Macheesmo

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Beef, Main Dishes

Porter Braised Brisket

by Nick

I was excited and worried when Porter Braised Brisket won last week’s poll. I was excited because I would get to eat Porter braised brisket. I was worried because I wasn’t sure that I would actually have enough time to make it and post it by today.

I was right to be excited. I was wrong to be worried.

As far as briskets go, I haven’t had too many braised ones actually. I usually eat them smoked, but that might change. Slow cooking a brisket for many hours in a rich Porter sauce makes for a really amazing fall dish.

It should go without saying that this lovely dish is not a weeknight afterthought meal. This is a meal you need to plan for, but don’t worry. It will pay back dividends for your planning.

The original recipe called for a 6-7 pound brisket and you could even get a much larger brisket if you ordered a full one from a butcher (probably in the 12 pound range). I just couldn’t justify cooking that amount of food when I’m basically cooking for two people (although a very helpful neighbor did stop by to help us put a dent in this on day one.)

I decided to pare down the recipe and use a 4 pound brisket and I think that was about as big as my kitchen equipment could handle. But if I had the right pans, I would make a larger version next time just because it turned out so perfectly wonderful and would be great leftovers for sandwiches and stuff.

Yield
Serves 4-6.
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Porter Braised Brisket

Porter Braised Brisket

Ingredients

  • 1 4 pound brisket
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (for browning the brisket)
  • Dry rub:
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh sage, minced
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Braising Liquid:
  • 4 Cups chicken broth (homemade is best)
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Porter beer (stout is cool too)
  • 6 whole prunes (kind of strange, but works)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons brown sugar
  • Veggies:
  • 4 Cups sliced onions (about 3 medium onions)
  • 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 pound mushrooms, halved
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon malt vinegar (I actually used red wine vinegar)

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Make the dry rub by mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim off some fat from the brisket.

2) Take spice rub and cover brisket with it on both sides.

3) In a large heavy roasting pan, heat a few Tablespoons of oil. When it is really hot, put the brisket in and sear it well on both sides. This should take about 5 minutes per side.

4) Once you pull the brisket out, add 2 Cups of chicken stock to the pan. Use a spatula to stir up any little burned bits stuck to the pan.

5) Once chicken stock is simmering, add prunes, brown sugar, bay leaf, and Porter. Bring that mixture to a boil.

6) Set brisket in this liquid, fat side up. Then layer all those sliced onions on top of the brisket with the garlic cloves! Cook this, covered, for one hour.

7) Take it out and you should see that the onions have turned translucent.

8) Turn the brisket over and push all of the onions into the braising liquid. Cook this uncovered for 30 minutes.

9) Add another cup of chicken broth, cover it and cook it for another 90 minutes.

10) Meanwhile, prepare mushrooms and carrots. You want pretty large pieces or they will just disintegrate.

11) After the 90 minutes, take the brisket out and add the other veggies and one more cup of chicken broth. Set the brisket back on top of the veggies so the veggies are mostly submerged in the braising liquid. Cook this for another 45 minutes with the lid on.

12) Let it cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 - 48 hours.

13) 24 – 48 hours later, get a spoon and gentle spoon off as much fat as you can. Don’t worry about getting all of it.

14) Lift the brisket out of the pot and put the pot with the sauce and veggies over high heat. You want it simmering nicely!

15) Slice the brisket against the grain. Lay out all the slices in a large baking dish.

16) Once the sauce and veggies has come to a simmer, very carefully pour it over the cold brisket slices. Cover this with foil and bake it for yet another 75 minutes at 350 degrees.

17) Finally. Once that baking is done, you can eat it up! Serve up a few slices with all the veggies and sauce.

Adapted from Bon Appétit Oct 2009.


Making the rub

Make the dry rub by mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl. Note that they amounts above are for the 4 pound brisket I had. Adjust if you are using a larger one. Also, now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Here's the rub.

Here’s the rub.

Preparing the brisket

Depending on where you get your brisket from and what size you get, you might need to trim off some fat from the brisket. The fatty side of the brisket should have an even layer of fat. Trim off any extra. Don’t worry too much about getting it perfect.

Then take your spice rub and cover your brisket with it on both sides. In a large heavy roasting pan (I used my cast iron pot which was only big enough for a 4 pound brisket), heat a few Tablespoons of oil. When it is really hot, put the brisket in and sear it well on both sides. Should take about 5 minutes per side.

Brown food tastes good.

Brown food tastes good.

Prepping the liquid

Once your pull your brisket out, add 2 Cups of chicken stock to the pan. It will hiss! Use a spatula to stir up any little burned bits stuck to the pan. That’s all flavor. Once your chicken stock is simmering, add your prunes, brown sugar, bay leaf, and Porter. Bring that mixture to a boil.

Preparing the braise

Next, set your brisket in this liquid, fat side up. Then layer all those sliced onions on top of the brisket with your garlic cloves! It’s okay if you lose a few onions into the liquid. Just get them all in the pot.

Lots of onions...

Lots of onions…

Cook this, covered, for one hour. Then take it out and you should see that the onions have turned translucent.

Brisket hiding under onions.

Brisket hiding under onions.

Turn the brisket over and push all of the onions into the braising liquid.

Cook this uncovered for 30 minutes. Then add another cup of chicken broth, cover it and cook it for another 90 minutes. This is the definition of slow cooking here people…

Meanwhile, prepare your mushrooms and carrots. You want pretty large pieces or they will just disintegrate.

More Veggies are needed.

More Veggies are needed.

After the 90 minutes, take the brisket out and add the other veggies and one more cup of chicken broth. Set the brisket back on top of the veggies so the veggies are mostly submerged in the braising liquid.

Cook this for another 45 minutes with the lid on.

After that, you should end up with a very tender piece of meat and a stew of veggies in a really rich sauce. It’ll look about like this:

After a long day of cooking...

After a long day of cooking…

Oh the waiting…

Here’s the hard part. This needs to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours. I let mine sit for 48 hours. One note, make sure to let it cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before sticking it in your fridge.

After a day or two you’ll pull out something that looks much different. Don’t worry. All of the deliciousness is still intact.

Maybe not the most attractive photo. Deal with it.

Maybe not the most attractive photo. Deal with it.

There will be a decent layer of fat that has congealed on the surface. It’s not attractive and won’t really help your final cause. Get a spoon and gentle spoon off as much as you can. Don’t worry about getting all of it.

Then lift your brisket out of your pot and put the pot with the sauce and veggies over high heat. You want it simmering nicely!

Meanwhile, slice your brisket against the grain. It will be really easy to slice if you do it while it’s cold. Then lay out all the slices in a large baking dish.

This is when I fell in love.

This is when I fell in love.

See all those little veins in each slice? Those are little veins of fat and as the brisket warms up, they will melt and make for a wonderfully tender finished product.

Once your sauce and veggies has come to a simmer, very carefully pour it over your cold brisket slices. It might be a tight fit depending on your pan size!

Somewhere in there is 4 pounds of brisket.

Somewhere in there is 4 pounds of brisket.

Cover this with foil and bake it for yet another 75 minutes at 350 degrees.

Finally. Once that baking is done, you can eat it up! Serve up a few slices with all the veggies and sauce. I can’t even explain in words how tender and flavorful this was.

Serve with a dark beer or red wine obviously.

Serve with a dark beer or red wine obviously.

Here’s the kind of cool thing about this dish. I made it on a Sunday morning and ate it on a Tuesday night. I watched football while it cooked. There really isn’t a lot of work involved with it. Just a lot of time. Then I just did the reheating step on Tuesday night and it made for a perfect weeknight dinner.

I mean this stuff was amazing. It was a great combination between a very tender steak and a delicious pot roast. I had it for leftovers in sandwich form and just sliced. It’s amazing no matter what.

I wish I had 4 more pounds of the stuff.