I've gone way out of my comfort zone on this one, guys! But that's what really living life is all about, right?! Anyway, judging from the comments of my own personal home judges, which were a little hard to understand because of their full mouths, I'm declaring this zingy tender brisket an off-the charts hit!!
As usual, there's a story behind this. A couple of weeks ago, we ate at an amazing barbecue place which served spicy smoked, "Burnt Ends"--the very flavorful end pieces cut from the point half of a whole brisket. Despite the fact that we all drank about 100 cups of water, all of us really enjoyed the sweet/spiciness of the brisket and that got me thinking. I've made brisket a handful of times but never a spicy barbecued one, and according to my family, it was high time that I did, so I hunted through my recipes, found one that looked good and the rest is history.
Making this is very easy, but does take some advance prep work, so no thinking you can start this on a Sunday at 4:00 p.m. for dinner that night!! The meat sits overnight in a dry rub, made up of paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, brown sugar and cayenne pepper as well as a liquid mixture of more brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar--this brisket is well-seasoned, I tell you!
But what really separates this from the rest is the homemade Maple Chipotle barbecue sauce. It's sweet, smoky and fiery, full of good things like crushed tomatoes, maple syrup, garlic and chipotle peppers to name a few.
I've also never seared a brisket on the grill before, but that's what is called for here and it's quite easy to do.
After that, you do nothing more than place the whole thing into a large Dutch oven along with the homemade barbecue sauce and a cup of beer and cook it for several hours, until it's fall-apart tender.
This would be great for any upcoming Labor Day parties you might be hosting, since you can make the whole thing ahead and enjoy an "unlabored" Labor Day!!
Maple Chipotle Barbecued Brisket
Serves 6-8 people
This makes extra dry rub and barbecue sauce, both of which you can keep for a long time. If you don't want to, cut the ingredients for the dry rub and the sauce in half and you'll still have plenty. But the rub and the sauce taste great on chicken too and if you're going to the effort anyway, it's nice to have on hand. Plus, you can make the rub and the sauce far in advance to have all ready.
Prep Time: 10 minutes to make dry rub--overnight for marinating, 15 minutes, plus 35 minutes for marinade; Cook Time: 3 1/2- 4 hours, including searing on BBQ.
For the dry rub
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 or 3 shakes of cayenne pepper
For the Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced (use less if you don't want this too spicy)
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 apple juice
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
For the Brisket
- 3 1/2-4 pounds beef brisket, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons dry rub
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- 1 cup beer
1. To make the dry rub: Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and stir or place them all in a small mason jar and shake well. The dry rub will keep for 6 months kept in a cool dry place at room temperature. Set aside.
2. To make the barbecue sauce: Place all the ingredients in a large pot and stir well to mix. Over medium-high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 30-35 minutes, until it's thickened and reduced by at least a quarter. Allow to cool to room temperature and set aside or make up to 2 weeks in advance and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
3. To make the brisket: I used 2 pieces of meat to add up to about 4 pounds, but if you buy one large piece, you may want to cut it in half for ease. Sprinkle the meat on both sides with the dry rub and rub it into the meat a bit. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Place the meat into a large resealable bag (or 2 if necessary) and pour the mixture over it. Seal the bag and turn to coat the meat evenly. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
4. The following day, preheat the oven to 350ºF and preheat the barbecue grill as well.
5. Remove the meat from the bag, reserving the liquid in bag and place the meat over a very hot fire, just to sear it on the outside, 4-6 minutes per side. Then, place the seared brisket into a large Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole with a lid and pour the marinade in the bag over it. In a small bowl, stir together the 1 cup of barbecue sauce and the beer. Pour that over the meat too. Turn the brisket in the pot several times, so that it's evenly coated with the liquids. Cover the pot and cook the brisket in the oven for 3-3 1/2 hours, until it's fall apart tender, when you pull at it with a fork. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.
6. Slice the meat thinly--it will fall apart a lot--that's ok, means it's very tender. Serve with additional barbecue sauce heated up, if you like and plenty of water--this is pretty spicy folks!!
7. Leftovers last several days stored in an airtight container in the fridge and make wonderful sandwiches.
Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I tinkered with some of the measurements like the chili powder and pepper.