Featured Cut: Grass-fed Beef Brisket

The Thanksgiving table is a glorious show with the turkey holding the spotlight. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get a little help from a supporting cast. Get a standing (or reclining) ovation from friends and family this year by adding a tender, slow-roasted brisket to the table.

Our butchers are handcrafting some amazing beef briskets for Kettle Club shares that include beef roasts this month. Before we get into recipes, let’s learn a little more about this diverse beef cut.

What is a brisket?

If we had to say steers had a glamour muscle, the brisket would be it! The brisket comes from the lower chest, or pectoral muscles of the steer and bears about 60% of the animal’s weight as it moves across pasture. Steers use their pectoral muscles at every step. Leaning down to get a bite of nutritious grass, laying down to get some rest, even reaching back with their heads to keep off summer flies. The pecs are always getting toned, which results in a flavorful cut of meat.

Remember back in August when we talked about what makes beef cuts flavorful? Of course you do, but let’s recap. Weight bearing muscles are constantly being toned which means there is more connective tissue and blood flow to the area. This results in the presence of Umami, or protein flavor. What’s important to remember about these delicious cuts is that they need more cook time to break down strong muscle fibers. Let’s talk about some tips for cooking and serving brisket.

 

Relax those muscles with a soak or spicy massage

Wet brine, dry brine, the winner is still up for debate among BBQ enthusiasts. What we do know for certain is that salt applied in any manner prior to cooking helps tenderize flavorful cuts like brisket. Salt is comprised of sodium and chloride ions that denature or unwind the proteins of highly worked muscles. These altered proteins can then retain more water, keeping the meat moist during the cooking process.  If you’re using a dry rub, make sure you’re coating every inch and getting that salt in all the nooks and crannies. For wet brines, ensure you allow at least 12 hours of relaxing soak time.

 

Slow and steady wins the race

Whether you’re oven roasting, smoking or using the crock pot, cuts like briskets need proper time and temperature to reach their full potential. You’ve heard us say it before and we’ll say it again, LOW AND SLOW! This allows connective tissue to break down slowly and results in a buttery, tender roast. A good rule of thumb is about 45-50 minutes per lb. when cooking at 250 degrees. Don’t forget to check it with your trusty meat thermometer regularly! An internal temperature of 165-170 degrees F is recommended for a slow roasted brisket.

 

If you want the best, let it rest!

Rest your cooked brisket for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing carefully against the grain. This allows for the juices from the fat to sink in and provides a tender finishing texture.

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