game day brisket

>In the days before the Bears playoff game against the Seahawks, I decided that I wanted to make some really special food. Normally, I would make a boatload of wings. But since it was the playoffs and all, I figured I needed to do something special. When I was in the grocery store, I saw some brisket. I have never tried to cook one before. In fact, I had never even seen a whole brisket, other than on TV. It seemed unnecessarily large. I didn’t even think I had a vessel large enough to cook it in. But none of this deterred me. I put it in my cart and went to the checkout.

I don’t think they sell a lot of the briskets at my grocery store. When I went to pay for it, the checker asked me how I was expecting on cooking it.

I looked around for a couple of recipes. I wanted to find a Texas barbecue style recipe. The first one I found wanted me to smother the thing in barbecue sauce. Now, I admit that I don’t know much about making barbecue, but that just didn’t seem right. I ultimately decided to start with this brisket recipe from Paula Deen.


  1. brisket: the brisket that I bought was like 5 pounds. that amount of meat was way too big for just about anything I had. I wanted to try and cook it in my dutch oven, so I cut it in half and dropped it in.
  2. spices: 2 T chili powder, 1T garlic powder, 1 T onion powder, 1 T ground pepper, 1 T sugar, 2 t dry mustard. This is what the original recipe called for, and I forgot until after I added all the spices that I had only half the meat. So it was over seasoned, but that was ok since I was planning on overseasoning it anyway. Also, I didn’t have dry mustard – only mustard seeds. I thought about maybe grinding it up with my mortar and pestle, as if that would make a good substitute. But I was feeling lazy.
  3. roast 1: at this point, I followed the instructions and put the roast in my dutch oven and baked it at 350 degrees for an hour
  4. beef stock: after an hour, I added some stock. the original recipe called for about a cup and a half of it. but it also said that I would need to just filled whatever pan I was using with about a half inch of liquid. I had reserved the roasting liquid from my pot roast a couple nights earlier. So I used that. I have no idea how much liquid it was.
  5. roast 2: the recipe then wanted me to cover tightly for 3 hours at 300 degrees. This was why I wanted to use the dutch oven. I don’t like trying to cover things tightly with foil, especially something’s been in the oven for an hour. it seems annoying and like a lot of extra work. if I used the dutch oven, I only needed to put on the lid. it’s cast iron, so it’s friggin heavy and creates a tight seal.
The recipe wanted me to do stuff like add a whole bunch of salt, which I skipped, and add crushed bay leaves, which didn’t seem to make sense. I skipped that too.
About two hours into the second roasting period, I flipped the brisket over to finish cooking on the other side.
When it was all done, I pulled it out of the oven. And I was a little underwhelmed. It was just a dark brick of food. I tried to slice it, but it just seemed to fall apart, like pulled pork. Maybe I needed to let it rest, first, I thought.

While I was waiting, I started on my other dish of my game-day spread, which was Buffalo Dip. And by the time I got back to the brisket, it was ready to be sliced. It still kind of wanted to fall apart, but I was able to manage some proper slices of it. I thought it would be more like a pastrami or roast beef, where I could slice it thin. But I could only keep it from falling apart by cutting thick slices. Also, my knives could use a sharpening.

We tried it this brisket with some Billy Bones Barbecue Sauce. This was a bottle that I picked up with my brother-in-law while at a hunting goods store in Wisconsin. The sauce was really tangy. Not in a sweet way, though. It had a good smokey flavor with a rich herb-y-ness to it. I don’t really know what coriander is, but I am pretty sure that coriander is the secret ingredient.
As we began to sit down to enjoy our brisket and Buffalo Dip, the Bears scored their first touchdown of many that day. It was a great way to celebrate a good, new recipe.
The leftover brisket was even better the next day.


Filed under recipes

2 responses to “game day brisket

  1. >Down here in Texas, everyone in the grocery store has a brisket in their "buggy" (what they call a shopping cart).

  2. >it's not so popular of a home-cook item here in chicago (or back home in new jersey, for that matter), although, i'm not exactly sure why not. it was delicious, even despite the fact that i think the recipe i used used too high a temperature.

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