All About Beef: Brisket!

Beef brisket is the cut made into corned beef and cooked with cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day. A boneless roast from the breast of the cow, and layered with ligaments, beef brisket is most commonly used for pot roast or stews.
Beef Brisket

Also indexed as: Corned Beef

Long cooking produces tantalizing aromas as the beef simmers in a seasoned broth.

  • Varieties
  • Buying and storing
  • Availability
  • Preparation tips
  • Nutritional highlights

Beef brisket is the cut made into corned beef and cooked with cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day. A boneless roast from the breast of the cow, and layered with ligaments, beef brisket is most commonly used for pot roast or stews. Brisket pot roast is good, old-fashioned comfort food. Long cooking produces tantalizing aromas as the beef simmers in a seasoned broth and develops, a rich, mellow beef flavor. It makes an easy-to-fix smash hit for fall and winter family dinners.

Varieties

Whole Brisket
This is the entire triangular-shaped muscle from the breast of the cow.

Flat Half
Also called flat cut, first cut, or thin cut, the flat half is considered the better half of the brisket.

Point Half
Also called thick half, this is the thicker half of the brisket.

Corned Beef
Corned beef is beef brisket that has been salt-cured to give it a special, tangy taste. It's called corned beef because the Irish practice was to cure it with corn-sized grains of salt. Today, producers inject the brisket with a seasoned saline solution.

Buying And Storing Tips

Look for beef brisket that has a clear, red color. Beef normally has a purplish-red color but takes on a cherry-red hue, known as the "bloom," when exposed to oxygen. While the exterior is bright red, the interior of the meat will retain this darker color. Vacuum-packed beef also shows this purplish color.

Packaged beef brisket should be cold and free of punctures or tears; vacuum-packed beef should have its seal intact. The beef should be firm to the touch. Check the "sell-by" date and buy on or before that date.

Leave beef brisket in its original packaging and place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator, where it will keep 3 to 4 days. For longer storage, wrap the meat in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer bags. Beef brisket will keep 6 to 12 months in the freezer. Defrost the meat in the refrigerator, allowing 4 to 7 hours per pound for thick roasts, 3 to 5 hours per pound for thin cuts. Cook as soon as possible after defrosting.

Availability

Beef brisket is commonly available in grocery stores. Corned beef is available around Saint Patrick's Day, in mid-March.

Preparation, Uses, & Tips

To braise, heat oil in a heavy pan and brown the brisket on both sides, if desired. Add liquid and seasonings and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the brisket is fork-tender, 2 to 3 hours. This preparation is also called "boiled beef."

To braise corned beef, trim off any excess fat, place the corned beef in a heavy pot, and add cold water. Simmer until the meat is firm but tender, 2 to 3 hours.

To bake, rub the brisket with salt and spices, place it in a roasting pan, cover, and bake at 325°F (163°C) until fork-tender, 3 to 4 hours.

To microwave, cover the brisket with liquid and seasonings and cook 6 to 8 minutes on High, then continue to cook on Medium for a total of 50 to 55 minutes or until the meat is fork-tender.

Nutritional Highlights

Beef brisket (fat trimmed to 1/4 inch [0.6cm], braised), 3oz. (85.05g)
Calories: 309.4
Protein: 21.3g
Carbohydrate: 0.0g
Total Fat: 24.2g
Fiber: 0.0g

Corned beef brisket (cooked), 3 oz. (85.05g)
Calories: 213.3
Protein: 15.4g
Carbohydrate: 0.3g
Total Fat: 16.1g
Fiber: 0.0g

*Foods that are an "excellent source" of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a "good source" of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.

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