For this recipe, you need about a 4 lb. beef brisket (and you cannot substitute corned beef brisket either). Visit your local butcher or call your supermarket (which is what I do) to order yours in advance if brisket is not readily available. The key to this dish is slow cooking.
It also calls for two cups of dark, brewed coffee. Forget Dunkin’ Donuts and forget supermarket brand coffees. For this recipe, you need Starbucks Gold Coast, Italian Roast or Sumatra. Nothing else will do.
1 4-lb. beef brisket
1 large Vidalia onion (coarsely cut)
8 cloves of garlic (cut into fourths)
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of coriander
2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. sambal oelek
2 bottles of Magic Hat No. 8 Beer
2 cups of malt or apple cider vinegar
2 cups of dark coffee
1 can of tomato puree
1 can of chopped tomatoes
A pasta pan is the right attitude for this dish. Place the olive oil, a handful of the onions and several hunks of garlic in the pan to get the process going. While things are heating up, make a rub with 1 tbsp. each of the cumin, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, and 1 tsp. of the salt. Rub each side of the brisket with a bit of olive oil and spread the rub over both sides.
Once the oil is fairly hot and you can smell the onions and garlic, place the brisket in the pan and brown nicely on both sides. Everything gets easier from here. Remove the brisket and add the beer, vinegar, brewed coffee, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes. Then add the balance of the spices (coriander, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper). Add the 2 tbsp. of sambal oelek, as well as the rest of the garlic and onions. Stir.
Place the brisket back in the liquid and allow it to come to a boil, then turn to low and allow it to cook for a minimum of six hours. It is important that you taste what you are cooking the brisket in and adjust the spices to your liking. There is no right and wrong here. Personally, I love garlic. Prior to browning my brisket, I actually poke holes in it and place additional cloves of garlic in the holes. It all depends upon what you like.
When done, it’s quite possible that the meat will be hard to cut. It may just fall apart. This is a good thing.
Drain the fat and oil off the remaining liquid and cook down to make a sauce. You can also add a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with water to hasten the process. It’s great to serve this dish with yellow rice, placing the beef on top and covering the entire thing with the sauce.
Even people who claim to “hate” beef will devour this dish.