Gochujang Braised Brisket proves that this cut of beef isn’t just for the grill. Fork-tender, juicy and packed with amazing flavor, it’s a home run recipe.
I know folks in Texas are going to take issue with this statement (yes, Adam, I’m talking about you), but I gotta say it; I don’t get the hype about brisket. I find it to be a really bland cut of meat that has to cook for hours … and hours … and hours to be any level of edible.
And yet, there it is at every grilling competition, paraded around in all its lack of glory, requiring copious amounts of rubs and sauces to give it any hope of being in the running at the judge’s table. I don’t get it.
The only way I’ve been able to eat brisket is when it’s transformed into corned beef, sliced, and placed between two slices of rye bread along with thousand island dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. Ah, my beloved Reuben.
But, I believe in second (third, and fourth) chances. That’s why, while I was at the grocery store, I slid a good sized brisket in my cart, along with some carrots, beef broth and a little bottle of a Korean condiment.
I’ll admit that if this hadn’t looked like a simple process, I probably wouldn’t have bothered making the dish since while I figured the sauce would be amazing, I wasn’t so sure about the meat itself.
I began by seasoning the brisket with salt and pepper, then browning it in a large Dutch oven. I let it rest on a plate while I added the carrots, onion and garlic to the pot and sautéed them for a few minutes. I plopped in the hone and 2 tablespoons of the gochujang, stirred it to coat my vegetables, then poured in the broth, fish and soy sauces.
My meat went back in the pot, I brought the liquid to a boil, then slid the Dutch oven into the hot oven and walked away for three hours. (No, I didn’t go back every so often and spoon the braising liquid over the brisket. It was totally submerged so there was no need.)
After three hours, I took the pot out of the oven, removed the cover and let everything cool. I put the meat on the cutting board and sliced it.
Here, I deviated from the instructions. The meat was so tender that I knew if I put it back in the pot, it would fall apart. So, instead, I reheated the sauce on the stove and put the brisket in the microwave for a few minutes.
I also decided that I really wanted to make use of the braising liquid, so I strained some of it into a small saucepan and heated it to a simmer. While that was happening, I whisked two tablespoons of flour into a quarter cup of the braising liquid, then added it to the saucepan, whisking until the sauce thickened somewhat. I served that with the meal.
Holy cow, this was good. I mean, really good. When sliced, the brisket is fork-tender. So are the carrots. In fact, they were almost too soft. Next time I won’t ‘cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften.’ They soften plenty during the three hours in the oven.
The sauce is the heavenly part. It’s delicious. I only used two tablespoons of the gochujang because the instructions made me a little nervous about the heat levels (they call for 2-4 tablespoons, ‘depending on your heat preference’. Next time, I’ll up the amount to three tablespoons because there wasn’t any heat at all.
There will be a next time. If my grocery store doesn’t carry brisket now that St. Patrick’s day is over, I’ll just use another cut of meat that stands up to long, slow cooking, like a chuck roast. This is really, really good.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d use three tablespoons of gochujang instead of two. I’d create the sauce from the braising liquid again by whisking two tablespoons of flour into a quarter cup of the cooled braising liquid, then adding it to strained braising liquid in a saucepan, whisking until thickened. I’d also heat the sliced brisket in the microwave instead of putting it back in the pot so it doesn’t fall apart.
Beef brisket: $26.97
Beef broth: $4.38
Fish sauce: $3.99
Soy sauce: $2.29
Gochujang Braised Brisket Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 3-lb. piece beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 8 medium carrots (1 lb.), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges, stem ends left intact
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 8 cups beef broth
- 2 - 4 teaspoons gochujang (Korean fermented chile paste)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Heat oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high. Season the brisket with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the brisket to the Dutch oven and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
- Add the carrots, onion, garlic, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, adding up to ¼ broth if necessary to prevent brown bits on pan from burning, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the broth, gochujang, honey, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and stir to combine.
- Add brisket to pot and bring to a boil; cover and transfer to oven. Cook, checking every hour and spooning braising liquid over top, until the brisket is tender, 3 to 3½ hours. Let brisket cool in sauce in uncovered pot. Serve brisket with sauce and mashed potatoes, in tacos topped with kimchi, or in sliders with mayonnaise and pickles.