When I asked Steve at Prather Ranch Meat Co for a piece of meat to braise, he immediately led me to a brisket. I wasn't thrilled with the idea. I've had lots of nasty boiled briskets with boiled vegetables, but Steve insisted a brisket could be a thing of beauty. I decided to go along with him.
Late one night, it dawned on me I hadn't cooked the brisket, so I sent out an S.O.S. to one of my online food forums and decided to give the brisket a slow, overnight braise. I would have used the electric slow cooker (Crock Pot) but the brisket was too large.
Rancho Gordo Brisket
1 large brisket, trimmed of excess fat
3 small onions
5 cloves garlic
2 ounces Rancho Gordo New Mexican Chile Powder
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
In a large pot or casserole, add the brisket, fat side down.
Slice the onions and surround the meat. Squash and peel the garlic and add to the pot.
Mix the chile powder, oregano, vinegar, water and salt together and then pour over the meat. It should be barely submerged. Add more liquid if needed.
Heat the oven to 375F and when heated, add the pot uncovered. Immediately lower the heat to 225F. Allow to cook for several hours.
Turn the meat over in the pot.
Cook for several more hours until the meat can be broken up with a fork.
Remove the pot from the oven and remove the meat. When cool enough to handle, scrape any leftover fat and discard. Strain the cooking liquid and then chill until the fat hardens and can be removed (overnight is best.) Gently reheat the meat with the sauce and serve with raw onions and lime wedges.
I put the casserole in the oven at about 11 p.m. and then woke up at 2:30 a.m., almost overwhelmed by the aroma. I went in to check on the meat, fearing that maybe I should have left the top on to avoid too much evaporation, but there was plenty of liquid left. I flipped the meat and then went back to bed. In the morning, the whole thing was perfection.
Breakfast? Brisket tacos, with queso fresco and cilantro, of course!
I've said it before, but I prefer to cook with chiles rather than the powder, but I have to humbly admit, our chile powder is killer and especially with something that cooks as long as this, there is none of that chile powder graininess than can mar a chile colorado or chili con carne. I thought
later that I could have added some tomatoes and cumin, but this is a beautiful pure chile and pure meat flavor experience and I'm glad I didn't.