Braised Brisket

Carlo Scannella
MA in Media Studies, The New School
Twitter: cscannella

This isn't so much a "recipe," but a step-by-step guide to braising. Once you get the general technique, you can braise anything.

- Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, chopped fine
- Garlic -- one or two cloves, chopped fine
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt, pepper
- A good-sized brisket
- Carrot, celery, and onion, fine dice (mirepoix)
- Red wine -- 1/3 of a bottle or so
- 28-oz can whole tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375.

First step, is to create a rub for the beef. I used rosemary, thyme, and sage, along with a few cloves of garlic.

Next, you rub olive oil, salt, and pepper all over the beef, along with the herb and garlic mix. At this point, you can let it sit for a while — the longer the better. But if you don’t have the time, that’s fine.

Next, heat a dutch oven (such as a Le Creuset) on the stovetop, add olive oil, and brown the meat. Use a medium heat, and be sure to take the time on this step to get some really good browning.

Once brown on both sides, remove the meat (some juices will run out — you’ll want to save those, so make sure you place the meat in a large enough dish), and add your mirepoix.

Let the veg cook and get soft, and then deglaze the pan with red wine. Be sure to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add more wine, then tomato, and the beef (and those juices). The liquid should almost cover the meat.

That’s mostly it! Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Set the timer for two hours, and leave it alone. After two hours, check the brisket -- if it's not falling apart easily, let it cook longer.

When done, place the brisket on a serving tray, and check the sauce — if it needs to be reduced, you should remove the meat and cook it down some. It should be thick and rich.

Taste for seasoning, and you’re done.

That's the basic technique -- brown meat, cook veg, deglaze, add meat back into liquid, cook for a long time. You can use it for lots of different things. For example, this recipe, from Mario Batali, is very close in terms of technique, but uses short ribs (and also has more precise measurements...). Pork shoulder is also a great choice here.