Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From Biscuit to Brisket

I was totally channeling Paula Deen and her fellow Southern cooks this weekend. In addition to the fantastic sweet potato biscuits I blogged about yesterday, I also braised a brisket and made caramel-banana custard (I'll get to that later this week!).

Now my original intention was to barbecue that brisket, which would have been even more Southern. But I got a bit of a late start and was afraid three to four hours wouldn't be enough smoking time on the grill. Based on past experience, I knew that would be just the right amount of time for braising (you typically need about an hour per pound), so into the oven it went.

The last time I braised a brisket, it was with a recipe from Cooking Light. This one was also inspired by Cooking Light, but modified quite a bit from the original recipe to reduce the number of steps involved! Now you know I'm normally not apt to simplify a recipe, but I just didn't have the energy for the straining, re-boiling, de-fatting, and thickening this recipe called for. And so I decided to forgo the fancy sauce and simply spoon some of the cooking liquid over the meat instead. The verdict? It was still one of the most flavorful, super tender, delicious briskets I've ever had. And it was even better on a sandwich the next day!

The shredded bits are a-maz-ing!
Braised Beef Brisket
1 (3-4 lb.) beef brisket, fat trimmed but not completely removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine, such as merlot
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut shallow slits in top of brisket.

In a small bowl, combine garlic and thyme. Stuff garlic mixture into slits in meat. Season with salt and pepper. Rub meat with olive oil.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear meat on all sides, beginning with oiled side. Remove meat to plate and set aside. Add broth, wine, and vinegar to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Place meat back in pot and place pot in oven.

Cook 3 to 3 1/2 hours, turning twice. Remove from oven, allow to rest 10 minutes, slice and serve.

If you want to go to fuss with the fancy sauce ...
After 2 hours of cooking (and 1 turn), strain the cooking liquid from the pot through a fine mesh strainer into a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour liquid into large, zip-top bag. Snip a hole in one corner of the bag and squeeze liquid into small saucepan, stopping before reaching the fat layer. Bring to a simmer, return to Dutch oven, add meat, and cook an additional hour.

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