How Do I Make Brisket for My Tailgate Party this Weekend?

120px-Brisketphoto.jpg
Josh Evrin
Oven Braised Brisket
 This week, a reader asked for cooking methods to prepare and take brisket for a tailgate picnic. Smart cook! Brisket is an easy do-ahead main dish that just gets better and better when reheated. Read on for some tips and recipe ideas.

Low and Slow: Brisket is a tough cut of beef; it comes from the breast and fore shank of the animal, a working muscle. To achieve a tender and flavorful dish, brisket is best cooked low and slow: low heat for an extended period of time. Braised brisket is easily reheated without loss of tenderness or flavor.

Browning and braising the meat in a 325 F oven will take 4 or more hours, depending on the size of the brisket. If you are a pit boss, barbeque brisket is best at 250 F for 10-12 hours. Tip for braising: cook for three hours, remove from oven, cool, slice, return to pan with liquid, continue to cook until tender.

Fat equals flavor: A whole brisket usually weighs10-12 lbs. To prepare it for cooking, trim almost but not all the external fat. Retaining a small layer of fat keeps the meat moist and adds flavor while it cooks. You may find a flat cut or a point cut at the store already trimmed. Buy the point cut; it has more fat than the flat cut, yielding a tender final dish.

Against the grain: Once your brisket is cooked and cooled it's ready to slice. Check the meat to determine the direction of the grain. Always slice against the grain, with the knife held across the grain of the meat. The grain is easy to see, think of looking at a piece of fabric and finding the direction of the threads. Slice the meat in ¼ inch slices, thicker if you like.

Recipes and methods after the jump.

Day ahead tip: Follow the recipe and braise the meat for three hours, remove from liquid, cool, slice, store in liquid in refrigerator. Finish the brisket by cooking for the final hour the day of service.

Oven Braised Brisket
Ingredients:
10 lb beef brisket
3 large onions, sliced
4 cups ketchup
2 cups water or beer
1- cup brown sugar
4 Tablespoons Worchester sauce
6 drops Tabasco sauce
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1- teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to low broil. Place oven rack 6 inches from broiler.
Trim brisket of excess fat; leave a thin layer of fat on the meat.
In a small bowl mix garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine ketchup, water or beer, brown sugar,
Worchester sauce, and Tabasco.
Place sliced onions in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Rub the spice mixture on the top and bottom of brisket.
Place brisket, fat side down, over the layer of onions.
Brown the brisket under the broiler for 15 minutes, flip the brisket and brown the fat side for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove from the broiler.
Set oven to 325 F.
Cover the brisket with the ketchup mixture. Add enough additional water or beer to the pan to cover all but the uppermost top of the brisket.
Cover the roasting pan.
Braise the brisket for 3 hours.
Remove from oven; remove brisket from the pan to a cutting board.
Retain the cooking liquid.
When brisket has cooled, slice against the grain.
Return slices to the pan, submerging in the liquid.
Continue to braise the sliced brisket until tender, 1 to 1 and ½ hours.
Serve or cool and store in liquid. Reheat to serve later.
Note: Transporting for tailgate picnic, place brisket in an aluminum container, double wrap with foil, and cover with kitchen towel to retain heat.

BBQ flavor:
Ingredients:
10 lb beef brisket
3 large onions, sliced
2 bottles chili sauce (Bennett's brand)
1 bottle BBQ sauce
2 Tablespoons Worchester sauce
6 drops Tabasco sauce
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1- teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Season both sides of brisket with mix of garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Worchester and Tabasco sauce.
Place brisket in roasting pan fat side up.
Pour 1 bottle each-chili sauce and BBQ sauce over brisket.
Fill the roasting pan with water to cover all but the uppermost top of the brisket.
Cover and braise in oven for 3 hours.
Remove from pan to a cutting board, cool, and slice against the grain.
Return sliced brisket to pan with liquid, cover with additional bottle of chili sauce.
Braise for an additional hour.
Serve or cool and store in liquid. Reheat to serve later.
Note: Transporting for tailgate picnic, place brisket in an aluminum container, double wrap with foil, and cover with kitchen towel to retain heat.

Shredded Southwestern Brisket
Ingredients:
4-5 lb brisket, point cut
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large tomatoes, medium dice
1 large onion, medium dice
2 green bell peppers, medium dice
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced
15 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
15 oz can tomato sauce
1- teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4-6 drops hot sauce (Tapitio brand)

Trim excess fat from meat.
Season both sides of meat with salt, black pepper and cayenne.
Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom pan over medium high heat.
Add oil to coat pan, add meat and brown for 15 minutes per side.
Add the vegetables, can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, can of tomato sauce and garlic to the pan. Cover the pan.
Simmer (low heat, slow and small bubbles in the liquid) the meat and vegetables over medium low heat until meat is tender and easily pulls apart.
Cool. Pull meat apart with your hands to shred.
Serve with tortillas, shredded cabbage tossed with lime juice, cilantro sprigs and crumbled Queso Fresco or Mexican Crema mixed with adobe sauce.

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1 comments
Rachel Austin
Rachel Austin

You know what's a useful tailgating item? Snack Palette (http://www.SnackPalette.com) is a fun way of serving food that really works. People love them and it allows folks to socialize more, so I use it for all my tailgating parties. Helps nail down the "fun factor" in tailgate planning (no, I don't work for them...)

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