Brisket makes a great casual entertaining dish. It’s one of those “put it in the oven and forget it” meats that allow you to spend more time with your family and friends and less time worrying about what is going on in the kitchen. You can even cook it while you’re at work. As an added bonus it is the perfect family-style meal: slice the meat, place the sandwich buns in a basket and put the barbecue sauce in a gravy boat and you’re good to go. This recipe comes from my mother’s 25-year-old copy of the Colorado Cache Cookbook (by the Junior League of Denver).
1 (5 pound) Brisket
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Pepper
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Bay Leaves, crushed
2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
14 ounces Katchup
2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Water
4 tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Dry Mustard
2 teaspoons Celery Seeds
6 tablespoons Butter
1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
8 Onion Rolls, toasted
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
To begin carefully line a 9 x 13 baking dish with heavy duty aluminum foil (this will definitely help when it comes to clean up). Mix together the salt, pepper, chili powder, and bay leaves to make your dry rub. Take your brisket and rub in 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke. Place the brisket fat-side up in the pan and sprinkle the top evenly with the dry rub. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. The brisket will cook for 1 hour per pound (in order words 5 hours for a 5 pound brisket).
When the brisket has about an hour to go, place a sauce pan on the stove and put all of the barbecue sauce ingredients in the pan. Turn the heat to medium low and stir occasionally. When all of the butter has melted and the sauce is smooth reduce the heat to low and keep it warm until you are ready to serve.
After the meat is cooked use tongs to carefully remove it from the pan. Place on a cutting board and remove the fat. At this point you will be able to easily see the “grain” of the meat (the direction that the muscle fibers are running). When you slice the meat you want to slice against the grain. By cutting against the grain you will make the pieces tender and easy to eat.
Toast your sandwich rolls and set everything on the table. Dinner is served.
Tips and Tricks:
The amount of barbecue sauce that you get out of this recipe is really enough for 2 times the amount of meat. You can always freeze the left over sauce and save it for the next time you make the recipe. Alternatively you can use it with grilled chicken for another meal later in the week.
You can prepare the brisket the night before you plan on serving it and store it in the refrigerator over night.
If you are going to cook the brisket while you are at work you will of course want to use the preprogramming on your oven, but in order to ensure you are limiting bacterial growth (which will happen at temperatures above 41°F) you are going to want your oven to kick on within 2 hours of you leaving the house. If you are going to be gone longer than 7 hours what you will want to do is reduce the cooking temperature to 275°F and let it cook until you get home.
Serves 4 to 6 people.