This needs a better name. But, I don’t have it. And, mother-in-law’s brisket doesn’t sound compelling, though that is what it is. My mother-in-law makes this in the oven and the sauce comes out thick like traditional barbecue sauce. I cook it in a crock pot and it ends up as more of a long braise in wonderful spicy broth. Either way is fantastic. Before serving, I de-fat and reduce my sauce and add a little ketchup to thicken it up a bit, but it is still a very thin sauce when prepared in the crock pot. I like it that way. One other advantage of using the crock pot is you don’t have to worry about burning the sauce as you do in the oven. This has a lot of brown sugar in it which requires some care when you make it in the oven.
OK, a word on brisket. You should make more of it. It is a very user friendly cut of meat. It makes a great pot roast, you can go the barbecue route, the New England Boiled Dinner Route, you can just throw it in a gentle oven forever and have excellent plain brisket. You can make killer tacos and quesadillas with it. It is really versatile and easy to work with but I think a lot of people, especially around here think that if you don’t make a huge production and smoke it outdoors for ump-teen hours than you aren’t doing it right. I, on the other hand, think there are about a million ways to make brisket “right.” Like this recipe for instance. This is very easy. It is tough to mess this up.
First, obtain a brisket. Try to get a “flat cut” brisket if your butcher has one. The challenge with the crock-pot is that if you have a 20 inch long piece of meat you are not going to be able to fit it in. I bought a trimmed brisket and still had to cut off the end and put it on top to fit it all in. Also, don’t fuss about the fat “cap” on the brisket. It is a good thing. Go for something in the 4 to 5 pound range.Get out your crock pot. Gather the following items: Worcestershire Sauce, ketchup, a bottle of beer (I used Heineken…better beer=more flavor, but Bud is just fine, too), brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder. These and time are all you will need.
Lay your brisket in your crock pot. Sprinkle ½ cup of brown sugar on top on it and spread it around. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic powder (to taste or about 1 tsp of each). “Slather” it all with ketchup. This is my MIL’s term but it is very accurate. Just do it. Then sprinkle on some of the Worcestershire and finally, pour the beer on top. Put the lid on the crock pot and turn it on.I cooked it on high for 5 hours and low for 3 hours. This is not particularly scientific. I think 9 hours on low would be fine if you are leaving it while you are at work. The deal with all of my brisket recipes is that if you poke it with a fork and your fork doesn’t “fall in” the meat, it isn’t ready and you should keep going and check it hourly. I honestly don’t think you can mess this up. If your brisket is bad, it just isn’t finished yet. If you don’t have all day, try the oven at 325 for four to six hours, basting now and again. But remember to be careful that the sauce doesn’t burn. And, it is really important that you give your meat enough time. Fifteen minutes more in the oven or crock pot can be the difference between shoe leather and succulent success. Ok, now that the meat is finished, put it into some other pan. This part is a little gross. Get a flat spatula and remove the fat cap. It falls off so just scrape it up and throw it away. Then cut up your brisket into manageable pieces. I go across the grain; others pull it apart with the grain which produces long strips. It makes no difference. If you have a fat separator, use it. Put the sauce into the separator in batches and pour the sauce into a saucepan set on medium. Once you have separated the fat from all of the sauce, add some ketchup to the sauce until you like the consistency. I like it kind of loose and soupy, myself. Once you have reduced the sauce a little and you have thickened it and reheated it, pour it over your meat and serve.
Preparation: (serves 6 generously)
4 to 5 pound “flat” cut brisket
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 (12 ounce) beer
½ cup to 1 cup additional ketchup to thicken the sauce at the end
1. Place the brisket in a crock-pot or a baking dish with high sides. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the brisket. Sprinkle the salt, garlic powder and black pepper on top of the brown sugar. Slather the ketchup on top of the sugar and seasonings. Sprinkle the Worcestershire sauce around the pot. Finally, carefully pour the beer in the pot, so as not to wash all of the seasonings off of the meat.
2. Turn the crock-pot onto high and cook for 5 hours, then proceed to cook on low until the brisket is fork tender, up to 3 additional hours. (LOW for a workday would be fine too). Do not stop cooking the brisket until the fork meets no resistance when poked into the brisket. If cooking in the oven, cover with a double layer of foil and bake at 325 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. If cooking in the oven, take care that the sauce doesn’t begin to burn.
3. Remove the meat from the crock-pot and scrape the fat off of the top. Discard the fat.
4. Pour the sauce into a fat separator and discard the fat that accumulates. Add ketchup to the sauce until it is a consistency that you like, ½ cup to 1 cup. Pour the sauce over the meat before serving. Slice or pull the brisket apart in chunks to serve.
I love this brisket with my Blue Cheese Cole Slaw.
You can easily prepare this a day ahead because it truly is better the next day. I like to make sandwiches out of the leftovers. Try this. Toast the bread. Reheat enough leftover brisket and sauce and pull apart the meat with two forks. Load it onto a piece of toast. Then mix leftover slaw cabbage with blue cheese dressing. Pile the slaw on the sandwich, and put on the top slice of toast. Serve it with a big dill pickle. Heaven on Earth.