If you watch the professionals in restaurants on the cooking channel, you might think you need a professional smoker to cook a flavorful brisket. Fortunately, this is not the case. Culled from several online recipes, this article walks you through a tasty experiment I have been doing to get Brisket at home with only a standard conventional oven to do it. The first part of this article is enough to get you going, but you may want to read the whole thing for ideas you can steal before you begin. Good cooks follow directions. Great cooks experiment.
For this attempt, a smaller brisker of between 2.5 and 4 pounds was used.
To marinade it:
- Stab with a fork on both sides
- Dust with spices. I used: Garlic, Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper (ground from pepper corns), Paprika, Cumin, Ground Cloves (I had cloves transferred to a disposable pepper mill that pepper corns had previously came in).
- Note: Spices are to taste and it will be delicious even if you only use some or a few of these spices. This is just what I chose to use.
- Add few large spoonfuls of soy sauce and a similar amount of “19 Crimes” Red wine (any red wine you like will probably work) to coat both sides of the meat.
- Let sit in this marinade overnight
To cook it:
- Sautee Red Onions in olive oil and set aside
- for a 3 to 4 lb brisket, make 2 1/2 cups of beef bouillon soup
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. (to save time, you can pre-heat while prepping the bouillon).
- Add the bouillon to the bottom of a roasting pan
- Contrary to what it says in most online recipes I have read, I add the marinade the brisket was soaking in over the brisket letting some blend with the bouillon in the bottom of the pan
- Put brisket on a rack just over the juice in the pan
- Coat with onions (it’s okay to let some of them fall into the soup in the bottom of the pan)
- Create a foil cover over the whole thing to trap the steam that will rise from the soup as the brisket cooks. You can think of this as “making a tent” of aluminum foil over the brisket, but it does not need to be perfect. Just seal it over the brisket and try to leave some air between the top of the brisket and the foil.
- Roast in oven at low temperature (I used 275 but some online recipes vary suggesting 275 to 325 degrees F). For this smaller brisket, 5 to 6 hours seemed to be long enough
- Slice and serve; Share and Enjoy
Note: You can use the sauce from the bottom of the pan like an “au jus”. You can also freeze the excess to use on your next brisket.
Over a month later, I defrosted the sauce from the last time to use on a much larger brisket, probably one that was 6 pounds or so this time.
The approach to cooking was similar to above but with the following changes:
- I used a simpler spice list, but one with “hotter spices” for the marinade: Garlic, Himalayan Salt, Ground White Pepper Powder, Cumin, Paprika, Cayan Pepper Powder
- The only liquid used to marinade the Brisket came from the frozen “Au Jus” frozen and then defrosted from the previous time I made brisket
- The onion coat used raw white onions this time
- Bouillon was increased to about 6 cups to provide enough steam for a longer cook time (for the larger brisket). It still formed a shallow layer of liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Estimated cook time now extended to 8 hours for the larger hunk of meat.
There is an approach taken by restaurants in China when they create a soy sauce based sauce for meat. They often save the excess after each round of cooking and keep adding it to the next one for years or possibly indefinitely. Like the way a fine wine ages, the meats in these restaurants taste different each time you come, and are better with the sauce that includes juices from prior rounds of meat cooking. I plan to save the juices from “Second Brisket” for a third, and so on into the future.
Not tried: Some online recipes call for “liquid smoke” available in many food shoppes and grocery stores. This will give it more of a smokey flavor. I did not have this available for the first recipe. And yet, the first one came out so good that I decided to just modify a little and not try it yet. My approach for the second one was to try and make the spice crust a bit spicier. I may add to this article in the future if I try other variations that I think are worth mentioning.
You can marinade and spice according to your own tastes and will probably invent your own tasty variations on what is in this article.