Sometimes I get a little carried away.
Don’t get me wrong; brisket is just as good braised for a few hours with a little booze and broth. But when I have nothing on the calendar for a whole weekend and I come across a tantalizing (yet ridiculously time-consuming) recipe like peach bourbon-glazed brisket, I can’t resist.
The great thing about chef-driven recipes like this one is they offer fabulous little tidbits for any home cook. Straining and reducing the braising liquid till it thickens into a beautiful sauce; and glazing the fatty side with something sugary and sticking it under the broiler till you get a crisp, richly browned crust. These techniques elevate recipes just a bit, refining your flavorful cooking liquid into a sauce and injecting texture and crunch into a slow-cooked hunk of meat. They add a little time to the overall process, but they’re worth it.
Peach bourbon glazed brisket
by chef Edward Lee
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 4-pound flat-cut brisket
Vegetable oil, as needed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
4 cups beef broth
1 12-ounce bottle stout
3/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 large sprigs thyme
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup peach preserves
2 teaspoons bourbon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method (rub): Mix salt, pepper, paprika and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Method (brisket): Rub brisket on all sides with the spice rub. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight. Let the brisket come to room temperature (for about an hour) before beginning.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large wide pot over high heat. Add the brisket, fat side down. Cook undisturbed until well browned, 5 or 6 minutes. Turn the brisket over and brown the other side, about 3 more minutes.
Transfer the brisket to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and begun to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, stout, bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, thyme, celery, tomato, carrot and balsamic vinegar. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Return the brisket to the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven.
Braise until the brisket is very tender to the touch but still holds its shape, about 4 1/2 hours. Transfer the brisket, fat side up, to a large plate (this might be a two-spatula job). Strain the braising liquid into a large bowl over a fine mesh strainer, forcing some of the vegetable mash through with a spatula. Return the liquid to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes.
Score the fat side of brisket by cutting a cross-hatch pattern of 1/4-inch-deep slits spaced about 1/2 inch apart. Return the brisket, fat side up, to the pot with the reduced braising liquid.
Method (glaze): Transfer 1/4 cup of the braising liquid to a blender. Add the jam and bourbon and puree until smooth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the broiler on high. Spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of glaze on top of the brisket. Broil the brisket in the pot until browned and glazed, watching carefully to prevent burning, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the brisket to a large cutting board. Slice against the grain and transfer to a large platter. Ladle the braising liquid over top. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of glaze, and serve with additional glaze for table drizzling.