In this part of the world, everyone knows, loves, and appreciates a good brisket. It’s served at all the barbecue restaurants, as well as other random restaurants (which is a little hit or miss and requires more bravery), and of course, it is a Texas staple.
Brisket is the original make-ahead food. It is a predecessor to the Crock Pot and slow cooker movement, and requires the most obscene amount of planning ahead combined with the smallest amount of actual work. Clearly, there are pros and cons. 🙂
On a recent weekend, our plans were for me to drive to hubby’s hometown for the weekend for his brother and sister-in-law’s wedding shower and for hubby to stay home and work a surprise weekend of the night shift in the ER. We (I) were (was) disappointed that hubby couldn’t come and was missing out on a fun weekend with the rest of the family, which prompted the Great Make-Ahead Cook-a-Thon of August 2016. And as I hash tagged on Instagram, even though he was missing the fun, #atleasthewontstarve.
This whole process started the Tuesday before I was set to leave, and the plan was to make this in enough time to have it for dinner Thursday night and leave the leftovers for hubby. I purchased everything I needed (see below), except for the marinade we always use. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, and works every time, meaning you don’t go off label just to make it work. HEB in Temple (where we live) did not have Claude’s, and as my husband says, the Claude’s makes it.
We were so desperate and in love with this marinade, I spent Tuesday night googling it to find where I could buy it around here, since I am accustomed to it being readily available at United and there are no United supermarkets in this area. Their website says it is available at HEB, Walmart, and United, (and Kroger, Albertson’s, Brookshire’s, Super Targets, Randall’s, and Fiesta) so I planned to check Walmart in Killeen after work on Wednesday (which is a big deal, because I detest, borderline loathe Walmart).
It’s at this point that I should tell you that this particular recipe involves marinading it for 24 hours and baking for 12-14 hours, which is typically done overnight. It was Wednesday when I was looking for marinade and planned to eat this Thursday night. Remember when we talked about obscene amount of planning?? I discussed this with Steven as I prepared to leave work Wednesday afternoon, stating that I might have to marinate and cook all at the same time, which he wasn’t a big fan of since it doesn’t really follow the recipe. My second suggestion was to marinate it overnight and cook it during the day all day Thursday. This was followed up with an inquiry about why I was trying to burn our house down (by leaving the oven on all day without us there). My third suggestion was to marinate it Wednesday night, cook it Thursday night, and leave the whole thing for him to eat over the weekend (probably the least selfish of the options, truthfully).
I left work and searched Walmart, where they did not have any, and then went further down the street to HEB Plus, where I finally found it, and then bought all the bottles they had (which was five, so really not an overwhelmingly impressive number of stock, honestly). On my way home, I called my mother-in-law to ask her advice on how to cook it. She suggested cooking it all day Thursday while I was at work, but I told her about the mild accusation of me potentially burning down the house, and we agreed that was not a good idea since it would be much more likely to happen just because he’d expressed concern over it.
And thus, I made a cake Wednesday night, a brisket Thursday night, and a large pan of fancy mac and cheese Friday morning. #atleasthewontstarve.
I was warned repeatedly that this could be setting a very dangerous precedent, meaning he might expect a feast every time I leave town. Could be, but it was fun for now! And without further adieu…
Here’s the recipe:
- One brisket in whatever size you feel like is best. For this particular project, I chose a smaller one so we wouldn’t waste a lot. Other times, I have literally gotten the biggest one I could fit in the pan. It’s all in what you need for the occasion.
- Tip: When looking for the brisket of your dreams, bend the brisket. The more you are able to bend the package, the more tender the finished product will be.
- 1 small bottle of unseasoned meat tenderizer powder
- 2 bottles of Claude’s Barbecue Brisket Marinade Sauce
- As mentioned above, you are welcome to use a different marinade at your own risk… This one is the best!
- Two large foil disposable roasting pans (you want these doubled up to handle the job they have to do!)
- Aluminum foil to line in the pan
As mentioned, this recipe takes a little planning. This is a little timeline to help you count back to know when to cook it:
- Step 1: Marinating– 24 hours
- Step 2: Cooking– 10-12 hours
So, you want to start getting this ready at least 36 hours before you think you’ll want to eat it.
Double up your disposable pans and line them with a sheet of foil horizontally and vertically.
Unwrap your brisket and put it in the pans. This is just to give you an idea of what to look for in the grocery store. You definitely want it defrosted and as bendy as possible!
Once the brisket is in the pans, take a small knife and poke small holes all along the surface of both sides. This is the fatty side up, and I like to keep this side up while cooking so the meaty side is more submerged in the marinade.
Crack open the bottle of meat tenderizer and pour the entire bottle over both sides of the meat. I’m not kidding, the whole bottle. And this will seem slightly excessive, but trust me. Dump the whole thing.
Once you have tenderized, shake both bottles of Claude’s really well, and pour them both in the pans with the brisket. Typically one and a half bottles is probably enough for a brisket this size, but I didn’t want to be stuck with a half used bottle, so I went all in. And take a deep inhale of this. Claude’s just smells beyond delicious.
Fold the edges of the foil lining the pans over the brisket, and then cover the top with another sheet of foil. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Remove the brisket from refrigerator (being VERY careful not to slosh any marinade out of the pans– trust me!) and put in the oven. Bake for 10-12 hours. Meat should be tender and pull apart easily when ready.
As mentioned, I cooked this overnight while we were sleeping, but you could also do this during the day if you are feeling brave 😉
And THAT’S IT!! As mentioned, obscene amount of time management and planning, combined with very little work and maintenance. And of course, with the added bonus of being super delicious!
As always, follow on Instagram at @saltcreekwife and check back on the blog for more recipes!