Brisket is a great option for any meal, especially one with a holiday theme. This slightly sweet and tangy slow cooked brisket is perfect for preparing the day before (we highly recommend it) so that you can focus on friends and family the day of the gathering and not worry about the timing of completing this delicious dish.
The key to well executed holiday meals comes with preparation and planning before the day of the meal. Doing the work ahead of time alleviates unforeseen problems that may arise. Sometimes things just take longer than you estimate, so having the majority of it done the day before ensures your next day won't be more stressful than it need be! Plus allowing a braised dish to rest overnight will help marry and meld the final flavors.
1 Brisket flat, 4 to 5 pounds
Salt for seasoning
- 1 large onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, diced
- Fresh sage, 5-6 leaves
- Fresh thyme, 5-6 sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp dried ginger
- 1.5 cups dry red wine
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 2-3 tablespoons honey (2 if you don't like it too sweet, 3 if you like a little more).
- Any side dish ingredients: we used carrots, parsnips, and chioggia beets
TIME AND DIFFICULTY
- Prep Time: 25 minutes total
- Cook Time: 4-5 hours total
- Difficulty: Easy
May We Suggest:
- A large heavy duty pot with lid. You can also use your slow cooker crock pot to cook this dish. Recommend doing the first two steps in a pot and then transferring to the slow cooker.
- Do the majority of this dish the day before serving so that you only need re-heat the brisket while your side dishes are being prepared.
- Serve with your favorite side dishes. In this recipe we did carrots, parsnips, and chioggia beets. But also highly recommend adding mushrooms and mashed potatoes for a special meal!
Step 1: Brown the brisket. Set your pot over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of avocado oil (or any high heat oil of your choosing) until nice and hot. Season the brisket with salt on all sides and brown in the pot on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Our pot was not quite big enough to fit the entire brisket at once, so we cut it in half (90 degrees against the grain/direction of the muscle fibers) and seared each piece separately. Alternatively, you can trim the edges a little until the brisket is just small enough to fit inside. Once complete, set the brisket aside on a plate.
Step 2: Add the vegetables and liquids. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees or get your crock pot ready if transferring to that for the cooking. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the leftover fat in the pot. Over medium heat, add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until they soften. Add the spices, herbs, and season with salt. Stir and combine for a couple more minutes. Add the red wine and stir, especially scraping up the bottom of the pot to release any of the flavor stuck to the pot. After simmering for a couple minutes, add the chicken stock and honey. Bring everything back to a simmer, season with salt, and add the brisket.
Step 3: Cook slow and slow until fork tender. Place your pot, covered, into the 275 degree oven and let it braise for around 3 - 4 hours. Check it halfway through the cooking process and flip the brisket over. The timing on this step will depend on a few things, but you know your brisket is ready when you can insert a fork into it and pull it out with little to no resistance. You will also reheat this and simmer it the next day, so it will continue cooking a little during that step.
Step 4: Strain and refrigerate overnight. After the initial cooking process in the oven or slow cooker, let the dish cool down slightly, uncovered on the stove top. Remove the brisket on a plate and strain the liquid/vegetables through a fine mesh strainer. Everything has added its flavor to the liquid so we no longer need those solids. Once strained, add the liquid back to the pot and add the brisket, meat side down. Place it partially covered in the fridge overnight.
Step 5: Skim fat and reheat. The next day, about an hour or so before serving, remove the pot from the refrigerator and remove the fat that has risen to the top of the dish. Now bring the pot to a low simmer and cover to reheat. We added the carrots and parsnips at this stage to gently cook them with the brisket until just fork tender. This took about 25-30 minutes from cold to ready. We roasted the beets in the oven while the pot was cooking. Make sure you keep an eye on everything as you don't want the vegetables to get too soft and mushy but just fork tender.
Step 5: Slice and serve. Once everything is ready, including any other side dishes you may have, you can remove the brisket from the pot and place on a cutting board. Taste the liquid for salt, add if needed. If your liquid is not thick enough to your liking, you can continue simmering it uncovered for another 5 - 10 minutes until it reduces further (make sure brisket and vegetables are removed so they don't overcook). Alternatively, you can mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 1 tablespoon water and add to the liquid to thicken it up. Slice the brisket against the grain. Serve and ladle the sauce over top. Enjoy this delicious, slightly sweet and tangy tender brisket!