Beef brisket is a very versatile cut of meat. It is one of the most flavorful and when cooked correctly is fall apart tender. When it isn’t cooked correctly, however, it is very tough and dry. Which is why some people are afraid to try to cook it.
It isn’t very difficult to do, but you do have to follow some basic principles if you do want to make sure that you don’t end up with a tough and dry piece of beef.
What is brisket? It’s the piece of meat that is around the breast of the cow. It is a muscle that gets a lot of use when the cow moves around which is why it has a lot of flavor. It’s also the reason it can be tough if it isn’t cooked correctly.
In this article, I will give you a few ways that you can make mouth watering and tender brisket without needing a recipe.
1 – Pick your brisket
Hopefully you have a butcher that can provide you with the cut of meat so you know the quality is high and that it is fresh. If you don’t, then you can order some online in which case I recommend wagyu beef briskets. The key to a tender and moist brisket is that it should have good fat marbling and collagen that slowly melts as it cooks so it stays tender.
Be very careful if you are buying at a supermarket as some briskets are already marinated and cured. It is a brisket that is used for corned beef so if you aren’t trying to make that then your beef won’t come out right. Now, if you are trying to make corned beef or pastrami then using this is fine.
You’ll want to make your own marinade for your brisket so it should be fresh and not treated at all.
2 – Cook it low and slow
The key to getting the brisket tender is to cook it for a long time on low heat. This helps the tissue break down so it becomes tender. If you cook it this way long enough, then you won’t even need a knife to cut it. It will fall apart at the slightest pressure from your fork.
The way to do this is to season it well with either just salt and pepper or a spice rub of your choosing. Just about every culture has a recipe for brisket, so the spices can reflect any of those.
For instance, you could rub it with Chinese five spice, Jamaican jerk, Mexican spice or even italian with rosemary and garlic. Then put it in a pan with a little bit of liquid and seal it well so it can baiste in the liquid without boiling. Cook it on a low heat around 325°F for about two hours, then turn it over and cook for another two hours for a total of four hours.
3 – Smoke it
According to most Texans, there is only one way to cook a brisket and that is to smoke it. It is in the same vein as cooking low and slow but instead of cooking it in an oven, it slowly roasts in a smoker.
The temperatures are very low. Around 200°F in most cases, with a periodic adding of wood to the fire to give it the distinctive smoky flavor. In this case the smoke is one of the seasonings.
It can take up to eight hours for the brisket to cook. The result,however, is a moist and tender brisket with the scent of whatever wood was used to smoke it. Usually hickory, or apple wood depending on where you are in the country.
It’s then served with a sweet and tart barbecue sauce. You can use a store bought one, but making it yourself is quite easy. The concept is to use some sweetener like honey, molasses or sugar with some vinegar, spices and tomato. To make a quick sauce, add about a quarter of a cup of ketchup to a small sauce pan. Then add the same amount in honey and vinegar with some garlic powder and onion powder. Let it cook on low heat for about 15 minutes and your sauce is done. As it cools it will thicken up.
Brisket is as delicious as it is easy to cook. If you stick to these basic principles you can enjoy a tender and juicy brisket without any risk of it drying out.
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