Brisket roasts are one of the most beloved roasts and the ways to prepare them are as varied as the people who make them. Some swear by a simple salt-and-pepper rub before placing the roast into the oven, while others believe that rich, heavy sauces add more flavor and texture than meat alone can provide. However, one technique is common among cooks and chefs alike -- searing. The original idea behind this is that searing seals the meat, allowing the roast to retain as much moisture as possible. While some call that a null argument, caramelizing the outside of the meat through searing creates a beautiful texture and taste that is worth the extra 10 to 15 minutes effort.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Move the baking rack to the middle setting. Coat the brisket with desired herbs, spices and oil but not coat in any sauce your recipe calls for. Place in the roasting pan, fat-side down.
Insert the brisket into the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes at 500 degrees F, turning the meat two to three times to ensure that it sears evenly. Cook until the brisket is a golden to dark brown all over.
Remove the roast and reduce the temperature of the oven to the temperature called for in your recipe. Dress the roast as desired, adding liquid to the bottom of the pan and additional sauces and vegetables, as called for in the recipe, and insert the roast back into the oven.
Season the roast with desired herbs and spices, or leave plain. Coat the roasting pan with vegetable oil. Set on two burners and turn to medium-high heat.
Test the pan to see if it is ready by flicking a water drop onto the bottom. If it sizzles, the pan is ready for the brisket. Place the prepared brisket in the pan, fat-side down first.
Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning the brisket continuously, until it is a medium to deep brown color all over.
Remove from heat. In the pan, add the rest of the ingredients the recipe calls for, scraping up all meat that has been caramelized to add more flavor. Continue to cook according to the recipe.
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Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.