Tender beef brisket is comfort food at its finest and yet elegant enough for entertaining. Here, we've rounded up some of our favorite recipes, from beer-braised and coffee-rubbed to barbecue brisket sandwiches.
August 02, 2014
1 of 16Photo: Jennifer Causey
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Brisket
Traditional Mexican barbacoa involves wrapping meat in banana or avocado leaves and slowly cooking it over hot coals, partially steaming the meat to tender perfection. This slow cooker version replicates the flavors and a bit of that traditional method: Chipotle chiles, ground cumin, and oregano offer bold, smoky flavor, and the beef brisket steams to tenderness as it cooks gently in the slow cooker. For tacos, serve the saucy barbacoa in tortillas with green and red onion, cilantro leaves, jalapeño slices, and fresh lime wedges. Or build yourself one awesome burrito bowl with those same components by putting them over brown rice or quinoa instead of in tortillas.
Texas chili is purely beef-driven: no beans allowed. This version boasts smoky, complex, deep flavor from a mix of dried chiles and chili powders, while corn flour gives it extra body.
3 of 16Photo: Johnny Miller
Beer-Braised Brisket with Onion Jam
The secret to a succulent grand finale for this brisket recipe starts with low, moist heat. After braising, the meat is chilled in the cooking liquid overnight; then the brisket is sliced and reheated in the rich, meaty cooking liquid to guarantee that every savory bite is juicy.
This is the burger everyone will be talking about and wanting the recipe for. It’s OK, you can demure and tell them it’s your secret recipe—we won’t tell. The mayo-based “special sauce” gets heat and sweetness from red pepper jelly; a briny edge from dill pickle relish; and a little lemon, onion, and garlic to balance it all out. Buffalo (also called bison) has a sweet and rich flavor and is a low-fat, nutrient-dense food. We mix in rich and flavorful brisket to maximize this burger’s taste and juiciness. Pressing each patty once it hits the hot pan helps develop a good sear that will lock in the burger juices.
Zinfandel-Braised Beef Brisket With Onions and Potatoes
Fruity zinfandel wine adds a unique, sweet flavor to this hearty brisket dish. This flavorful main dish has truly got it all: a tender, herbaceous serving of meat with potatoes and browned vegetables. Unlike many meat and potato dishes that sometimes blend together into one, ominous concoction, the flavors of this dish blend just enough that they're complementary and cohesive, without being stew-like and mushy.
Try barbecue Texas style, which is the beef brisket—if there is any sauce, it is a thin, spicy pan sauce made from the meat drippings. Look for a flat-cut brisket, which will be a fairly even thickness, and leave the fat layer on for the best results.
With larger cuts like pork shoulder or brisket that need to smoke for hours, maintaining an even temperature is critical to prevent overcooking or drying out your meat. On a gas grill, you can regulate temperature easily via the burners and monitor it from the built-in thermometer in the lid. But charcoal grills require a little more finesse.
Grab a six-pack of pale ale, such as Sierra Nevada, for this recipe. Enjoy the other five with your guests and use one to lend delicious flavor to this brisket. Serve this rich beef over mashed potatoes or egg noodles; leftover brisket makes tasty sandwiches.
Yes, beef brisket is one of the toughest cuts out there, but it’s also the most delicious. As it turns out, the easiest cooking method for this cut is also the best: add it to your slow cooker with some sautéed onions and a bottle of beer, then return eight hours later to meltingly tender meat and a sauce you'll want to dunk everything in. Another brilliant addition? A shot of balsamic vinegar. It perks up the flavor and adds a little bit of sweet and tang to the sauce. Serve with any simply cooked vegetable or sliced and piled on a sandwich.