A Splash Of Beer Will Take Braised Brisket Up A Level

Any brisket braiser will tell you how beautiful a thing it is from the meat's striking blackening and tender texture, right down to its rich flavors. However, you'll find a common feature in only the best-braised brisket recipes. A catalyst for deep roasted flavors and an impressive dark bark is none other than beer.

Beers are the big guns of braising, which is a slow cooking method that involves simmering the meat in liquid. Think of the meat as self-basting. The beef should be infused with flavors from the liquid and browned to perfection by the end of the cooking. However, with beer in the mix, the taste is increased tenfold. It adds depths of flavors that especially highlight the beef's essence.

To elevate your braised brisket, simply add a splash of beer to the braising liquid and bring it to a simmer. As the beef roasts slowly, it becomes infused with aromas from the beer and the beer's acidity tenderizes the beef until its connective tissues begin to break down. The resulting beef is tender, comes apart effortlessly, and harbors deep, earthy flavors that testify to the slow brew of beer-based aromas.

The best beers for braising brisket

Full-bodied beers are the best to use for brawny meats like beef. So dark beers like stouts, porters, and doppelbocks would be ideal. A beer such as stout adds bold, roasted malt flavors that reduce to nutty notes once the meat has cooked down. Porter beer shares a similar flavor profile, though often less robust than stout. If you use doppelbock, expect hints of caramel that impart a slight sweetness to the final brisket.

Milder beers are also suitable if they fall within your preference. In that case, a lager would be your best option. It'll contribute a bright sweetness that rounds the beef off with mellow flavors. Alternatively, ales work wonders for brisket, too. Added to the braising liquid it creates a fruity elixir that completes the brisket with balmy aromas. If you're unsure of which ale to use, get the rundown from our collection of the 40 most popular beers ranked from worst to best.

Ultimately, it comes down to preferences. If you like a slight sweetness to your meat, select a beer with caramel notes. If you like a smokey essence, select a smokey beer. Whatever the case, as long as you use beer to braise brisket, you're bound to introduce a new dimension of flavor to your meat. Keep some around for your braising liquid and you're always truly in for a treat.