Smoky braised brisket

Smoky braised brisket

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(6 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 45 mins plus at least 1 hr marinating


Serves 3 - 4

This cheap, flavourful cut of meat is perfect for the smoky flavours of American and South American barbecue, ideal comfort food for a cold winter’s night

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (4)

  • kcal552
  • fat34g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs18g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre4g
  • protein42g
  • salt4.5g


  • 800g-1kg brisket, boneless
  • 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar

For the spice mix

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

For the spicy gravy

  • 1 dried chipotle chilli
  • 1 tbsp beef dripping or neutral oil
  • 1 onion, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 carrot, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 1 lemon, zested



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 800ml good beef stock
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 1 tbsp honey



    Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…

For the soured cream

  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • 100g soured cream or crème fraîche
  • ½ lemon, juiced



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

To serve

  • jacket potatoes
  • buttered kale



    A member of the cabbage family, kale comes in two forms: kale, which has smooth leaves, and…


  1. Rub the brisket with the sugar and 1 tbsp sea salt and let sit for 5 mins. Mix the spices and 1 tbsp pepper, then rub all over the brisket. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hr, or preferably more.

  2. Take the meat out of the fridge 30 mins before cooking. Rehydrate the chipotle in hot water. Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Heat a heavy-bottomed flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat and add the dripping or oil. Brown the meat on all sides, then transfer to a plate.

  3. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the casserole and fry over a medium-high heat for 6-8 mins until aromatic, softened and starting to char and colour. Drain and chop the chipotle and add to the pot along with the brisket, star anise, lemon zest and stock. Bring the stock to a gentle simmer, then cover with a lid and put in the oven for 3 hrs or until tender.

  4. Remove the brisket from the casserole and wrap in foil to keep warm while you finish making the spicy gravy. Put the casserole on the hob over a high heat and reduce for about 20 mins until beginning to thicken. Stir the flour and butter into a paste and add to the casserole. Stir until the paste has dissolved and the sauce is smooth and pourable. Season with salt and honey until you’re happy with the flavour.

  5. Mix the chives and soured cream with a squeeze of lemon juice. Unwrap and slice the brisket and reheat the slices briefly in the warm gravy, then serve with crispy, salt-roasted jacket potatoes, buttered kale and the soured cream.

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Comments, questions and tips

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22nd Apr, 2017
I thought this was delicious, although I did wing it a bit on ingredients. Not surprisingly, the west of Scotland is also not big on dried chipotle chilli so I just used dried chilli flakes, and I just guessed a lot of the other quantities, but I found it a really nice way of cooking a piece of meat which is typically rather bland. I will be doing it again.
14th Apr, 2017
I also couldn't find dried chipotle chilli but bought the chipotle chili flakes instead. Bearing in mind how strong the usual crushed chillies/chili flakes are I used a large pinch and that seemed to be ok. As per the previous person I'm a bit nervous about adding any more next time in case it is inedible. A guide on how much to use would be handy given the lack of availability (it seems) of dried chipotle chilli. This recipe makes a lovely tasty sauce and apart from making sure you leave enough time for it to cook it is very easy and smells gorgeous as it is cooking!
16th Feb, 2017
Unfortunately, you can't get dried chipotle chillis in my neck of the woods (south west Bucks), but I did manage to get dried chipotle.chilli flakes. Well, I tried to estimate how many dried flakes would make up a dried chilli, but having no idea how big a chilli is, this was not very successful. Suffice it to say that once the meat was cooked I tried the gravy, and it nearly blew my head off, I didn't dare to reduce it further. So the meat was OK, but in the end I served it with a small amount of unreduced gravy and the vegetables, with a dollop of yogurt on top to reduce the heat. So OK, but disappointing. Disappointing that I wasn't able to get the chilli from shops round here - I'm talking about big supermarkets.
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