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How to Brown a Brisket

by Mark S. Baker

Beef brisket is a tough, yet flavorful cut of meat that comes from the lower part of the cow's chest between chuck and shank and forward of the plate. The brisket is lightly marbled with fat and usually has a thick fat cap on the top. Brisket is usually cooked at low temperatures for a long period of time, such as in a slow cooker or a smoker grill. However, sometimes it may be necessary to sear the brisket to add some color to the meat. This can be done a couple of different ways, including pan searing and broiling.

Pan-searing Method

Remove the excess fat from the brisket using a sharp knife. Leave about 1/4 inch of fat on the top layer, called the fat cap.

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to coat the surface of the skillet. Place the brisket into the skillet once the oil begins to shimmer and wisps of smoke come off the surface of the skillet. Lay the meat into the pan away from you to avoid getting splashed by hot oil.

Brown the brisket for about 5 minutes or until a crust forms. Use a pair of tongs to turn the brisket. Again, lay the meat into the pan away from you.

Brown the brisket for 5 minutes. Use the tongs to brown the edges of the meat, about 2 to 3 minutes per end.

Broiling Method

Prepare the meat as in step 1 of the pan-searing method. Preheat the broiler in the oven on high. Move the top rack to 2 inches below the heating element..

Pour a small amount of vegetable oil into your hands and coat the surface of the beef brisket.

Place the beef brisket on a broiler pan and place in the oven. Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes or until a crust appears on the surface of the brisket.

Remove the broiler pan from the oven and turn the brisket using tongs. Place the broiler pan back into the oven and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes.

Items you will need
  • Beef brisket
  • Knife
  • Large skillet
  • Vegetable oil
  • Tongs
  • Broiler pan

Photo Credits

  • Tom Pennington/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images