Texas-Style Oven Brisket and Coleslaw
For a Memorial Day family gathering this past weekend, we enjoyed savoring our Texas roots by indulging in this oven brisket recipe from Louie Mueller Barbecue, a James Beard award-winning place located in Taylor, Texas, not far north of Austin.
I purchased a brisket from Red Mesa Meats, and it turned out just as tender and juicy and tasty as this recipe promises. To eat along with the brisket, I served Yellow Indian Woman beans I got from Malandro Farm and cooked and froze a while back. I also served a coleslaw made primarily from a head of Napa cabbage that I bought from Scott Moore of La Otra Banda. In my slaws, along with cabbage, I like to include a little shredded carrot, minced scallion greens, and chopped cilantro leaves, all tossed with a dressing of mayonnaise and cider vinegar. My carrots came from Romero Farms, the scallions from Gonzalez Farm, the cilantro from Green Tractor Farm, and the cider vinegar from Zulu’s Petals. I also served bread, whole wheat Nativo from Cloud Cliff Bakery.
This oven brisket takes a long time – about five and a half hours – but almost no effort, with only hourly basting. Another appealing feature is that in these days of drought and high risk of wild fires, it’s safer to cook meat in an oven than in outdoor barbecue grills.
- 1 cup coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 5 to 6 pounds brisket, trimmed, with a layer of fat at least ¼-inch-thick, choice grade or higher
- Move the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 275°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the pepper and salt. Spread the pepper mixture evenly across a large baking sheet.
- Remove the brisket from its packaging. Dampen a kitchen towel and rub the wet towel over the entire brisket. Place the brisket, fat cap down, on the pepper mixture to thoroughly coat with a thick layer. Using clean hands, press the pepper mixture over all sides of the brisket. Flip the brisket over so the fat cap is face-up; make sure that the entire fat cap is covered with the pepper mixture.
- Put the brisket in a roasting pan large enough to hold it without the brisket touching any sides of the pan. (Always use a pan with sides that are at least 3 inches high.) Place the brisket in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 5½ hours, basting with grease from the pan every hour.
- Remove the brisket from the pan and place on a cutting board or other large, flat surface. Immediately wrap the brisket in plastic wrap, making sure no surface is left exposed. Over that, thoroughly wrap the brisket with newspaper, a paper bag, or butcher paper.
- Place the brisket in a small, empty, insulated ice chest or cooler that is at room temperature. (A microwave oven can also be used in place of an ice chest.) Allow the brisket to rest in the container, undisturbed, for 1 hour. Remove the brisket from the ice chest or microwave and discard all of its wrapping.
- Set the brisket on a carving board, with the point to your left and the flat facing right. Begin carving the brisket, against the grain, on the flat (right) side, moving right to left as you carve. Once you reach the midpoint of the brisket, turn the brisket 90 degrees to the right so that the point is facing away from you and the exposed (cut) end of the brisket is facing you. Begin carving from the right side and continue carving from right to left until the entire point is carved. (Carving the brisket this way will enable you to cut across the grain of both muscle masses, so the meat is as tender as possible.) Serve warm.
This locally inspired recipe is brought to you by Pam Walker. Pam is an avid home cook, writer, and local farm and food activist who is also a board member of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute. Thank you, Pam, for helping inspire us to use locally sourced ingredients!