Beef Brisket with Smithwick’s Irish Ale

With the spirit of St Patty’s Day in mind, I created this Beef Brisket recipe. Beef Brisket is becoming a more popular cut of beef. There is a mystique that keeps some of us from venturing into this world of brisket. The options are overwhelming. The Texas Style Brisket cooked in a smoker over wood chips; the slow cooker which can cook it low and slow; the oven which can speed up the process. That’s only the beginning. How do you season it? Do you braise it? Do you add a sauce?

I had the wonderful opportunity a few years ago to attend the Culinary Institute of America’s Boot Camp on Grilling in San Antonio, TX. We grilled everything! Steaks the size of Texas, Whole Fish, Fruit, Vegetables, and of course, Beef Brisket. The entire class was so excited the day we were going to learn to grill beef brisket (in addition to the 20 other dishes we were grilling that day). Our very talented (Grill Master) teacher, Chef Brian West, arrived on campus at 5 am to get the smoker going. The rest of us, arrived at 6:30 am. He had the smoker going, creating the perfect 225 degrees. A whole brisket rubbed with Texas style seasonings went in to go through its 8-10 hours of cooking. This process created the perfect bark (a crusted exterior) with incredibly moist, mouth watering, meat inside.

I’ve applied techniques I learned and recreated many items we grilled. But the brisket – I just couldn’t imagine recreating this masterpiece in my Weber Gas Grill, grilling for 8 to 10 hours. So, I took what I learned, and adapted it to Northern Michigan cooking in March. I wanted to get as close as I could to having a bark so I chose to use my oven over using a slow cooker. I created a Texas style rub which includes chili powder, paprika & sugar. I laid the brisket over thick slices of onion. I cooked it at a higher heat uncovered to create the crust. Then, finished by braising in beer, covered, at a lower temperature.

What you serve with your brisket can be as vast as the techniques on how to cook it. This recipe can be adapted to serving it on sandwiches, with those gorgeous roasted onions. Or, it can be a full meal. By adding chunks of boiling potatoes, carrots and rutabaga, 1 ½ hours before the cooking time is finished. Other great compliments are whipped potatoes, buttered noodles or macaroni &
cheese. Whether you’re doing sandwiches or a meal, nothing goes better with Beef Brisket than Barbeque Sauce.

The Beef Brisket
A whole brisket usually weighs 7-8 pounds. Most recipes call for a 3-4 lb brisket, a little more manageable size. This is a tough cut and needs slow cooking to breakdown the connective tissues, which creates a tender cooked piece of beef. It comes from the side of cow. When a cow lies down, its resting most of it’s weight on this cut. When purchasing brisket, make sure you find USDA Choice Grade brisket. Choice brisket has a higher percentage of fat. Lesser grades will be tougher no matter how long you cook them. There are two cuts to the brisket, flat cut (aka first cut) & point cut. Different recipes recommend one cut over the other. They will cook the same and both take the same amount of time to cook. The flat cut is thinner with less fat on it making it appear more appealing. The thicker point cut has more fat which isn’t a bad thing when cooking this tougher piece of meat. If you’re using the point cut, have your butcher trim the fat to about 1/3 inch.

Beef Brisket with Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Course Main Dish
Servings 6 people


The Beef Brisket

  • 3 1/2 - 4 lb Beef Brisket trimmed to 1/3 inch fat
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tbl Sugar
  • 2 tbl Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbl Cumin
  • 2 tbl Chili Powder
  • 1 tbl Coarse Ground Pepper
  • 2 tsp Salt

Cooking Your Beef Brisket

  • 1 inch large Onion cut into ½ slices
  • 2 bottles Smithwick’s Irish Ale or a beer of your liking

Beef Brisket with Root Vegetables

  • 1 lb Boiling Potatoes cut into chunks
  • 1 Rutabaga peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 lb Carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 tbs Fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 cups Beef Stock


The Brisket

  • The night before, rub brisket with Texas Rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You may have more rub than you need. Save it for next time or it’s great on Baby Back Ribs.

Cooking The Brisket

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a roasting pan, set brisket on top of onion slices. Cook for 45 minutes uncovered.
  • Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Add the beer and cover tightly with foil. Continue cooking for 3 hours. Let the brisket rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Brisket with Root Vegetables

  • After the brisket has cooked covered for 1 1/2 hours, add the vegetables, parsley and beef stock. Cover tightly and continue cooking for the last hour and a half. When it’s finished, strain the fat off the liquid and serve the sauce drizzled over the brisket and veggies. Let the brisket rest for 30 minutes before slicing.