Smoky braised brisket

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

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:3 hrs 45 mins
    plus at least 1 hr marinating
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 552
  • fat 34g
  • saturates 16g
  • carbs 18g
  • sugars 13g
  • fibre 4g
  • protein 42g
  • salt 4.5g


  • 800g-1kg brisket, boneless
  • 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 dried chipotle chilli
  • 1 tbsp beef dripping or neutral oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 800ml good beef stock
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • 100g soured cream or crème fraîche
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • jacket potatoes
  • buttered kale


  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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