oven. Le Creuset's perfect. But the best suggestion I can ever ever give for brisket, darling, is MAKE IT THE DAY BEFOREHAND, then de-fat, thinly slice against the grain, and re-warm gently in whatever sauce components you're using. Have you thought about the end profile you're after? Are you wanting a sweet/sour taste, or something more tomatoey and herbaceous, or mushroomy and oniony, maybe with beer? This is but the first of many, many suggestions you are bound to receive here, and something's sure to strike your palate and fancy, but if I never say one word ever about brisket, I'll just re-iterate: make it a day, or even two days in advance and you'll never be sorry.
    Yum, and don't forget you need something starchy and delicious to sop up the juices with: polenta, garlic mash, potato pancakes....

    3 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Absolutely right.

      Brown well. Remove. Brown six or eight or ten thinly sliced onions in the same pan. Add a couple of carrots, a couple ribs celery, a couple cloves garlic. When nicely browned, deglaze with a little wine (optional) and about a quart of beef or chicken stock and maybe some V8 or Tomato juice or tomato paste or even ketchup -- your choice. Salt and pepper to taste.

      Braise in oven at 300F for four or six hours -- it's done when a fork slides in and out easily, then refrigerate overnight. Next day, skim and slice, then reheat for about an hour. You can thicken the sauce with a roux or a beurre manie or cornstarch, or just buzz up the veg into the gravy to thicken it if you don't want all that starch/carbs.

      Remember, a brisket is basically just a pot roast, so any recipe that works for that should work okay for a brisket...maybe just cook a little longer.

      1. re: acgold7

        Good on using the veg to thicken: I think that's actually my favorite part of the meal. But if you do head for something in the sweetish/sourish vein, also remember that boxed gingersnaps make an outstanding thickener without adding much sweetness at all. Would work w/ acgold7's recipe just as well.

        1. re: mamachef

          All good advice. I like to brown and deglaze seperately in a frying pan some wine and dump that in the pan. That gives more control then working within a pot or hotel pan. I've always done mine on a bed of sliced, raw onions in the pan with more onions that were saute'd in the same pan that I browned the meat in and add garlic a few mintutes before I pull it and add it to the browned meat. I also add a few sliced carrots,celery ribs,and quartered potatoes for the inital serving before the rest is used for sandwiches. The "sauce" that I use is multi fold as it's also reserved, frozen, and used in other recipes such as my cabbage soup. My basic sauce mixture has varied over the years, but I've stayed pretty loyal to equal parts of catsup and water, 1c ea. mixed with 3/4 c of brown sugar and a half cup of white vinegar, salt,pepper,and some msg. If you have some real beef soup base rather then boullion, use a tablespoon in the sauce mix too. Double this if necessary or using a double cut brisket. This makes for a wonderful sweet sour sauce and enough to keep the brisket submerged the entire 4 hours or so. I'll also turn the meat with tongs on the hour keeping it submerged. Since I use the sauce later for other things, I defat the sauce after cooking and cooling enough to use a defatter and return the sauce and meat into a pan and let the brisket sit in all the juice. When it cools enough to slice, it's returned back into the defatted juice and vegetables and placed in the fridge until the next day. I'll serve with the sauce either reheated in the oven or microwaved and then freeze the remainig strained sauce in small glad containers. Dropping these frozen chunks of brisket sauce at a latter time into your cabbage soup is a deli secret for building more flavor. I don't use my Tramotina dutch oven in the oven and use foil on a hotel pan instead. Until I buy heat resistant knobs, covering them with foil has already melted them, and the foil on a steam table pan works well inside the oven. Just make sure that the meat constantly stays submerged and always covered in sauce. You can add more flavor to the meat especially if you're going to use it for sandwiches by preparing a simple rub of onion and garlic powder, paprika,celery salt,and pepper the day you bring it home and wrap in plastic wrap for at least a day, just before your brown it . This is a bit overkill with the sauce, but it's well worth for other recipes later.