Monday, March 28, 2016

Slow-Braised Atlanta Brisket

I am going to preface this blog post, by blurting out, "This brisket recipe is so good, that I absolutely-positively will make this again! "   I am so excited to share this with you, because I have missed been away from sharing recipes and interacting with my loyal food blog followers.

I have been absent from my food blog far too long, and I have two primary reasons for that. For one, during winter, I don't like taking food photographs when it's dark outside.  I don't want to use flash (makes for unappetizing photos), and setting up photography lights is a huge hassle. Second, I'm just plain tired when I get home from work, and then it's already dark outside. It's a viscous cycle that kept my blogging mojo at bay.

This week,  I am on Spring Break from our school district, and I'm not going anywhere.  At last, I have the time to sit down and write out printable recipe cards, edit photos and write blog posts without feeling worn out from my full-time job.

I can't think of a better way to come back from my absence, by sharing the first of three new recipes that I made for yesterday's Easter family supper.

I wanted to break away from making baked ham. (Confession: ham isn't my favorite dinner.)  I adore lamb, but my husband is so-so about it.  I started thinking about other traditional dinners I could make.  Then it hit me-- Passover Brisket! I did some internet surfing and stumbled across a recipe that detoured me from the Passover Brisket idea.  This recipe comes from one of my favorite recipes resources: "Cook's Country" (part of the Cook's Illustrated family). I had never heard of "Atlanta Brisket" so I read the article and recipe.  Apparently, Atlanta Brisket is a Southern dish that traditionally uses chili sauce, onion soup mix and Coca Cola.  Since Coca Cola originated in Atlanta, George, that's how this dish got it's name.

I don't buy onion soup mix, and I rarely drink Coca Cola.  However, I have used sodas in recipes, with great results (such as this 7-Up cake).  I watched the video on America's Test Kitchen, and saw how the onion soup mix was made from scratch (and loved it) and that's when I knew this would be our main dish for our Easter Sunday Supper. 

I called my butcher and ordered a 4-pound cut of brisket, with the fat cap trimmed to 1/4".  If you are not familiar with this cut of beef, it is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef.  It has to be slow-cooked because of all the connective tissue.   The night before, I poked holes all over the brisket, with a fork, then salted and wrapped it in plastic wrap and gave it a good night's sleep in the refrigerator.

This is how we slow-grilled a brisket, for several hours, with our Weber.  Barbecued brisket it so delicious grilled with wood chips (or oak, if you have that kind of barbecue set up).  The average time to slow cook a brisket is 3-4 hours.  It's worth the wait, though.

The next day, I blotted the brisket with paper towels to make sure it was nice and dry.  It's time to give the beef a good and even sear.  In order to do this, I heated some vegetable oil in a 12" skillet, and placed a cast iron Dutch oven (wrapped in foil for easy clean up) on top.

Perfect! Sear both sides, remove and set aside.

While the meat was searing, I set up my ingredients to make the sauce: ketchup, Coca Cola (not diet), onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dark brown sugar (a printable recipe card is at the very end of this post. Whisk it all together and set aside.

Instead of using onion soup mix, I cut up 2medium onions into half inch slices.  These were cooked in the fond left by the seared brisket. They were cooked until soft and browned (but not caramelized).

The onion was laid on in a 9x13 baking dish, and the seared brisket was set on top.

The sauce is poured all over the brisket...

The oven is preheated to 325F.  Cover the brisket with parchment paper and then (tightly) with foil. Why the parchment paper?  Because you don't want the foil to come into contact with the acidity of the ketchup.  It's all science!  You now have about four hours to tidy up the kitchen, make other recipes, and watch your family come into the kitchen with their noses in the air.  It smells so good, while it's braising!

Four hours later, you can see that the brisket has had some shrinkage.  The brisket needs to sit in the sauce for 30 minutes.

Oh, yum!  Once I removed the brisket, I covered it with foil and skimmed off the fat from the sauce.

This photograph doesn't do justice to how moist this meat turned out.  It wasn't dry, at all.

 In fact, each slice had lots of juice!

Right before serving, I poured sauce all over the sliced brisket. It was plenty hot, even though it had rested for close to an hour.

As a side dish, I served these  "Funeral Potatoes"  with the brisket.  This was equally delicious and my guest and family dug in for seconds (and thirds).

You do not want to miss out on my recipe for the Texas Roadhouse Rolls.  Holy Cow!  These were so addicting, slathered with the cinnamon-honey butter.  These are now in my Hall of Fame recipe and will be perfect for summer grilling recipes. Yee-Haw!

Cooking and baking, for my family and guests, is my Love Language.  It makes me happy to see my loved ones enjoying their food, going back for seconds (and thirds) and raving about this entire menu.  Humbly said, I have to agree.  I got lucky with all three new recipes, and I plan to make them again.  What a feast!  We are so blessed, indeed.

RECIPE NOTES:  Unanimous raves were that the meat was ultra-tender. The sauce has a mildly sweet flavor, with a little bit of acidity.  This would be delicious served with mashed potatoes, to slather with the sauce (there was LOTS of sauce).  I had six guests, and enough leftovers for two.  So, I could safely guess that this serves 8 people (everyone had seconds).  Can this be made in a slow cooker? I dunno.  It's worth a try, but would take at least 8-10 hours.  I love pressure cooking, but I think I'd leave this to be slow-braised in the oven. 

A printable recipe card is at the very bottom of this post. Keep on scrolling down!

With love,

Pin It


Penny said...

So glad to see you back Debby! I know what you mean about dark winter lighting and photographing food. It is a real challenge. Your brisket looks so good that I will definitely be trying it. Can hardly wait for the funeral potatoes and the rolls. Great meal for your lucky family.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thanks so much, Penny! It's good to be back, because this blog has introduced me to so many friendly people.