Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Texas Slow-Cooked BBQ Brisket

Attn John, I have found a project for the meat in your freezer. Note that the recipe allows for 8 hours uninterrupted drinking once the brisket goes in the oven and before you eat. (I bet the oven temperature given is Fahrenheit rather than Centigrade if you're cooking it for that long.)

After you've given this brisket a quick sear on the grill, the oven does all the work. Sighs of pleasure usually accompany the first bites of this meltingly tender, juicy, slightly smoky beef. Serve it with or without a barbecue sauce. Leftovers, if there are any, make fine Texas-style hash studded with red and green peppers and potatoes or barbecue sandwiches.

Meat: 2 supermarket briskets at 4 or 5 pounds each or a custom-cut 'double brisket,' 8 or 9 pounds, trimmed of excessive fat

Marinade (Quantities are generous. Halve the recipe if total brisket weight is less than 6 pounds):

1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
1 can (14 ounces) beef broth
Few drops liquid smoke seasoning (if you wish to enhance the natural smoke and are not using a smoky barbecue sauce)
Juice from 2 limes
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped parsley
6 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and halved
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, such as Bulls Eye or a homemade sauce, recipe follows (optional)
For finishing:
Oil for searing
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce such as Bulls Eye or a homemade sauce
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
Tender greens or watercress and red-leaf lettuce for garnish

Three days ahead of time, put the brisket, fat side up, in a large pan at least 2 inches deep or a heavy-duty plastic bag. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the brisket. Cover or seal tightly and marinate for 30 to 36 hours. Invite brother to feast.

Preheat an outdoor grill. Remove the brisket from the marinade (reserve marinade) and rub with oil. Sear on the grill, fat side down, for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and sear the opposite side for 8 to 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Lay out several overlapping sheets of heavy aluminum foil large enough to enclose the brisket completely. If you are using two briskets, lay one on top of the other. Pour about 1/2 cup of the marinade over the meat, then wrap securely in foil. Refrigerate the remaining marinade for another use within a week or freeze for longer storage. Put the brisket(s) in a roasting pan and place in the center of the oven. Roast, undisturbed, for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, remove the brisket. Let it stand 10 minutes, then pour off and reserve the juices. Cover the brisket lightly with foil to keep it warm. You may not wish to use all the juice. If you want a real barbecue sauce taste, stir in 1/4 cup barbecue sauce to taste and cook a few minutes more. If you prefer the natural juices to dominate, add 1/2 cup of reserved marinade to the juices and boil 10 to 20 minutes to reduce and thicken. Then whisk in the 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce and 2 tablespoons soft butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice brisket diagonally across the grain about 1/3-inch thick. Arrange slices overlapping on a warm platter, with garnish of greens around edge. Moisten with juices. Pass additional juices. A 10-pound brisket, or two smaller ones totaling 10 pounds, serves about 16.

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