Cooking with Beer: Porter Braised Brisket

IMG_472684271After running the air conditioning at my Christmas party and a December 23rd run outdoors in a long sleeve tee, it seems that winter has finally arrived on the east coast.

So how to make a day trapped indoors during an ice storm more tolerable, while making the house smell amazing, and incorporating beer?  Only one solution – Beer Braised Brisket!  Don’t be put off by the fact that this recipe takes 2 days to make – it’s really just a lot of waiting, add 1 ingredient and put it back in the oven for 90 minutes on several occasions.  And, as a bit of advice, don’t skimp on the overnight refrigeration.  Because the beef is so tender after hours of roasting, slicing the brisket while warm leads to more of a shredded beef scenario

So let’s talk about the important part – choosing the right beer!  When considering what kinds of beer go best with beef, I like to keep it simple.  So many of the flavors in this recipe come from the aromatics and spices, that I like to round things out with a well balanced, straight forward, basic porter or stout (there really isn’t much of a difference between the two, honestly).  Having made this recipe at my parents house in Michigan, there were quite a few options to choose from: Bells Porter, New Holland The Poet, Founders Porter.  I left this decision in the hands of my Dad and Brother-In-Law as we sent them out in the elements to Good Time Party Store (yep, the liquor stores in Detroit are fondly known as “Party Stores”) to make the selection.

Upon their return, a day of cooking ensued!

TOTAL TIME: 24 hours
HANDS ON TIME: 45 minutes
MAKES: 8 Servings

Day 1:

Preheat the oven to 350°  Rub a 5.5 pound beef brisket with a mixture of:

  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Heat in a large braising pan on the stove top

  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil

When oil is hot, add the brisket and sear 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove the brisket to a rimmed baking sheet.  Add to the braising pan

  • 2 Cups of chicken stock

scraping up the browned bits of beef as you stir.  Then add the following and bring to a boil.

  • 1 12 oz bottle of your favorite porter or stout
  • 8 Whole pitted prunes
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Put the brisket back in the pool of deliciousness, fat side down, and cover with

  • 4 Cups of chopped onions
  • 8 Cloves of garlic, chopped

Cover and braise in the oven for 60 minutes

Flip the brisket, braise for 30 minutes uncovered

Add

  • 1 Cup chicken broth

Cover and braise for 90 minutes

Nestle under the brisket

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ long pieces

Cover and braise for 45 minutes

Refrigerate at least overnight, but up to 2 days.

* Cooking tip from mom: If you are lacking fridge space and it’s cold enough outside, the brisket can be covered and chilled in the trunk of your car! *

Day 2

Preheat oven to 350°

Spoon off fat that has risen to the top of the liquid, discard.

Thinly slice brisket against the grain

Heat remaining liquid in braising pan over medium high heat on the stove top.  Whisk in

  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • White wine vinegar to taste (I like 1 Tablespoon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I like 2 Tablespoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper)

Return brisket to pan and ensure it is covered with liquid.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and braise for 90 minutes

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