The February issue of Bon Appétit magazine features a story about the “vibrant restaurant community” around the Carolina region authored by the Lee Brothers. One of the chefs in the regional who’s who is Ed Lee, the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY. His fame comes via Top Chef, where he was unjustly eliminated from the competition partly based on a Texas-style barbeque brisket that he pre-sliced before service. This is obviously a no-no in the barbecue world and he paid for it by losing the challenge. Personally, I thought he would go far. He had the talent, the creativity, the humor and the looks of a Colonel Sanders meets an Asian Burt Reynolds that I thought would sweep-up America. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.
With the competition now over, it’s fitting that I recreate one of Ed’s brisket recipes, to pay homage to the regional master. I don’t know if this recipe is considered traditional southern, but the braising liquid includes a mix of bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and a dark stout among other ingredients. It works well. It’s a complex flavor and by complex I mean, my wife tasted it and sputtered, “interesting”. But interesting it is not. It’s more fascinating and addictive when served with the fork-tender brisket. And not forgetting the sweet peach glaze, this turned out to be one of the best braised meals I have ever prepared.
Thanks, Ed. This is a new classic.
Note: I doubled if not tripled these ingredients as I did not find this to be enough to cover the entire brisket.
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 4-lb. trimmed flat-cut brisket with about 1/3” top layer of fat
- 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 12-oz.bottle stout
- ¾ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 6 large sprigs thyme
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, cored chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup peach jam or preserves
- 2 tsp. bourbon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl
- Rub brisket all over with spice rub. Cover and chill for at least two hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for one hour before continuing.
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large wide pot (I used a dutch oven) over high heat. Add brisket fat side down. Cook undisturbed until well browned, 5-6 minutes. Turn brisket over and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs and perhaps a spatula, transfer to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add broth and all remaining ingredients. Bring liquid to a simmer. Return brisket to pot. Cover and transfer to oven.
- Braise until brisket is very tender to the touch but still holds its shape, about 4 ½ hours. Using a large spatula, transfer brisket fat side up to a large plate.
- Strain braising liquid into a large bowl. Return liquid to pot and bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes.
- Score fat side of brisket by cutting a cross hatch pattern of ¼”-deep slits spaced ½” apart. Return brisket fat side up to pot with reduced braising liquid.
- Transfer ¼ cup braising liquid to a blender. Add jam and bourbon and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat broiler. Spread 3-4 Tbsp. glaze on top of brisket with the back of a spoon. Broil brisket in pot until browned and glazed, watching carefully to prevent burning, 4-5 minutes.
- Transfer brisket to cutting board. Slice against the grain and transfer to a large platter. Drizzle with braising liquid. Slather remaining glaze on top.