Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brisket in the Slow Cooker

I failed to take pictures of the meat on the first night we served it - these pictures were from tonight, when I chopped it up for tacos.

I've posted about brisket's an economical choice of meat, and nothing beats a slow cooked brisket for tender, fall-apart meat. I usually make my Grandma Marian's Brisket because it is so tasty, but I thought I'd try cooking the brisket in the slow cooker. Enter Deb and her Smitten Kitchen blog. She had two equally-delicious-looking recipes for brisket in the slow cooker, so I latched on to one and tried it out. This did not disappoint. It was tangy (as the recipe name implies), spicy (see previous comment), tender and easy. I made a few small changes, but they were relatively minor. If you're looking to try brisket in the slow cooker, give this recipe a try.

We served this with quinoa and a salad the first go round. Tonight for leftovers, I caramelized some onions and red peppers, chopped up some of the leftover brisket, along with a generous dose of the sauce, and served this as tacos. Yum.

Tangy Spiced Brisket via SMITTEN KITCHEN
3 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon paprika (I used sweet Hungarian paprika, but a spicy, smoked paprika would've been lovely here, too)
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to your heat preference)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup chili sauce
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
8 to 10 pound brisket (I used a 6.5 lb. brisket)

1. Prepare the sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most of liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add halved garlic cloves and saute for 3 minutes more. Stir in spices and seasoning (paprika, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, cayenne, oregano and thyme) and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the beef stock, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce and brown sugar.

3. Place brisket in a slow cooker, spread onion mixture over the top, then pour sauce mixture over the entire dish. Cover with the lid and cook it on LOW for 10 hours. (Deb's note: I like to start it before I go to bed, and process it in the morning to rest over the course of the day in the fridge.) **I listened to Deb and did mine Saturday night for Sunday evening.**

4. When the brisket is cooked but still hot, use a spoon to scrape off any large fat deposits adhered to the top and bottom of the brisket.

5. Transfer the brisket and all of its sauce to a baking dish.

6. Chill entire dish in the fridge for several hours and up to one day; this resting time will significantly enhance the flavor and texture of the meat.

7. An hour before you’re ready to serve it: Preheat your oven to 300°F, and remove the dish from the fridge. Remove all of the fat that has solidified with a slotted spoon for a less oily finish.

8. Carefully remove the meat from its sauce and place on a large cutting board. Cut the brisket into 1/2-inch slices. **Um, I couldn't cut mine into slices - when I originally transferred from the crock pot into the baking dish, the meat was so tender, it just fell apart into pulled-pork-type pieces - oh DARN (she says sarcastically)!**

9. If you like a smoother sauce, this is a good time to run it through a blender or literally just smash up the onion and garlic strands with a wooden spoon. They’ll be so soft, that’s all it takes.

10. Carefully place the sliced meat (moving it in large sections with a spatula helps keep it together) back into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the meat. Replace the lid or cover the dish tightly with foil and reheat in the oven until it is bubbling at the edges — this usually takes up to to 30 minutes.

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