A meal worth making a family tradition…
- 1 large “first cut” brisket, (between 7-8 pounds)
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Flavorless vegetable oil, as needed
- 3 ¼ cups de-fatted Beef Stock (preferably homemade), or low-sodium canned beef broth
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce (preferably The Best Barbecue Sauce)
- 1 very large Spanish onion, cut into thin strips
- 8 cups peeled and cut-up carrots (cut into 2-inch lengths)
- 8 very large peeled new potatoes (or use 16 medium)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour
- Applesauce for accompaniment
To season and sear the brisket
Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat a 14-inch skillet, over high heat, with just enough vegetable oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan. While the oil is heating, season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper and rub the seasonings into the meat. Sear the meat, fat side down, until golden, then turn the meat over and sear on the other side.
To assemble the meat and vegetables and braise
While the meat is searing, whisk together the stock and barbecue sauce. Ladle a shallow layer of sauce onto the bottom of a heavy-bottomed, 8-quart Dutch oven (that comes with a tight-fitting lid) and scatter some of the onions on top of the sauce. Place the seared meat on top of the onions, fat-side-up, and place the cut up carrots and potatoes around the meat. Place the remaining onions to top of the meat and then pour the beef-stock mixture over the top. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 4 hours, without disturbing.
To separate meat and vegetables
Remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Ladle a bit of the sauce onto the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch, oven-to-table baking dish and place the potatoes and carrots into an oven-to-table baking dish with some of the sauce ladled (it’s OK to let some of the onions cling to the vegetables). Let the meat settle in the hot sauce for an hour or so then transfer the meat to a cutting board and allow to cool a bit more, which will help facilitate slicing. Using a sharp carving knife, slice the meat across the grain into ½-inch thick slices. Let the meat sit on the carving board while you finish the sauce.
To finish the sauce
Heat the butter in a 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat and, when bubbling, stir in the flour. Whisk the flour/butter mixture as it bubbles, for a minute or two, just to get rid of any raw flour taste. Stir in the sauce (from the pot) with the onions and bring this to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook the sauce, uncovered, as it thickens. Simmer for 5 more minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
To arrange the meat and vegetables with sauce
Ladle some of the sauce onto another 9 x 13-oven to table baking dish and lay the slices neatly in the dish. Ladle more sauce and onions over and around the slices. Ladle some sauce and onions over and around the vegetables, saving enough sauce to reheat and serve separately at the table. Cover both dishes with aluminum foil (if you have nonstick foil, use this for the dish containing the vegetables or grease the foil with olive oil to keep the foil from sticking).
To reheat the meat and vegetables and serve
Preheat the oven to 350F. Reheat the meat and vegetables until piping hot, about 35, if at room temperature and longer, if chilled. While the meat and vegetables are reheating, bring the extra sauce and onions to a simmer. Serve everything very hot with freshly made applesauce.