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Braised Brisket -- Cook-Off 43


weinoo
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I was at a market with a Kosher meat department today and checked out their prices - $6.99 a lb for whole, Cry-o-vac brisket. They did not have flats. At non-kosher supermarkets here whole brisket is usually below $2 a lb, flats by themselves are at least 50% more.

I usually buy whole briskets and separate them myself to fit in the pots I have. It's been years since I did brisket much although earlier this year I did buy one to make carne deshebrada with part and corned the other half.

I can't remember ever serving brisket sliced unless it's smoked but maybe I did many years ago. Usually I serve it 'chunked' or shredded.

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The slice vs. shred/chunk issue is an interesting one, and something I've never thought much about. We always serve it sliced - in fact, at work we'll chill it and then slice it on the electric slicer. That's how I think traditional 'Jewish' style briskets are usually served.

Are others slicing or shredding/chunking?

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My favorite brisket recipe is Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Tyrolean Pot Roast (Brasato di Manzo) from The Italian Country Table book. It uses cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds to give a really layered flavor to the sauce. I also use a bit more vegetables than the recipe calls for for sweetness.

After cooking I slice it, refrigerate and heat the sliced meat in the sauce the next day. I used to shudder at the thought that my mother in law made her brisket the night before, but I'm a convert to this idea. The meat just gets softer and absorbs more flavor. I made a nice little 3-1/2 pounder last weekend during the football games.

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Are y'all seasoning the brisket before browning?

ETA: Never mind, I now have the Cook's Illustrated recipe and yes, I season before browning.

Edited by patti (log)

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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As I mentioned over here, I had the great pleasure of eating brisket tacos at Mia's in Dallas. For those who haven't eaten there, you're missing one of the great beef experiences in the world; for those who have, you know where I'm going.

Figuring out the Mia's recipe here would be a service to humankind.

As far as I can tell, here are the brisket basics. The meat in the taco has a remarkably rich beefiness that comes from the meat, the "gravy" (a skimmed and possibly reduced braising liquid), and beef fat. Yes, there's a good dose of rich fat added to the meat after it's been chopped up. I suspect that the brisket is salted and peppered and then is browned pretty heavily, especially on the fat cap, and that rendered fat and fond is used to fry up onion, garlic, and some mild fresh chile peppers (I'd guess ancho and pasilla).

The meat has been braised in a simple yet extremely savory broth. Besides salt, pepper, and those vegetables, my guess is that there's only a rich meat stock used as a base, poured over the vegetables and fond. I couldn't detect any spices -- or smoke, for that matter -- at all. (However, if a few bouillon cubes and/or Maggi seasoning found their way in there, it would account for that background umami....)

The waitress said that they braise the meat overnight, which suggests a very low temperature, and the product confirms a low-n-slow braise. I'd also bet that they either have custom-made braising pans that require very minimal liquid or that they use aluminum foil to encase the meat. (Pam, you want to weigh in on that?)

Once the meat is done, it's removed from the braising liquid and chopped roughly. I think that the braising liquid is then treated like a stock base: it's strained, the fat is separated out, and it's reduced. My bet is that the beef fat is used to fry some new onions and chiles, flavoring the fat; then those vegetables are lifted out and added to the stock to flavor it as well.

The tacos are served in corn tortillas with a tiny bit of jack cheese, the brisket, and a few wedges of onion and chile; the "gravy" is served in a little stainless jus cup. They need nothing else. Indeed, they deserve to be eaten as is.

So, based on that, I offer the following as a working draft recipe for dissection and debate here. I had the great pleasure of dining with Jeff Meeker, Chris Hennes, and his wife, all of whom I hope will weigh in here, along with anyone else who has enjoyed Mia's brisket. (You too, Richard!) It's not yet written in full -- no list of ingredients, incomplete steps -- but I hope it's a useful start.

  1. Season a well-capped brisket with lots of salt and pepper. Sear over medium high heat, starting with the fat cap down, adding lard or oil as needed, until the brisket is well browned. Turn down the heat if the fond starts to burn: that's your gold.
  2. Remove the meat and set aside. Sauté chopped onion, garlic, and chilis in the fat, scraping carefully and turning down the heat as needed.
  3. When vegetables are nicely browned, add a small amount of stock and scrape up the fond until dissolved. (If you're going that route, add your bouillon cube, Maggi, etc. and dissolve it.)
  4. Add the meat back to the pan and add enough additional stock to cover. (Pam, this is where a primer on aluminum wrapping would help. Would you just spread the moistened stuff from the pan over the brisket and wrap it up tightly?)
  5. Braise in a low oven (200-250F) for several hours until tender. Remove from pan/foil and set aside.
  6. Strain all collected juices into a separator, straining out and pressing on the vegetables. (You aren't going for consommé here, so push that flavor into the liquid.) Pour off the fat and reserve both liquids; reduce the stock if needed.
  7. Sauté new, raw sliced onions and chiles in the fat over medium high heat until they start to caramelize. Strain off the fat and reserve; add the vegetables to the stock. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Chop the brisket roughly into 1/2-1" chunks and toss with some of the reserved fat and just enough of the gravy to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Place about 1/4 cup of the brisket mixture in a heated corn tortilla with some of the vegetables and a T of shredded jack cheese. Serve immediately with gravy on side.

Have at it.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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braised a 4.5 lb point yesterday using a very, very old (free)reynold's oven bag. no browning. wondra flour in bag then the brisket sprinkled with fleur de sel, thyme and savory then topped with browned onion(1 sliced pole to pole), shallots(4 cut in half) and garlic (1 head, about 10 whole cloves). deglazed the pan with about 1/3 bottle of a rose that was reduced followed by about 1 cup of beef broth also reduced. 3 hours in a 300 oven.

tonight reheating the sliced meat with some of the gravy and going to serve with marlene's oven smashed potatoes and carrots with sage honey and dill. will post pics tomorrow if i can figure out how to reduce the images to post directly from egullet rather than importing from another invision board (thank you cookskorner) since i am a good computer monkey but a semi-luddite.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I picked up a five-pound flat at Costco the other day ($3.49/lb). I'm thinking of a six- or eight-hour cold smoke to start, followed by a braise.

Any ideas for the liquid and seasoning components? I've got a bunch of cheap beer I'd be happy to use, but I'm also thinking that the Chris A-Mia's recipe might be effective, too.

Dave Scantland
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dscantland@eGstaff.org
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Eat more chicken skin.

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I keep thinking about Richard Blais's obsession with Malta Goya. I wonder if the smoke would interact with that, some mild chiles or black pepper, and nicely caramelized mirepoix.

Worth a shot, I thought, and a fitting maiden braise for the latest addition to the batterie:

gallery_6393_149_4666.jpg

I've got my own version of the Blais glaze, so it seemed like all I needed to do was assemble the ingredients and just not reduce them. Here they are:

gallery_6393_149_4233.jpg

By proportion:

14 oz Malta Goya

1/4 C soy sauce

1/4 strong coffee (for this, I used 1 T crushed beans)

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 T ground ancho (4 whole dried chiles, toasted and torn up)

1 small onion, sliced (I don't know why I added this; it's not in the glaze.)

0 cumin (also not in the recipe; what was I thinking)

The brisket went eight hours over cold hickory smoke. Then I divided it in two and stashed half in the freezer. I gave the other half a hard sear without additional fat. By searing fat-side down, I got enough fat for the onions to brown. I dumped everything else in (adding a cup or so of water to bring the liquid level up), added the meat back, and put it in a 275 oven.

At two hours, it was still pretty stiff, so I gave it another half hour, which seemed to make no difference at all. At three hours I figured it had to come out, done or not.

I can't remember the last time I turned out a piece of beef this dry and flavorless. Most of the smoke transferred to the liquid -- it was great after a slight reduction, and together, the components were palatable (barely). At least I have the reserved piece. Perhaps I can redeem myself.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave, I'd do the foil method (which I will try to photograph soon). Reduce everything until you have a cup or so of liquid, add it and the brisket to the foil package and into the oven for 3 hours or so (maybe more). The meat should release more liquid as it cooks.

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I don't understand the cold smoking of brisket in the first place, so maybe that's the issue.

Did you taste the beef after it came out of the smoker?

I was trying to combine the flavor of smoked brisket with the lushness of a braise. I trimmed a think slice when I divided the meat. It wasn't quite as smoky as I wanted, but it was tasty, if by tasty you mean chilly, raw, smoked beef.

Dave,  I'd do the foil method (which I will try to photograph soon).  Reduce everything until you have a cup or so of liquid, add it and the brisket to the foil package and into the oven for 3 hours or so (maybe more).  The meat should release more liquid as it cooks.

Worth a try. I'm familiar with the foil method, though photos would be helpful.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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First of all, THANK YOU for this thread! I was struggling with a beef dish for a party we're having in February and this has solved my dilemma!

One of my favorite braised brisket recipes is the Mexican Pot Roast from John Ash’s From the Earth to the Table book.

Basically, you puree the seasonings with the liquids, scatter sliced onions in a large casserole, top with the raw beef, add more onions and the puree and then cover and bake at 350 for 4 hours. Serve it shredded on tortillas with cilantro, avocado and lime.

Easy and delicious!

I don’t know if John is a member here and can give me permission to post the recipe. If not, the book is in its second printing and available on Amazon for $16.49:

http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Table-John-Cou...27382925&sr=8-1

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  • 1 month later...

I'm giving my crack at Mia's brisket recipe (from this post) a try with a smallish (20 ounce) piece of brisket that had a decent fat cap on it. I also pulled 4 oz of brisket fat trimmings from the freezer and used that. It's now well-sealed in a low (225F) oven through step five above. I'll report back tomorrow when I serve it.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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gallery_19804_437_249558.jpg

Though I had to deal with old, stiff gorditas, these turned out very well. I think I was right on the umami, and a pinch of beef bouillon coupled with a few drops of Maggi seems to have done the trick. (If they use homemade beef stock there, I'll eat my hat.) Extremely well caramelized onions and brisket trimmings also help the braising liquid a great deal. Finally, using the beef fat that you pull off the top of the liquid the next day to sauté the fresh onions and peppers will make you happy. But you knew that.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I made the braised brisket from Nancy Silverton's sandwich book a few weeks back. The brisket gets marinated in a red wine based marinade and then braised for 9 hours in a low oven.

It came out great, but I wasn't thinking when I cut it, and sliced it with the grain instead of against - does it make a difference when the meat has been cooked for so long and is tender anyways?

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