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May 13, 2013 10:39 AM

Brisket Help - No Grill, No Smoker

Yesterday, while avoiding the ridiculously priced flank steak at my market, I ended up buying a 2lb brisket instead. I've had it marinating overnight in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, rosemary, S&P.

My question is the cooking method- I don't have access to an outdoor grill, which would be ideal. My options are a large cast iron skillet or an enameled cast iron dutch oven.

I'm inclined to use the ci skillet, but I'm afraid this cut piece of meat will end up tough. I could sear it, and then place in the oven, but not sure how long it should go for & at what temp for medium rare.

If I use the enameled dutch oven, then I would sear and then braise, but I don't think this marinade lends itself to braising.

I will add that it's 90 degrees in LA today, so I'd like to avoid running the oven if possible, but with my poor planning, I may not be able to avoid it... Also- this isn't for company, so if it doen't turn out great I won't be too bummed out, just want some protein to slice over salads for luches, etc.

Any thoughts or help would be most appreciated!

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  1. Sear it and braise with the left over marinade. Your oven should be well insulated, so the heat should not effect your kitchen.

    1. I would pat the brisket dry, sear it in the cast iron pan, take it out and then deglaze the pan with some sliced onions. After the onions are soft, add maybe a cup of dry, red wine and simmer that down by at least half. Put the brisket in a slow cooker with the onion/wine mixture and add a cup of beef stock. Cook it until the beef is tender. That depends on if you cook on high or low. If it were me, I'd let the beef cool in the braising liquid, and refrigerate it overnight. Chilling allows you to defat it and firms up the meat for easier slicing. The next day, remove the brisket to a cutting board. Warm up the braising liquid, strain and then simmer and thicken it. Slice the brisket and reheat in the sauce. Jewish mothers and grandmothers have been cooking brisket a long time without a grill or smoker.

      1. Glad I am not the only one who impulse buys.

        Let it marinade for 4 more days, turning daily.

        Hopefully it came with the cap. It will then be self basing.

        Unless you added a pound or so of tenderiser (tongue firmly in cheek) you are in for a low and slow roast. Just that type of cut of beef.

        1 Reply
        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          It's only a 2 lb brisket. I would guess pretty well trimmed flat.

          To the OP this is not an ideal cut for low slow smoker cooking.
          I would think a braise would be the best option for this small hung of meat.

          Get a good sear on the surface for flavor development. Suggest drying and seasoning and coating with flour or Wondra to help develop a good crust, then braise in a dutch oven or roasting pan, pretty much what John E. suggested up thread.

        2. Definitely use your enameled cast iron rather than the skillet, which will allow too much evaporation. I'd follow John E's advice except put it in the oven at 300F for 3-5 hrs. Make sure the meat is not fully submerged in the braising liquid, and uncover halfway through. Then chill overnight, defat the liquid, slice the meat, thicken the sauce as desired, and gently reheat the meat in the sauce.

          ETA: if there is tomato in your braising sauce, a cast iron may create off flavors.

          1. I'm not sure if the other answerers noticed your reference to "medium rare".

            To the best of my knowledge, MR is not typical for brisket. Brisket is usually cooked low and slow until tender, as others here have suggested. If you don't want to turn on your oven, then the slow cooker suggestion is good. Or, you can braise it on low heat on your stovetop in the dutch oven.

            Again, I have never heard of a medium-rare brisket. Maybe if fourunder is lurking about, s/he can give more in-depth advice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sandylc

              You could do medium rare via sous vide but other than that take it to 190-225 as a finishing temp.