Brisket is a cut of meat from the lower chest or breast of a cow. It can be prepared a variety of ways, with two of the most popular being barbecue and corned beef brisket. Brisket requires long, slow cooking times to tenderize the muscle cartilage and is oven braised before it is put on the grill to accomplish this task. Beef brisket is considered a lesser cut of meat and therefore is often less expensive to purchase. Corned beef brisket is more expensive, except around Saint Patrick's Day, when the meat is on sale.
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Braise in the Oven
Season the brisket with salt, pepper and any herbs and spices you desire. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and add water to a level that is half way up the sides of the brisket. Cover the roaster with a tight fitting lid and place in a 325 degree F oven. Allow approximately 1 hour per pound of brisket for the brisket to thoroughly cook. Check doneness by using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees F. One good indication that the brisket is done is when it will shred easily with a fork.
Braise in a Crock Pot
Season the brisket and place in the bottom of the crock pot. Add 1 cup water to the bottom of the crock. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or on high for 5 or 6 hours. If desired, you can place vegetables such as potatoes, carrots or cabbage on the bottom of the pot and the brisket on top. A crock pot is a sure way to make perfect Corned Beef and Cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day. As with the oven method, the meat is done when a thermometer reads 160 degrees F or higher.
Braise on the Stove
Place the brisket, fat side down, in a Dutch oven or other large pot with a lid. Pour enough water in the pot to completely cover the brisket. Place the lid on top and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour per pound of brisket. If desired, you can add vegetables during the last hour of cooking for a full meal.
In the Microwave
Place the seasoned brisket in a microwave safe casserole dish and add 1 1/2 cups of water. Calculate 30 minutes cooking time for each pound of brisket and set the microwave to 30 percent power for half of the calculated time. Turn the brisket over, and continue to cook on high power for the remainder of the calculated cooking time.
Cooking on the Grill
Season the brisket and place on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Pull up the sides of the foil to create a basket and add 1 cup water. Fold over the aluminum foil to seal the brisket inside. Wrap another sheet of foil around the package. Cook over indirect heat for 3 to 4 hours. After the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, the brisket can be removed from the foil and sauces or spices added on the grill during browning.