I often get inspiration for recipes by wandering around a grocery store. For example, a few gorgeous veal shanks behind the butcher counter prompted me to make osso buco awhile back. During the past few visits, I have been eyeing huge slabs of beef brisket. Since I don’t have a smoker, it took me a little while to figure out exactly how I wanted to cook it. Beef brisket is normally a pretty tough cut of meat, but can be made fork-tender by cooking it slowly. With this hickory braised beef brisket recipe, you can achieve tender results right in your oven.
To get the smoky flavor, I used liquid smoke. It smells absolutely amazing, but don’t let that fool you. Just like vanilla extract does not taste like vanilla, liquid smoke doesn’t taste like anything that just came off the grill.
I may or may not have accidentally licked a little liquid smoke off my finger. Ewww.
However, just like the vanilla extract, it will all come together when it’s done.
I was debating on whether or not to include the marinating time in the recipe. However, I figured that I might scare a few people off if the total prep time read 48 hours. This hunk of meat is so large that it’s important to marinate it for a while, not just a few hours. Just stick it in the fridge and forget about it for a day or two. Try to ignore it every time you open the fridge and don’t peek! You may rip the foil if you are constantly peeling it back to look. I had to replace the foil cover a few times because I couldn’t help myself.
If you really want to be an overachiever, you can flip the brisket halfway through marinating to make sure all of the meat has a chance to sit in the liquid. Just remember to flip it back over so the fatty part faces up when braising.
Be sure to keep an eye on the brisket as it cooks. It should cook for about 40 minutes per pound and test it by using a fork. If it’s undercooked, the center will still be a bit tough and won’t easily fall apart. If it’s overcooked, it tends to dry out a bit. If you accidentally overcook it, just make sure you return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid so it has the opportunity to soak some more of it up.
I am really excited to share all of the different uses for beef brisket. Not only can you slice it and serve it as is, you can shred the beef and use it in soups, tacos, sandwiches, or even salads. Since a 10-pound brisket is quite large for two people, I’ll be posting lots of recipes this week with leftover brisket.
The first night, I just served the brisket with a little homemade horseradish sauce alongside an arugula salad with shaved parmesan. It was simple, but flavorful. The horseradish sauce will be featured in an upcoming recipe.
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