Unless you live in Texas, you might not have too much experience with the cut of beef known as brisket, but May 28 is a fine day to change that. Brisket is good for so much more than just barbecue or corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. It comes from the breast area, and is separated into point cuts and flat cuts. Both have their uses. The point cut is fatty, and full of connective tissue, which makes it a great candidate for braising or smoking. It’s also full of flavor. The flat cut is no less flavorful, but can be much leaner, meaning that it requires a different preparation. Whatever your preference, grab some brisket and celebrate!
National Brisket Day Activities
1. Get some smoke in your eyes
Smoking a whole brisket is a fun cooking project. It calls for the low-and-slow treatment, so you want to keep the temperature of your smoker no higher than 250 degrees, and aim for about an hour and a quarter per pound of meat. Start with a dry rub, and finish with a Texas-style sauce, some crusty rolls or roasted potatoes, and plenty of beer. According to one of the top Austin PR Firms, Austin barbecue restaurants go through an average of 3,000 pounds of brisket every week!
2. Corn your own beef
Sure, you could buy some packaged corn beef straight from the grocery store. Yet corning your own beef is easy, tastier than the commercial varieties, and available all year ‘round. It’s not dissimilar to pickling, so find a big pot and clear out space in your refrigerator — the brisket needs to be brined for about five days.
3. Make leftovers on purpose
One of the best things about brisket? All the delicious ways to eat the leftovers! Cowboy nachos, enchiladas, Italian-beef sandwiches, chili, even brisket grilled cheese. If you’ve made a corned beef, be sure to save some for hash. A smoked brisket, sans BBQ sauce, will work in most recipes. Or simply pop the raw brisket into your slow cooker early in the morning, and come dinnertime, it will be tender and ready to shred.
Why We Love National Brisket Day
A. Brisket is a relatively healthy cut of meat
That is, if you choose the flat cut (rather than the point cut, which is an equally delicious but less lean portion of meat). A serving of beef brisket contains a whopping 28 grams of protein (55% of the daily recommendation for a healthy adult), is a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, and falls below the FDA suggestion for fat content. So get your fork ready.
B. Brisket is a very versatile cut
In addition to the aforementioned applications, brisket is also perfect for the slow cooker, the oven, or the smoker. Once cooked, you can slice the meat to serve with gravy, or shred it to make excellent sandwiches, tacos or burritos. Brisket is also commonly used in the Vietnamese staple pho.
C. It forms the basis for pastrami
Brisket has long been associated with Jewish cuisine, particularly when prepared pot-roast style and served on holidays like Passover and Rosh Hashanah. Yet its most famous incarnation is probably the classic NY-style deli meat that tastes so damn good when slapped between rye slices and slathered with mustard.