How to cook beef brisket

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Beef brisket appeals to many people both for its taste and typically its cost compared to other beef joints. It is a versatile meat that can be served like a roast joint or spiced up and shredded for ethnic cuisine or a barbecue. The main drawback to beef brisket is that it is less tender than most other cuts. Yet, when cooked properly this is easily compensated for and passes for a tasty and tender meat.

Choose between a point cut or flat cut brisket according to your preference. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The point cut contains more fat but has the most flavour. If you want less fat or more servings, pick the flat cut which may also work well for shredded beef.

Leave the fat on when cooking brisket and remove it before serving if desired. If you are making gravy you may need to remove some of the grease from the dripping.

Season beef brisket liberally and according to the dish it's meant for. When cooked with onions, salt and pepper are sufficient for a roast style taste but some enhancements such as garlic powder, Italian herbs and multi-purpose seasoning adds more flavour. Consider a beef rub or seasoning for barbecue-style brisket or use cumin for Mexican dishes.

Coat in flour if cooking brisket in the oven and sear it on each side for one minute in a hot oil-coated pan set to medium-high. Though less effective on brisket than more juicer cuts, it does add a flavour boost.

Choose between a slow cooker or oven when cooking brisket unless you want to take a stab at smoking the meat. For more flavour cook beef brisket on a low heat in the oven, using little water. The browned bits will also make excellent gravy. A slow-cooked brisket may turn out well if you use minimum water and cook the beef brisket on low for five to six hours or more.

Place the brisket fat-side up in a greased roasting pan and optionally use a rack or lay the brisket on vegetables such as carrots or onions. Cover the brisket with a lid or foil and set the oven to 160 degrees C (325F). Cook uninterrupted for one hour.

Add 250 ml (1 cup) of water or low-salt stock (vegetable or beef) enough to cover the pan but not soak the bottom of the roast. Recover and continue cooking another one to two hours until the internal temperature reaches 71 degrees C (160F). Use only 125 ml (1/2 cup) of liquid if you plan to add sauce.

Add vegetables such as potatoes and carrots during the last 45 minutes of cooking beef brisket in the oven or 90 minutes before in a slow cooker.

Let the beef brisket sit for 15 minutes before serving and cut along the grain. You will notice two distinct textures as you slice, one is stringy and though tasty may not appeal to some people. Serve whole like a roast joint or slice and serve with your favourite side dishes along with gravy or sauce.

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