Brisket Braised with Bourbon and Apricots


That’s what my boyfriend shouted across the room when he saw me lift up a piece of 7 hour braised brisket from the slow cooker. This is proper Sunday cooking: a big piece of cow, slung in a pot and allowed to cook down until the meat falls apart with so much as a sideways glance from hungry eyes.

I’ve been experimenting with brisket on the BBQ over the summer and I almost got it right – almost. It’s hard to achieve still-moist brisket complete with proper smoke ring on a small home BBQ but I’ll get there, next year. Now it’s all about the patient braising in my shiny new slow-cooking Crock Pot.

The 1.2 kg hunk of brisket sure did look cosy coddled in that pot with some home-made beef stock and a good slug of bourbon. I added dried apricots for sweetness, which plumped up and gradually broke down leaving little amber nuggets clinging to the meat. Man, was I proud when I served this up (and I don’t mind saying so myself); so rich and tender it made me want to give myself a  big ol’ pat on my smug-ass back.

After I’d finished with the patting, my thoughts turned to the leftovers. The Sandwich. A really generous portion of warmed brisket packed against coleslaw, sliced pickles, Frank’s Hot Sauce and French’s mustard. I think it’s fair to say I was in a state of mind approaching ecstasy when I sat down to consume this beautiful behemoth. She was big, she was messy and she was filthy in a good way. So worth the wait.

Seven-Hour Brisket Braised with Bourbon and Apricots (fed 2 people for 3 meals, generously)

1.195kg brisket (look, that’s what it weighed – I’m not taking the piss)
10 dried apricots
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled
A slosh of Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce, or chilli flakes)
2 bay leaves
150ml bourbon
About 400ml good quality beef stock (I made mine)

Put the brisket in the slow cooker and add the onion, garlic, Frank’s, bay leaves, apricots, bourbon and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add about half of the stock or whatever your slow cooker can take. I added half then topped it up halfway through cooking time.

Set the cooker to low and cook for seven hours, or until the meat is falling apart. As I say, you’ll need to top up with stock half way through (makes sure you warm it up first). When the meat is ready, remove it and shred it. Set aside.

In a saucepan over a high heat, reduce the sauce by about half then add the meat back into it. Serve with slaw and sourdough. Beans would also be nice. Make sure you save some for the sandwich. I mean that.

Category: Main Dishes, Meat | Tags: , , , , , , , 20 comments »

20 Responses to “Brisket Braised with Bourbon and Apricots”

  1. Ed

    Fantastic. The apricots are a great idea. Love your Southern BBQ stuff *sends virtual pat on back*

  2. Miss Cay

    MEAT SPAGHETTI! Amazing – and a perfect excuse to break out my slow cooker which has been languishing in the cupboard under the stairs during the Summer months. That sandwich looks pretty bloody spectacular too.

  3. Matt

    looks amazing helen! reminds me of the pitt cue co. where abouts do you get your brisket from in peckham?

  4. Helen

    I don’t. I bought it from William Rose in East Dulwich…

  5. Helen

    Yeah, bust out that slow cooker! I bet it’s all sad sitting in that cupboard by itself.

  6. Helen

    Ha ha, thanks!

  7. Gary @ The Greedy Fork

    I’m doing my weekly shop tomorrow. Brisket and bourbon will be on the list. I’ve got some prunes in the cupboard I could add to it too.

    May have to turn it into a pot roast, too. Will that work? I don’t have a slow cooker.

  8. Kavey

    Fucking HELL. This looks awesome. That is all.

  9. Helen

    I think so – only 1 way to find out! The key is to just make sure you cook it for ling enough so the meat falls apart.

  10. Anne

    I don’t have a slow cooker but am now thinking of buying one just to make this! Looks amazing.

  11. Lena_London

    *Drool*….. Coincidentally I also bought a slow cooker last week. Looking forward to more recipe inspiration from you! Currently got beef shin, veg & copious wine simmering away in mine, tomorrow’s dinner is going to be ace :)

  12. Tv Food And Drink

    WOW! Those sandwiches are going into my belly THIS WEEKEND. I’ve got a pork tenderloin frozen at home that I’m going to sub in. I can’t wait to make this. Thanks! Gary

  13. youngandfoodish

    Looks great and so straightforward. No browning of meat to fuss with. Do you think it’s advisable to rest the brisket before you shred it?

  14. Helen

    Hey Daniel, no I don’t think so because it’s not possible – the meat is so tender by this point it just literally falls apart when you remove it from the slow cooker! I did consider browning the meat first actually but in all honesty, forgot when it came to the cooking.

  15. youngandfoodish

    Now I want that sandwich so bad it hurts.

  16. Becs@Lay the table

    I was up for it until you said French’s mustard! There’s only one mustard allowed in this house and that’s Colman’s!! I do LOVE brisket though, but when you can smell it slow cooking all day it really makes you peckish.

  17. Helen

    Ha ha ha. French’s is a totally different beast – American style to go with the American style brisket. English mustard would be way too strong for this.

  18. robin wood

    Now that looks gorgeous, brisket has to be my favourite cut of beef…..well maybe after a rib roast but it’s close.

  19. Si

    Helen, I was trawling your site for Sunday inspiration and came across this – just wondering what sort of temperature you would stew this in the oven at, as I don’t own a slow cooker. I was just going to sling it in a 140 and hope for the best…

  20. Helen

    Hello! Sorry for slow reply. Yes that should do it.

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