I do a lot of "outdoor" cooking; I have a smoker and several grills and I love brisket . . . but I grew tired of spending 18-20 hours doing a brisket on my smoker. This recipe and this preparation and cooking technique produce a brisket that (in my opinion) is every bit as good as one done on a smoker - and, it can be cooked in about 4 hours and from 1 - 5 days ahead of when you want to serve it.
The ingredients for the recipe (mixed together) sound and taste awful, but trust me, the results are incredible!.
One of the great things about this recipe is that the brisket can be cooked up to 5 days before you plan to serve it. For a barbecue or a party, this takes virtually all of the work of preparation and cooking out of the day you plan to serve it - all you need to do on "party" day is reheat and slice the brisket. (And for those living in cold climes, it's all done in the oven, so you don't have to shovel snow to get to your smoker in the winter!)
Pre-heat oven to 325? F for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour chili sauce, onion soup mix and Coca-Cola in a bowl and mix thoroughly. (Don''t be tempted to taste the mixture - it''s awful tasting).
Place brisket, fat (point) side up, in a large roasting pan. The brisket can be taken directly from the refrigerator - it doesn''t have to be at room temperature. Pour the Coca-Cola mixture over the brisket, lifting the brisket to permit the mixture to spread beneath the meat.
Cover, place in the oven and roast until the flat portion of the brisket is fork tender, meaning that a fork or temperature probe goes in and out of the meat with very little resistance, about 3.5 - 4 hours (if it isn''t fork tender, recover and return to oven and re-check at 15-20 minute intervals),
When brisket is done, remove from roasting pan and allow to cool at room temperature on a platter or cutting board. When the gravy in the roasting pan has cooled, pour it into a container, cover and refrigerate overnight. Wrap the cooked brisket in plastic-wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
(Once refrigerated, the cooked brisket and cold gravy can remain in the refrigerator for up to 5 days before slicing, reheating and serving).
THE NEXT DAY (OR THE DAY YOU PLAN TO SERVE THE BRISKET)
Preheat the oven to 350? F
While the oven is preheating, trim all visible fat from the cold brisket, turn it over and place it on a cutting board. The lean side of the brisket should be what you are looking when you turn it over,
Look for the grain, the muscle line of the brisket, indicated by the lines or grain of the meat. With a VERY sharp knife, slice the brisket ACROSS (or against) the grain in fairly thin slices. If a slice appears stringy, you are slicing the wrong way. Keep the slices together and using a spatula, tramsfer the slices of brisket to a roasting pan.
Meanwhile, remove gravy from the refrigerator. Remove hardened fat from the surface and discard (there will be a lot of hardened fat). Heat the gravy in a saucepan until it boils. Pour over the brisket slices, cover the roasting pan and reheat sliced brisket in the oven for 1 hour at 350? F.
Remove brisket slices from roasting pan with a spatula, keeping slices together for best presentation, to a serving platter. Serve with barbecue sauce on the side, baked beans, cole slaw and large hamburger buns for sandwiches.
Buy a whole, untrimmed brisket, still in the Cryovac packaging. This is referred to as "packer cut" or "packer trimmed" brisket--my butcher calls it "the only brisket for real Texas barbecue." Buying an untrimmed brisket allows you to trim it just the way you like and, all that fat will keep the meat nice and moist during cooking.
Avoid the small, "super-trimmed" brisket flats with the point removed, which you will normally find in the meat counter at the grocery store. They may be advertised as "first cut", "nose off", or "cap removed". These are very difficult to cook, since without the fat of the "point", they turn out very dry and tough. If this (the flat) is all that's available to you, a layer or two of bacon placed on top may help to keep the meat moist during cooking.
I can usually find a "packer cut" brisket in Cryovac packaging at Costco, Sams Club or at a full-service meat market.
Whole, untrimmed briskets weigh from 8-16 pounds. Something in the 10-12 pound range is your best bet.
When I buy a brisket, I find that usually don't have many to choose from, so I can't always be picky. I try to choose a brisket with white, hard fat, if I can, making sure it has a fat cap 1/4" to 1/3" thick over the entire flat portion. Admittedly, this can be difficult to judge through the Cryovac packaging. Do try to choose a brisket that has a flat section of even thickness. Most flats tend to narrow a bit toward one edge, and this is normal--but avoid those that taper off to a very thin edge. Even thickness helps promote even cooking and provides uniform slices. Again, this can be difficult to judge through the Cryovac packaging, and may be a moot point if you don't have many briskets from which to choose.
Remove the brisket from the Cryovac packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a large cutting board with the point facing up. Remember, the brisket has one side with a large, relatively fat-free area--if you place that side facing down, then the point will be facing up.
Most briskets have extremely thick areas of fat on top of and around the point section, as well as a thick edge of fat running down one side of the flat section. Using a VERY sharp knife, trim away most of this fat as best you can. Remember, the goal is to remove excess fat while still leaving a 1/4" layer to protect the meat below.
Admittedly, it takes some time and experience to judge this, but there's really no harm if you leave too much fat. You also don't have to freak out if you cut a little too deep and strike red meat! Just back off on the knife and don't cut so deep. Take your time and remove what makes sense to you, without cutting so close that you're exposing the red meat.
As you look down on the brisket, you will notice a very thick vein of fat running between the point and the flat sections. Some people just trim fat from the surface of this vein, without actually cutting into the vein itself. I like to cut a V-shaped chunk of fat from this vein. You can be pretty aggressive in removing fat from this area, but if you keep cutting and cutting, you'll end up almost separating the two sections!
Now turn your attention to the large expanse of fat covering the brisket flat. Trim the surface fat, leaving a 1/8" to 1/4" layer. By running your fingers over the surface, you'll get a feel for where the thickest areas are located. Just go slowly and trim carefully, backing off on the knife if you hit red meat. Again, this takes some practice, but don't worry if you shave a spot a little too close. There's no harm done if you leave a little too much fat.
As you move down the flat away from the point, the fat becomes less hard and more spongy, making it more difficult to remove. This is where a really sharp butcher's knife helps.
Now, turn the brisket over. You should be looking at a large expanse of flat that needs little, if any, trimming.
There may still be some significant fat around the bottom side of the point and in the vein between the two sections. In fact, the vein of fat may be more pronounced on this side than on the other side. Trim away what makes sense to you, but be careful not to remove too much and separate the flat and the point.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine which way the grain is running in the flat after cooking. As a marker, trim a small corner of meat from the end of the flat section, perpendicular to the grain of the meat. Use that edge as a guide for slicing across the grain after cooking.
After cooking the brisket, if you separate the point from the flat section before slicing the flat, the grain becomes well exposed and you won't have much difficulty determining how the grain runs.
The brisket is done when it's "fork tender", meaning that a fork or a thermometer probe goes easily in and out of the meat with very little resistance. Always check the brisket for doneness in both the ?flat? and not the ?point?. The ?point? will generally become tender before the flat, and can deceive you. Continue to cook until the flat is tender.
After cooking the brisket, if you separate the point from the flat section before slicing the flat, the grain becomes well exposed and you won't have much difficulty determining how the grain runs. Always slice brisket diagonally across the grain, into ? inch thick slices.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (384g)|
|Recipe Makes: 12|
|Calories from Fat: 247 (33%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 27.5g||37 %|
|Saturated Fat 10.4g||52 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 11.7g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1g|
|Cholesterol 272.2mg||84 %|
|Sodium 565.6mg||20 %|
|Potassium 929.9mg||24 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 6.9g||2 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0.8g||3 %|
|Sugars, other 6.1g|
|Protein 111.5g||159 %|
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Calories per serving: 752
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