I’m gonna be honest…I didn’t really know what brisket was until we started to think of what to pair with the ‘Local Species’ beer that we got at Blue Mountain Brewery in Charlottesville, VA.
After some in-depth research (thank you Wikipedia!) I learned that brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of a cow. When it’s braised low and slow brisket can be incredibly melt-in-your-mouth tender and bursting with juicy flavor. The following recipe incorporates a mix of bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and a dark stout in the braising liquid (among other things) and, when topped with the peach glaze, the result is a complex savory-sweet triumph of, well, meat. Don’t be put off by how long the recipe takes to prepare! 90% of the time is hands-off while the brisket hangs out in the oven and does its thing…all you need is an afternoon at home and 4 pounds of brisket! Nathan and I were eating brisket on everything for an entire week… Brisket sandwiches, brisket salads, and even a barbecue brisket pizza!
When Nathan and I took our first sip of this wine we both made a face. We had been hoping for a juicy, full-bodied wine to pair with the bold flavors in the brisket and this wine was dry and a little flat. When we tasted it with the meat, however, it seemed to come alive and the dormant flavors of blackberry and mocha were present. In the end, I liked the wine as a pairing with the brisket but probably wouldn’t buy it to sip by itself.
When we originally tried this beer during our trip to Charlottesville, VA I had nothing but good things to say about it. I was slightly less impressed with the bottle I brought home vs. the fresh beer that I had on tap. The beer seemed to have lost a lot of its more subtle, complex flavors that I raved about originally. It was still a good beer with some nice hints of oak and bourbon but the richness of fruit and spice that I enjoyed at the brewery just wasn’t there anymore. If you like Belgian style or oak aged beer give this one a shot, just don’t expect to have your mind blown.
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 4-pound trimmed flat-cut brisket with about 1/3″ top layer of fat
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, smashed
4 cups beef broth
1 12-ounce bottle stout
3/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 large sprigs thyme
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, cored, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup peach jam or preserves
2 teaspoons bourbon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
Rub brisket all over with spice rub. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before continuing.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large wide pot over high heat. Add brisket, fat side down. Cook undisturbed until well browned, 5–6 minutes. Turn brisket over and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add broth and all remaining ingredients. Bring liquid to a simmer. Return brisket to pot. Cover and transfer to oven.
Braise until brisket is very tender to the touch but still holds its shape, about 4 1/2 hours. Using a large spatula, transfer brisket, fat side up, to a large plate. Strain braising liquid into a large bowl. Return liquid to pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Score fat side of brisket by cutting a crosshatch pattern of 1/4″-deep slits spaced 1/2″ apart. Return brisket, fat side up, to pot with reduced braising liquid. DO AHEAD: Brisket can be made 2 days ahead. Return brisket to pot, cover, and chill. Bring to a simmer and rewarm brisket before proceeding.
Transfer 1/4 cup braising liquid to a blender. Add jam and bourbon and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler. Spread 3–4 tablespoons glaze on top of brisket with the back of a spoon. Broil brisket in pot until browned and glazed, watching carefully to prevent burning, 4–5 minutes.
Transfer brisket to a cutting board. Slice against the grain and transfer to a large platter. Ladle braising liquid over. Drizzle remaining glaze on top.