Braise it!

There are several very muscular pieces of meat on the beeve which can only be rendered chewable if cooked low and slow in a covered or wrapped and moist cooking environment. These cuts include the brisket and all roasts. The good news is this: once you understand the approach, these are also the most nutritious and the tastiest of the meats. It is always the case that the most used muscles are also the best in all respects. Why is that? Because they have the most blood and oxygen flowing through them. To use an analogy, the chicken breast is the least flavorful cut on the chicken, the legs and thighs the most flavorful (and also most nutritious).

So let’s discuss cooking a brisket as an example. As with any of the cuts, there are many ways to achieve the result you are looking for, but many of us want to impart a smokey flavor to the brisket and so we take it to the grill. Nothing wrong with that except you must start the brisket, uncovered at the start, away from the heat source. (Think coals and damp wood chips on one side, brisket on the other side of the pit.) Pour the smoke to it for say 30-45 minutes, then pull it off and wrap it in 3 layers of foil that includes vegetables that will add moisture as it cooks – onions, potatoes, carrots are some of those candidates. But kale and cabbage are others. Add water or stock to get the steam started, place the brisket on top of the vegs, wrap it up tight, and return it to cooler side. Don’t even look at it for the next 2 hours. If it’s not fork tender by then, re-wrap it and leave it until it falls apart to the touch. Plus you have these wonderful vegs to go with it. Or forget all that, put it in your slow cooker and be done with it.

Happy cooking.

JVF