Anyone who knows me well knows that I love meat. A juicy piece of seared salmon, a well-braised lamb chop, or a fine slab of grilled rib-eye steak for dinner? YES please!
I guess this carnivorous side of me I inherited from my dad, who can hardly go one meal without meat. Much to the protest of my vegetarian-ly-inclined mother, he makes up all kinds of reasons for needing meat- protein for muscle building, gives him energy to work, more vitamins and so on. Somehow, eating meat has always been subconsciously associated with manhood in society’s eyes, whereas eating veggies (or what my dad calls cat food) is associated with a feminine touch. I’m not sure what this conclusion makes me, but anyhow, I am determined to master the art of cooking carne.
And one who lives in Texas cannot begin to talk about meat without knowing how to roast a good beef brisket. Recently, I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked”, and one of the first culinary fields he explores is barbecue. To learn to make authentic barbeque, he traveled to North Carolina and became an apprentice to a famous pit master there named Ed Mitchell. Then he goes on to describe their process of roasting whole hogs over live fires, how to crisp the skin, the types of wood that adds aroma to the meat. Reading the book, I was constantly drooling on the inside, and I was inspired to try my hands at it. Well… not the roasting whole hog part, but I thought I’d start with brisket.
After much deliberation (and bewilderment) at the the supermarket over which cut of brisket to choose from, I happily carried my 3 pounds of brisket home and proceeded with my experiment. From the hundreds of brisket rubs online, I picked one that looked promising. Next step was figuring out to bast or not to bast the almost done brisket with the meat juice. I decided on a no, more because of my laziness than the logic that moisture might escape when you unfold the foiled wrapped treasure. Lastly, I had to find out how many hours to roast this beast for. Here’s a handy guide I found:
- 3-4 pound brisket = 6 hours
- 5-7 pound brisket = 11 hours
- 8-10 pound brisket = 14 hours
Alas, after 5 hours, my brisket emerged blazing hot from the oven. But when it was time to slice it, I found out to my much disappointment that it was a bit dry. So I shredded the meat and made brisket sandwiches out of it, which gave a more moistened texture. Lesson #1: do not let air escape from the foil wrapped brisket. Lesson #2: even dry meat can make delicious pulled brisket sandwiches!
Texas-style Brisket Sandwich
- 3 pounds of brisket
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
For the brisket, combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly to make the rub. Rub the mixture evenly onto all sides of the brisket. Add red wine vinegar to the brisket.
Preheat oven to 250F. Wrap the brisket in foil, make sure that it is air sealed. Roast the meat in a roasting pan for 5 hours.
When the meat is soft and jiggly, it is done. Take out the brisket and let it rest for 30 minutes on the cutting board. Then slice brisket to your liking or shred it like I did. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar over brisket before serving.