While categorized as a tough cut of meat, brisket can be transformed into some of the most delicious and tender pieces of beef you've ever tasted. With a technique called braising, some heat, and a few ingredients, this braised brisket recipe is more than ready to rival those recipes of your Grandma. So volunteer to cook at your next neighborhood dinner party or Passover; 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 them 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. Searing the meat first improves both flavor and color, then a cooking liquid, like chicken broth, beef broth, or red wine is added to the roasting pan covering about 2/3 of the food. Adding the cooking liquid also helps to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. We don't want the food to be fully submerged but rather a part of it.
Place brisket in the roasting pan then cover and place brisket in an oven where it is slow-cooked until fork-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 or 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 as well as the pan juices.
To begin, preheat your broiler to high and place the oven rack in 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 meat of this size but you can also sear the brisket in a large dutch oven or roasting pan over medium-high heat.
Cook brisket until golden brown on all sides. Once it is browned, remove it 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 piece of 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 on a cutting board before you cut brisket. Thinly slicing against the grain ensures that the meat is as tender as possible.
READ MORE: The Secret of Smoked Brisket Starts With Trimming
Southwestern Braised Brisket
- 4 lbs beef brisket
- salt and peper to taste
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 4 onions, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 4 carrots, cut into large dice
- 3 stalks celery, cut into large dice
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup Dr Pepper
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 Tbsp chili sauce
- 1 14-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- Preheat your broiler and place the oven rack to the highest position. Meanwhile season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a wire set over a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes total. Once browned, transfer to a roasting pan. Add in any browned bits and add to brisket. Set aside. Turn the oven to 300ºF and place the rack to the middle.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the vegetables are browned. This should take about 5-6 minutes. Add the Dr Pepper, ketchup, chili sauce and tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture over the brisket and add in the bay leaves, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast until very tender, about 4 hours.
- Transfer the brisket out of the braising liquid and let rest 30 minutes. Slice brisket against the grain and place back into braising liquid. Let sit 30 minutes and serve.