David experiments with new formulations while working as a chemist, and he experiments with new recipes while at home in his kitchen.
Recently, it was Saint Patrick's day here in Ireland and around the world. So as a salute to our national holiday, I thought it was a good idea to make an Irish style pulled beef brisket with Guinness. I know right, Guinness, how patriotic! Saint Patrick will be salivating up there in Heaven.
Guinness is awesome by itself, but even more awesome in cooking. It adds a great bit of body, flavour and depth to food, sauces and stews. I'm sure you have all heard of beef and Guinness stew right? As mentioned, Guinness is used in this recipe, however if you are unlucky and can't get your hands on the black stuff, don't fear, you may use any other stout that is available. Murphy's, O'Hara's and Beamish are good alternatives to Guinness, among many others.
A bone in beef brisket is used in this recipe and this is purely for flavour. My butcher, being ever so kind, did offer to remove the bones but I chose not to. The bones add some extra flavour and depth to the meat and the sauce and they can easily be removed after cooking. The brisket also contained a good amount of fat, which wasn't removed before cooking, as this also helps to boost the flavour. Again, most of this fat is removed when cooking is complete. I mean, who wants to chew on fat! I also need to think of the waistline. If you cannot find a bone in brisket, it is perfectly fine to use a de-boned cut. It's also okay to use a brisket with less fat if you wish, as most of this fat is removed anyways after cooking.
Brisket is quite a tough piece of meat if not cooked right. To make it succulent, it is best to cook for as long as possible on a low heat. The slow cooking process helps to break down the muscle fibers, which makes the meat tender. Eight hours is a good amount of time, but if you are in a hurry, you could also cook for four hours on a high heat. Thankfully, this can be done using the humble slow cooker, one of the best inventions since sliced bread.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
8 hours 20 min
- 1.2 to 1.8 kg beef brisket, bone in if available
- 500 ml can Guinness or other stout
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/6 cup honey)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Sprig of fresh thyme (optional)
1) Turn the slow cooker on low heat and leave it to heat up slightly.
2) Pour the Guinness into the slow cooker and add the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
3) Stir the mixture until all ingredients, especially the sugar, are dissolved.
4) Place the beef brisket into the slow cooker with a sprig of thyme and pour some of the sauce over the brisket.
5) Cover with lid and cook the beef brisket for 8 hours on a low heat. If possible, flip the beef over half way through cooking.
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6) When cooking is complete, a layer of fat/oil may be present on the surface of the sauce. Using a ladle, remove as much of this fat/oil as possible.
7) When fat is removed, pour the Guinness sauce into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. This sauce will be reduced.
8) If you had a bone in brisket then remove all of the bone. Remove as much of the fat as possible.
9) Shred the beef brisket using a knife. It is best to do this while securing the beef in place with another knife. Shred the brisket lengthways along the muscle fibres for best results.
10) Reduce the Guinness sauce in the heavy bottomed sauce pan on a high heat. Reduce to approximately 1/3 of the original volume of liquid.
11) Pour most of the reduced sauce over the shredded beef brisket and incorporate fully.
12) Place the pulled beef in toasted buns and pour the remainder of the sauce over the brisket.
13) Other than in buns, the pulled beef brisket may be enjoyed in wraps, salads, burritos or even by itself.
14) Finally, eat and enjoy!
© 2018 David Branagan