While categorized as a tough cut of meat, brisket can be transformed into some of the delicious and tender pieces of beef you've ever tasted. With a technique called braising, some heat and a few ingredients, this braised brisket is more than ready to rival those recipes of your Grandma. So volunteer to cook at your next neighborhood dinner party, this braised brisket has your back.
Located in the lower chest of beef, the brisket cut is easy to find in the meat section of your local grocery store. Prices run around $4-6 per pound and one should allot about a pound per person if the brisket is the main meal. If you are making this for a party or a social gathering, 1/3 lb per person would suffice if there are multiple side dishes. Most briskets are already trimmed otherwise ask the butcher if they would be willing to trim it for you.
How to Braise Brisket
Think of braising as the in-between of roasting and boiling. Used for combination cooking to brown the meat and then slowly cook, braising in the perfect solution to cooking a tough cut of meat like brisket.
Braising (which we used for our Apple & Sage Elk and Mediterranean Lamb) follows the same produce whatever the meat. The food is first seared to improve both flavor and color, then a cooking liquid, like chicken stock or red wine is added into the roasting pan covering about 2/3 of the food. We don't want the food to be fully submerged but rather a part of it.
The roasting pan is then covered and placed in an oven where it is slow cooked until tender. High heat cooking would just suck all of the moisture out, so we like to stick with it low and slow. This is also a great technique to use with a slow cooker.
Today's beef brisket recipe follows the same premise except for a few minor changes. 1) the brisket is actually broiled instead of seared in a pan and 2) the braising liquid is actually Dr Pepper. A bit of a twist there, don't you think?
How To Make Southwestern Braised Brisket
Raise the curtains because Dr Pepper, a Texas favorite, takes center stage in this braised brisket recipe. Packed with 23 flavors, this soda adds a sweet and flavorful hint to slices of brisket.
To begin, preheat your broiler to high and place the oven rack to the highest position. Sprinkle both sides of the brisket with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and place it under the broiler. We found that this is the easiest way to sear a meat of this size but you can also sear the brisket in a large dutch oven or roasting pan over medium-high heat.
Once the brisket is browned, remove from the pan and heat up a dutch-oven over medium-high heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add in onions, carrots, garlic cloves and celery and cook until browned. Add in the ketchup, chili sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves and combine. Once all of the vegetables are coated, deglaze the pan with Dr Pepper and add in some canned tomatoes.
At this point the braising liquid is ready to be added to the brisket. Combine the two in a roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. The cooking time ranges from about 3-4 hours depending on the thickness of your meat. We are looking for the brisket to be fork-tender but not completely falling apart.
To tell if your brisket is ready, simply insert a fork. If it goes into the meat easily the braised beef brisket is done. Remove from the oven and let rest 30 minutes before cutting across the grain. Thinly slicing against the grain ensures that the meat is as tender as possible.