Christa Crawford, MAI’ve done my brisket homework. After browsing
hundreds of at least twenty recipes, I’ve noticed that most brisket recipes fall into one of three categories. Since I’m into profiles lately, I figured I’d continue that trend with my recipe classifications.
I’m all for smoked brisket. It’s delicious and hard to beat. There’s just one tiny problem: I don’t have a smoker. I don’t have wood chips either. Actually, I don’t even have a backyard. Smoked brisket is out.
Old school brisket tastes nostalgic and surprisingly yummy. Still, it’s hard for me to come to terms with packaged onion soup mix and ketchup in my dinner. Too many mystery ingredients for my taste.
Many slow cooker recipes carry on and on about how tender the brisket is when it comes out of the crock pot after cooking for eight hours. Of course it is! Slow cookers always make meat tender. That’s their J-O-B! My Da-Le Ranch grass-fed brisket was special, and tender alone wasn’t gonna cut it (HA!). I wanted brisket that was both tender and complex in flavor. I knew that this would require a more strategic flavoring approach than the ole standby –stock-in-a-box, yellow onions, and parsley. I also wanted to listen to my readers, who have been requesting simple recipes. This ingredient list looks long, but the brisket is easy to prepare.
I trimmed the brisket before cooking it but left some of the fat on. I put the loose fat into the slow-cooker with the meat. I chose to sear the meat before cooking it, and I had to cut it in half so it would fit in the pot. If you’re short on time, go ahead and skip that step. Just season the meat and stick it in the slow-cooker.
After the brisket was cooked, I pulled it out of the liquid so that I could cool down the sauce and easily remove the fat off the top. If you are eating the brisket right away, just skim some of the fat off with a large spoon before serving. I want to be clear about the fat-in-the-sauce issue. I am not recommending that you remove the fat because it will make you fat, give you high cholesterol, cause a heart attack, or sabotage your New Year’s resolution. I just know that excess surface fat causes a greasy mouth feel, and nobody likes that.
Celery root looks really hideous but makes a great mash. It has a mild celery flavor. I found it a little strong on its own, but the addition of parsnips rounds it out perfectly.
It’s worth it to make a gremolata to top this off. Mince some green herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc.), lemon zest, and garlic. Mix it all together and use it to garnish your meal. It ties the whole dish together.
You can download and print the recipes using the links at the bottom of this page.
- 3-4 lb. brisket, trimmed
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tbsp. dried mustard
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1 tbsp. bacon fat
- 3 c. homemade beef stock (“bone broth” for all my paleo friends)
- 1/2 c. dry red wine
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c. plain, unsalted tomato sauce
Put the chopped onions into the slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and dried mustard. Stir to combine. Dry the brisket with a paper towel. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Pour the spice blend over the brisket and press it into the meat. Use more spices if you don’t have enough to cover the whole brisket.
Heat the bacon fat in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Sear the brisket on both sides. You may need to cut brisket in half and brown the meat in two batches.
Place the meat on top of the onions in the slow cooker. Deglaze the Dutch oven with a splash of broth to release any spices that are stuck to the bottom. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot. Pour the broth from the pot into the slow cooker. Add the rest of the broth as well as the red wine. The brisket should be sitting in liquid, but the top of the brisket should not be immersed. Spread the tomato sauce on the top of the brisket.
Cover the slow cooker. Turn it on low and cook for about six hours, or until it is very tender. Remove the meat and onions from the slow cooker. Although you will be tempted to shred the meat (because it will be falling apart), do your best to slice the brisket across the grain. This will maximize the tenderness.
Put the liquid into the refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, skim the fat off the top with a large spoon. If you do this, you’ll have to also refrigerate the meat and reheat it later. If you do not have time to refrigerate the food, just skim some of the fat off the top of the sauce. Serve over celery root & parsnip purée.
Celery Root & Parsnip Purée
- 2 celery roots
- 4 medium parsnips
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 4 tbsp. butter
Peel the celery roots and parsnips and chop them into 1″ pieces. Boil for about twenty minutes, or until a fork can be easily inserted. Drain and return to the pot.
Add the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and butter. Use an immersion blender, food processor, or masher to purée the mixture until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Garnish with fresh herbs and paprika.