My husband was a fan of buying a large piece of meat and eating it in different forms every night of the week. It provided a way for us to buy less meat and still give us a different meal every night if we wanted. We made sure the list included whatever we needed to make it different ways.
Brisket was one of his favorite pieces of meat to use in this fashion. Brisket is a breast meat of beef. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef primal cuts, the original cuts made by a butcher after slaughter. The brisket muscles include superficial and deep pectorals. Cattle do not have collar bones so these muscles support about 60% of the weight of cattle. This means there is a significant amount of connective tissue in these muscles. The resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue otherwise the meat will be tough.
The key to a tender brisket is low and slow. The connective tissue will gelatinize with low temps and a little water. Larry would put on a brisket the night before on 250° and just leave it alone until morning. The only problem with that was waking up hungry in the morning! It was always tender by the time we were ready to eat it though. He often just seasoned with salt and pepper or Head Country Seasoning. This way there was no war of flavors when we wanted to make something else out of it.
The recipes below are for using the leftover brisket. IF you want a recipe for cooking brisket itself, I am just going to share here it more depends on what you want to use it for. If the fat cap is thick, cut it down to about ¼” thick. Completely cover your brisket in seasoning, like a dry rub. Salt, pepper and some brown sugar (optional) is all you really need, but feel free to flavor as you desire. Remember though, this will be used for other things so you don’t want anything too strong. For added flavor, you can cover the meat with a layer of bacon. We always cook ours in the large turkey roasting pan, but use what you have that it will fit in. Cut it in half if needed to fit. Add a few drops of liquid smoke or Worchester sauce if desired and ¼-½ cup water to bottom of pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Turn on oven to 250° and place pan on middle rack. Cook overnight, at least 8-10 hours. Turn oven off, but leave the pan in the oven for another hour or so while the oven cools down.
This weekend, after you cook your brisket, look for new ways to use it. Pick up a few ingredients or check the pantry to use up some older foodstuffs. Then, meet me in the kitchen for a few different ways to use this large piece of meat.
How much meat you need will depend on how many you are feeding, but try to use just enough to make a single dinner.
3-4 cups shredded cooked brisket
Taco seasoning, to taste
½ cup water
Lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, sour cream, salsa or other taco toppings as desired
Preheat oven and cook taco shells as directed on box. Heat shredded meat in skillet over medium heat until hot. This will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the skillet and how much meat you are using. Add taco seasoning and just enough water to make sure seasoning incorporates over meat and mix well to combine. Assemble tacos with toppings as desired.
Note: You can also use this meat to make quesadillas instead!
BBQ Brisket Pizza
1 premade or homemade pizza crust ½ cup barbecue sauce
½ cup pizza sauce
½ cup red onions, sliced
1 Tbsp. unsalted sweet cream butter
1 generous cup of leftover brisket meat shredded, more or less as desired to cover pizza
1 green onion, finely diced
½ cup shredded Italian blend cheese, if you want a smoky flavor try Gouda or smoky cheddar
Pre-heat oven to 450°F. In skillet over medium heat, add butter and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and browned (approx. 15 minutes). In separate small bowl, mix BBQ sauce and pizza sauce together. Stretch and roll out pizza dough to desired width. Place dough on pizza pan covered with parchment paper. Cover dough with sauce, then layer on caramelized onions, leftover brisket, green onions and cheese. Bake approx. 15 minutes or until sides look crisp and cheese is melted.
Recipe adapted from vindulge.com.
Brisket Grilled Cheese
2-3 cups shredded or sliced cooked brisket
BBQ sauce if needed for added moisture
2-3 slices red onion
4 slices bread
Dijon or honey mustard
2 slices cheese of choice, I like a good melty provolone
In skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add onions and cook about 10 minutes. Add brisket and heat until warm and onions are soft. If meat appears dry, add 1 tablespoon of bbq sauce just for moisture. While cooking, spread butter on one side of each piece of bread. On opposite side of 2 slices of bread, spread Dijon mustard. Once meat is warmed and onion are cooked, layer sandwiches with cheese, meat and onion and top with remaining slice of bread, buttered side up. I like the added flavor and leave the mess in the pan, but feel free to wipe out the pan before cooking sandwich. Place sandwiches on hot skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes. When golden brown, flip sandwich and cook for another 3-5 minutes until equally golden. Serve immediately.
Brisket Shepherd’s Pie
2lbs chopped brisket
3 carrots, sliced or chopped evenly
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 red onion, minced
2 Tbsps. unsalted sweet cream butter
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
1½ cup beef broth
3-4 Tbsps. flour
Jalapeno Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
2lbs baby red potatoes, quartered
1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 jalapeno finely minced, seeds removed for less heat
4 Tbsps. unsalted sweet cream butter, cut into cubes
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup whipping cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In large pot, heat butter and oil to a slight simmer. Add carrots and onion, sautéing until carrots have softened about half way through. Check them with fork to test their doneness. Add broccoli florets, mixed vegetables and chopped brisket. Stir mixture together and add beef broth. Bring broth to simmer and sprinkle with flour. With mixture simmering, broth should thicken slightly. When this happens, pour mixture into a 13×9 inch casserole dish and set aside. Preheat oven 375°F. Clean the pot you used and then add water and salt and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. While potatoes are boiling, prepare cheddar, jalapeno and garlic. Drain potatoes and return them to pot. Using hand mixer, or a potato masher, add butter and blend potatoes. Fold in sour cream, and whipping cream. Fold in garlic, jalapeno and cheese. Test potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon mashed potatoes over filling in casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes, or until potatoes have turned slightly golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.
Recipe adapted from countrycleaver.com.