recipe – healthy & easy
Brisket is a meat that must be cooked slowly over many, many hours. So allow for plenty of cooking time. And be patient. The fall-apart goodness of this delicious meat is worth every hour.
Beef Brisket is a cut of meat from the chest of a bovine animal. There are different ways to cook brisket; “The Southern Way” usually involves smoking the meat very slowly over several hours and serving with barbeque sauce. This is yummy, of course, in a barbeque kind of way, but I much prefer the brisket my mom always made: instead of cooking in an enclosed smoker, it cooks slowly in a pan in the oven, braising in a delicious liquid consisting of beef consomme, soy sauce, and other savory ingredients.
Brisket is a meat that must be cooked slowly over many, many hours. The scientific explanation is that it takes a certain number of hours of low heat to gradually begin to dissolve the very tough connective tissues found throughout the meat; if it’s not cooked long enough, the brisket will be unpleasantly tough and difficult to chew. On the other hand, if you go overboard and cook it too long, the resulting meat will be dry. In my experience, however, it’s much easier to salvage brisket that’s a little overcooked—the “jus” can rescue it nicely—than it is to eat brisket that hasn’t been cooked long enough. So allow for plenty of cooking time. And be patient. The fall-apart goodness of this delicious meat is worth every hour.
This brisket is delicious served with mashed potatoes, with the jus spooned over the top of both. It’s also fabulous on toasted sandwich rolls with cheese melted over the top. And it’s great for a crowd. Let’s dissolve those connective tissues, shall we?
The Cast of Characters: Beef Brisket, Beef Consomme, Soy Sauce, Garlic, Lemon Juice, and Liquid Smoke.
For Brisket, I sometimes like to use these heavy, disposable aluminum numbers. Makes it easy to pop in the freezer if you want, or to transport it to a picnic, funeral, or tailgating party.
Start by adding 2 cans beef consomme to the pan.
Now measure 2 cups Soy Sauce.
And add it to the pan.
Now cut up two large lemons…
And squeeze them to make about 1/2 cup lemon juice. (If you have the bottled stuff in your fridge, that’d be just fine.)
Remove the seeds first…
…then add juice to the pan.
Now peel about five cloves of garlic. First, remove the cloves from the outer paper peel…
Next, slam a glass or can on each clove…
Then the outer shell will easily pop off.
Then chop the garlic cloves finely. I like to press my left palm against the narrow end of the knife and move the handle up and down quickly.
Add the garlic to the pan.
This is Liquid Smoke. It gives a slight hickory flavor to the meat, but please don’t accidentally knock it onto the floor of your pantry and break the bottle, or your pantry will have an intense, lingering hickory smell for the next thirty years. Hypothetically speaking.
Add 2 tablespoons into the pan.
Now give it a good stir…
And add the brisket to the pan, fat side up. This nice layer of cellulite will add so much delicious moisture and flavor to the meat underneath; don’t worry, we’ll remove it after cooking.
Because I don’t want the fat to feel left out, I usually scoop up some of the marinade and pour it over the top.
Now cover the pan tightly with foil.
Now stick it in the fridge, and forget about it for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
When you’re ready to start cooking it, just pop it into a 300-degree oven, still tightly covered. Cook the brisket for several hours, or about 40 minutes per pound.
At that point (about seven hours for mine), open the oven door and peel back the foil.
Now, stick two forks into the meat and make sure it’s fork-tender/falling apart, which means you can pull it apart to some degree. It may still be tough in the middle. If it is, just cover it and stick it back in for another hour. That’s what I did. My total cooking time turned out to be exactly eight hours.
When you’ve determined it’s nice and cooked, remove it from the pan and place on a cutting board.
I’m kinda tired of looking at that fat, aren’t you? It reminds me of everything that’s wrong with my bottom. So let’s get rid of it.
With a long, serrated knife, begin cutting away the slab of fat. It should be very easy to remove.
If you get a little meat with it, don’t panic. There’s plenty where that came from.
Discard all the fat or give it to your favorite canine animal. They’ll fetch your slippers into eternity.
Ah, much better. The fat’s all gone and she’s ready for bikini season!
See how fork-tender it is?
Now slice the meat against the grain, or perpendicular to the natural grain of the meat.
Now you can serve it up if you’re ready to chow down. Just place a few slices on a plate…
…and spoon some of the jus over the meat. It’s really tasty and it’ll keep it really moist. If you serve mashed potatoes with it, go ahead and spoon some jus over them, too. Like, totally delish, dude.
If you like the whole barbeque sauce scene, you can certainly douse the cooked brisket with it instead of the jus.
Now. You’ve still got all those pounds of meat back there on the cutting board. Here’s what I do:
Slice all the meat against the grain. It’ll be falling apart, but you should still be able to cut it into semi-intact slices. Now, with a spoon, remove as much fat as you can from the pan of cooking liquid. By now much of it has collected on the top.
After the meat’s all sliced, take a spatula…(I like this big monster. Really does the trick.)
And transfer all the sliced meat…
Back into the cooking liquid.
Don’t forget all these yummy little bits you left behind.
Now you can cover it tightly again and refrigerate it. Or you can freeze it, as is, until you need it. I’m freezing mine and will serve it on Fourth of July when everyone we know descends upon our ranch to watch Marlboro Man and Tim ignite the countryside. Usually, when it’s cold more fat collects on the surface. It’s easy to remove while cold, but don’t feel like you have to get it all. Then I just pop it in a warm oven and let it heat back up.
Brisket. If you think you don’t like it, you’ve never had it like this. If you’ve never had brisket, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Give it a try! Everybody’s doin’ it.
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