Making a venison brisket that won’t dry out.
We had this Nilgai brisket in the freezer all season. I was so hesitant to make it because you could see, even though it was frozen, that there was literally no fat on this hunk of meat. It was all bright red, no white anywhere to be found. So what the hell do you do with a fat free brisket? Typically, brisket has that thick layer of fat on it that melts down into the meat as you very slowly cook or smoke it. No fat = ????
The lack of fat made me entirely too scared to smoke the brisket, even though that’s probably what I should have done. I decided instead to brine it to keep it moist, and then braise it at a very low temperature for a very long time. This worked beautifully, just keep in mind it yielded results a little more like a pot roast than a brisket.
I was afraid this would happen, which is why I decided use sort of Moroccan inspired flavors, just to snazz it up a little bit. Pomegranate molasses is a wonderful, wonderful ingredient if you’ve never used it. You can find it at either a Middle Eastern market or a place like Whole Foods (usually). It’s basically just pomegranate juice reduced down to a syrup, and it’s tangy and delicious. If you really don’t want to buy another ingredient or drive all over town looking for it, feel free to use regular molasses. (But keep your eye out for it for the next time you’re at the fancy grocery store!)
You can certainly put potatoes or whatever vegetables you want in this recipe. Feel free to throw in more delicate veggies, like bell peppers or squash, the last 30 minutes or so, so they don’t get mushy.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3 carrots (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 cup beef broth (or other broth or water)
For the Brine
- 1 venison brisket (mine was probably between 3-4 pounds)
- 4l water (about a gallon, with one litre separated)
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 heaped tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seed (toasting is option - you can also use a scant T of ground)
- pepper to taste
|Heat one litre of water in a saucepan with the sugar and the salt. Warm until dissolved (bringing to a boil isn't necessary). Remove from heat and add the rest of the brine ingredients. Cool with a few ice cubes if necessary. Pour the brine into a large bowl and mix with the other 3 L of water. Make sure the the brine is cool or room temp, adding more ice cubes if needed. Add the meat and, depending on thickness, brine 4 hours to overnight. (Overnight if it's a big thick brisket; 4 hours if it's a thinner slab like mine was.)|
|Once you are done brining, pull the meat out and pat it dry with a paper towel. Preheat the oven to 300. In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot that's oven safe, heat the olive oil over medium high. Sear both sides of the brisket, about 3-4 minutes per side. Deglaze with the broth and drizzle a little more pomegranate molasses over it. Put the veggies on top of the meat, cover, and put in the oven for about 3 hours, or until nice and tender.|