Brisket – The Quest for Tenderness: LUNCHEON ON THE GRASS

Adapted from a recipe; Braised and Smoked Brisket: Barbecued Brisket Sandwiches with Firecracker Sauce by Chef David Page, Shinn Estate Vineyards, former owner of Home, as published in The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes, by Stephanie Pierson

Thinly sliced and slathered with barbecue sauce, this is the perfect brisket any time of the year. And the meat tastes terrific even before smoking, so if you don’t have a grill handy, you can still enjoy it.

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground yellow mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 (5-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
  • 2 cups diced yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes; or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • ½ cup hardwood chips (optional), soaked in 1 cup water for 30 minutes
  • 8 potato rolls

Preheat the oven to 300° F. For the rub, in a small bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. Place the brisket on a work surface and pat the rub over the entire surface of the brisket, rubbing the spices into the meat until it is coated. (If some of the spices don’t adhere to the meat, add them to the braising pan with the meat later.)

For cooking and serving the brisket, heat the oil over medium heat in a braising pan large enough to fit the brisket. Add the onions and garlic and gently cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce and simmer briefly. Add the tomatoes, then place the brisket on top.

Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid or with heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in the oven. Cook until fork-tender, about 4 hours, turning the brisket over twice.

Prepare a charcoal grill. Let the fire burn down and knock down the coals so that you have a low fire. If using, drain the wood chips and add to the fire. Remove the brisket from the pan and reserve the sauce. Place the brisket on the grill and close the lid. Damper the grill and cook over the lowest heat possible and with as much smoke as possible for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Defat the reserved sauce, transfer to a saucepan, place over medium heat and simmer to thicken, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thinly slice against the grain; serve on potato rolls with the sauce.

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