Beef Brisket Recipe

Brisket is a cut of beef generally from the chest/pectoral region of beef or veal.  It is also used to make corned beef or pastrami.  The meat is known to be tough with lots of collagen throughout so cooking it correctly helps to make it more palatable.  Through my research I’ve discovered that beef brisket is prepared differently and known by other names depending on where you are. It is probably most well known for being slow-cooked/smoked in Texas barbecue.  It can be modified with the use of “burnt ends” in Kansas City style barbecue.  In Irish-American culture, it is used to make corned beef and is a staple in every St. Patrick’s Day meal although it is not as popular in Ireland.  In Great Britain, it is used to make a pot roast or stewed beef.  In traditional Jewish cooking, it is spiced and smoked a second time to take it from corned beef to pastrami.  

Photo courtesy of The Ethical Meat Handbook, 2nd edition, by Meredith Leigh (2020).

Generally, the brisket cut can weigh between 8-20 pounds but that really depends on the size of animal and how the butcher cuts it.  There are two different parts of the brisket, known as “the flat” and “the point.”  Generally, “the flat” is known to have more meat while “the point” has relatively more fat.  If you have a large smoker or industrial grill, you can probably smoke/cook a whole brisket well.  For cooking in a smaller setting, you will probably want a cut from a butcher that is closer to 2-5 pounds.  The brisket should have a significant “fat cap” that helps to keep the meat moist during the long cooking process.  The significant amount of collagen will be converted to gelatine during cooking if given enough time and water is present.  There is some argument in the brisket community as to whether the brisket should be smoked fat cap up or down or alternating every so often.  Generally, it seems you want the fat cap between the meat and the source of heat to prevent the meat from drying out.  

No two briskets look the same and and will not cook the same way.  The best way to cook it is with a smoker.  This will give it the signature flavor that Texas style brisket is known for.  Alternately, it can be cooked in a conventional oven, slow cooker or Dutch oven.  It is very important to have a meat thermometer to monitor the cooking process.  If the meat is undercooked it will be tough to cut/eat.  If it is overcooked it will fall apart very easily. We do not have a smoker so our recipe calls for the use of a conventional oven, cast iron pan, roasting rack and aluminum foil. You can see in the pictures how the size of the brisket changes significantly after prolonged cooking. I would plan to have about 1/2 pound of uncooked meat per person.

Recipe  
  • This recipe is AIP (auto-immune paleo) safe. Brisket can be dry so you might want to plan on having sides that can match up well. We’ve used mashed sweet potatoes in the past.
  • Ingredients:
    • 4 pound beef brisket cut
    • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 Tablespoons salt
    • 1 Tablespoon ginger
    • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
    • 1 Tablespoon ground parsley and thyme
    • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
    • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1. Take beef brisket out of package and pat dry on a cutting board. Combine all other ingredients to make dry rub. You may have to adjust your amounts of each spice if your brisket is significantly bigger or smaller than 4 pounds. Cover both sides of brisket with brush. Place brisket on cooking rack or plate.
  • 2. Allow brisket to sit in refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight.
  • 3. Take brisket out of refrigerator. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  • 4. Place brisket on roasting rack over cast-iron pan, fat side up. Pour some water in pan (water should not exceed bottom of roasting rack). Cover pan and brisket loosely with aluminum foil.
  • 5. Cook brisket until internal temperature reaches 185 degrees measured at its thickest section with a meat thermometer (it should take about 60-75 minutes per pound of meat).
  • 6. Remove foil from pan and continue cooking for 1 hour.
  • 7. Take brisket out of oven and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • 8. Cut brisket across the grain in sections that are about as thick as a pencil.
  • 9. Serve and enjoy.

Let us know how you make out!

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