18 October 2013

Cranberry and Beer Braised Brisket

Here is a beef brisket that has been braised to the point of falling apart into a smooth candied pile of sweet onions ... melt in your mouth delicious with crusty crunchy bread slices, or mounds of whipped potatoes, or a soft and smoky polenta. However you prefer, it makes enough for three hearty eaters of two with a plan for lunch leftovers.

This is a basic recipe that should be in every cook's bag of tricks. Easy and perfect for busy days when a slow cooker meal is a saving grace. This is also a meal that can be made in greater quantities for the football crowd ... in fact, I am thinking that the next Super Bowl party will see this beef made for heaping on crunchy bulkie rolls with sides of cool potato salad and cold beers. The only change I might make should it be made for sandwich fare ... I'd thicken the sweet and sour sauce to make a gooey gravy!

I originally came across this brisket recipe at a blog called OMG! Yummy. Beth has the cook roast the brisket in the oven and slice it against the grain of the meat. I have never had good luck (or an electric meat slicing knife) doing this, so I always break the meat apart. Some skills elude me. To boot, I have become a huge fan of the slow cooker and figured that this kind of meat would benefit from a long session with some onions. Hence, my recipe adaptations are reflected in the instructions. The inspiration comes from Beth, though!

So basic that it's ridiculous ... you use half a can of whole berry cranberry sauce as the sweet element, half a cup of common ketchup as the sour tangy element, and a 12 ounce bottle of dark beer as the binder and tenderizing element. Mix this concoction and let it sit for a bit to soften the cranberry jelly up a bit.

Meanwhile,  generously pepper a 2.5 - 3 pound beef brisket on both sides and rub it up with some olive oil. Sear it well on all sides and then let it sit on a platter while you begin to caramelize 3 large sliced onions in olive oil and the meat juices. Lay the brisket atop the onions and pour the braising sauce over top.

Set the slow cooker temperature to 'Low', put the cover on and walk away for four hours. At the end of the cook time, remove the brisket to a platter and 'slice/shred/chunk' the meat. Return it to the sauce and continue to cook on  'Low' for another hour or so, letting the meat absorb more of the sauce. If you care to thicken the sauce to gravy consistency, remove some of the sauce and let it cool a bit, add some cornstarch to make a slurry and then stir it into the sauce just before you return the meat to the pot. Let the sauce bubble and thicken as the meat settles into it over that last hour of cooking time.

The onions will be soft and almost turned to a marmalade consistency. Serve them with the beef chunks and enjoy! Easy, huh? Sometimes, it's the simple things in life that are just so satisfying.

This was such an easy dinner, that I took some time to go outside and shoot this golden October day ... the light in the woods was all golden from passing through the ash and maple trees and textures were highlighted on everything, it seemed. Just a lovely Fall day!

... path into the woods from the front yard  ...

... squirrel's snacking spot ...

Euonymous climber and moss at the side of the greenhouse


  1. Oh Susan. This looks beautiful. I love the fall-apart quality to brisket. Absolute heaven!

  2. Oh, now you're talking girlfriend! Looks fantastic!


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