How to cook brisket

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close up of brisket being sliced
A delicious favorite, a brisket is ideal for large family gatherings
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There are many different ways to cook a brisket — from barbequing on the grill to slow cooking in an oven.

A brisket is generally divided into two parts, the flat and the point. For barbecued brisket (on the grill) you will want it undivided. You will also want it untrimmed, also called a "Packer's Cut". The layer on top is called the fat cap. The fat cap is very important, as it will keep the brisket moist while it is smoking. The fat cap should be about 1/3 - 1/4 inch thick.

Brisket may be purchased whole or split, trimmed or packer style (fat cover intact), in sizes from 4 to 18 pounds. Feeding an army or just yourself, brisket is as excellent slow smoked over low coals for half a day on the barbecue as it is succulent when conveniently simmered for several hours in the oven under a tight lid.

The flat is just that: Sort of a flat, rectangular piece of meat that makes up the majority of the whole brisket. This is the portion that is cut across the grain into slices and served on a plate or in a sandwich. You've probably seen the flat in the meat case at the supermarket, separated from the point and with most fat removed, ready for braising in the oven.

The point is a lump of meat that partially overlaps one end of the flat. It is quite fatty on its surface as well as within the meat. It also contains a lot of connective tissue between the meat fibers. It can be sliced, but its loose texture after cooking makes it a better choice for chopped brisket sandwiches.

Fast and easy brisket Ingredients: 3-4 lbs. flat beef brisket 1 bottle chili sauce 1 can Coke 1 packet dry onion soup mix Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine chili sauce, Coke and soup mix. Place brisket in a foil-lined baking pan. Pour sauce mixture over brisket and cover with another sheet of foil sealing edges. Bake at 300°F for 3 to 3-1/2 hours until tender. Carve brisket against the grain and serve the pan juices as a sauce. Serves 6

Oven barbecued brisket (this is a smoky, spicy recipe) Ingredients: 5 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of fat 1 (4 ounce) bottle liquid smoke 1 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste 1 teaspoon onion salt, or to taste 1 teaspoon celery salt, or to taste 1 medium onion, chopped 1 cup ketchup 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste

Directions: 1. Place brisket flat in a glass dish, roasting pan or Dutch oven. Pour liquid smoke over brisket and marinate covered overnight in the refrigerator. 2. Drain liquid smoke from brisket. Season both sides of meat with garlic, onion and celery salt. 3. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Bake brisket 5 to 6 hours covered. 4. Combine sauce ingredients. Drain cooking juices in bottom of pan if more than 1/2 cup to prevent finished sauce from being too thin. Pour barbecue sauce over top of brisket. Cover and bake one hour longer. 5. Slice brisket across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve with sauce. This brisket tastes even better the second day. 12 servings

Mustard-coated brisket (how to cook brisket with a tangy flavor in every bite) Ingredients: 4 to 5 pounds beef brisket flat, trimmed of fat 1 large onion, sliced 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic, peeled 8 peppercorns 4 whole allspice 1 bay leaf 1/2 cup water 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 cup brown sugar 3 tablespoons prepared mustard

Directions: 1. Place brisket, onion and next 6 ingredients in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Simmer over Low heat to braise on stovetop for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until fork tender.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 3. Remove brisket to a 9 x 13 x 2-inch roasting pan. Reserve 1/2 cup of the braising liquid and pour around brisket. 4. Season brisket with coarse ground pepper and salt. Stir together brown sugar and mustard to form a thin paste for the glaze. Spread over top of brisket. 5. Bake brisket on middle rack 20 minutes until glaze bubbles and is browned. Let brisket stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices for serving.

Roasted brisket with beer Ingredients: 1 four to five lb. flat brisket 2 thinly sliced onions 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons Westershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1 Can beer 1 Cup ketchup or barbeque sauce

Directions: 1. Place onions in roasting pan and put the brisket (fat side up) on top of onions. 2. Spread Westershire sauce and minced garlic on top of brisket. Sprinkle salt and pepper. 3. Pour beer around (not on top of) the brisket. 4. Cover pan tightly with lid or heavy duty aluminum foil 5. Bake at 275 degrees approximately four hours 6. Uncover and spread ketchup or barbeque sauce on top of brisket. 7 Bake an additional hour until fork tender.

Tip- To thinly slice cooked brisket, refrigerate several hours or overnight (wrapped in foil). Slice and reheat in low oven in covered pan.

As you learn how to cook brisket, you'll discover there are as many ways as there are cooks. Try experimenting with stewed tomatoes and various wines as well as an assortment of vegetables.

Another favorite dish more meat lovers is prime rib roast! There are so many ways to prepare this delicious dish, for some ideas, how to cook prime rib roast is a great place to start!

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