How to slow cook brisket
Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the chest. It's a tough cut, but when it's slow-cooked all the fats and connective tissues turn it into one of the most tender and juicy pieces of meat. Learn how to slow cook it and other important tips so you can enjoy beautifully home-cooked beef brisket.
What is the best way to cook brisket?
Brisket is best cooked low and slow. The long and gentle cooking time breaks down the connective tissue and renders the intramuscular fat which results in tender, pull-apart meat. American-style beef brisket is traditionally cooked in a smoker for 18-20 hours. But it’s not the only method to get the result you want.
When using an oven, place brisket in a Dutch oven and cook at 140°C for about an hour per 500g of meat. Depending on the size of your cut of meat, this can usually take anywhere between three-eight hours. It’s done when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 80°C.
In a slow cooker, set the dial to low and cook for up to eight hours.
In a pressure cooker, select the high-pressure option and cook for 90 minutes. Use the slow-release method to depressurise the pot.
Do I need to sear my brisket before slow cooking?
It’s not necessary, but it gives a better end result. Searing brisket caramelises the outside of the meat and imparts more flavour in the final dish. It also begins the process of rendering the fat, which is another flavour boost.
Can you overcook a brisket?
Yes. If the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, you’ve nailed it. If the meat is tough and dry, it's overdone.
Should brisket be covered with liquid in a slow cooker?
Not completely, aim to have the liquid come midway up the side of the brisket. Too much liquid and the brisket will stew instead of slow cook.
A reminder that when slow cooking, there is very little evaporation so it’s always best to err on the side of caution. The brisket will also release its own juices, further increasing the liquid content in the slow cooker.
How do you shred cooked brisket?
A perfectly cooked brisket doesn’t need a knife, two forks should do the trick. Go along the grain and it should easily fall apart. If you’ve got the right amount of sauce, shred the brisket in the pot. If the sauce needs reducing or thickening, remove the brisket from the pot, shred and then pop it back into the sauce after it's been reduced.
Should you cut off the fat from brisket?
Some people prefer scraping off and discarding the brisket’s fat. In American barbecue terms, that’s the lean cut. But aficionados opt for the ‘moist’ cut, which is the fatty end so feel free to leave it on if you want a juicier bite.
Now you know the basics, it's time to cook your own! Check out these recipes for brisket pie and casseroles.
Cook brisket in red wine and tomato sauce for a decadent pie (that only requires one pot!).
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