I really enjoyed making a special Cranberry-Horseradish Holiday Brisket last year as a departure from the usual grilled bbq brisket. It was so well-received that I am doing it again!
My grandma had a big pomegranate tree in her backyard and we always had plenty of those delicious juicy garnet seeds this time of year. I want to infuse that flavor into the brisket this year using pomegranate molasses. If you are not familiar with pomegranate molasses, you need to be. Pomegranate juice is boiled down with a little sugar until it it is thick and syrupy, but retains the tartness of the pomegranate… the perfect sweet-tart combination.
The holiday gremolata adds a nice twist to the traditional Italian combination of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Substituting the lemon zest with orange and adding the pomegranate seeds, not only make it a festive garnish for the brisket, but also adds a nice pop of freshness to each bit.
This brisket is perfect for the holiday table or buffet. The beauty of this recipe is that it really is better if it is cooked the day before and rested in the refrigerator overnight. Simply pop it in the oven the next day about 45 minutes before service to crisp up the crust and heat through, then slice and serve.
Seems as if we are going to have a less than white Holiday season pretty much everywhere this year, so no excuses! But just in case you have already pit your grill up for the season, sear the meat stove top and follow the same directions to cook it in the oven – the temperatures for roasting/braising are included in the recipe for grill temperature reference.
Place onions, celery, half of the thyme, bay leaves, allspice, and half of the fennel seeds in the foil roasting pan.
Sear the brisket on both sides until well browned with bits of char.
Transfer the brisket to the foil pan and place over the onions. Sprinkle the brisket with the orange zest, remaining fennel seeds and thyme.
- For the brisket:
- One 4-1/2 to 5 pound flat brisket, fat trimmed to ¼-inch
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (about ¾ tsp per pound)
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 1 rib celery, cut into chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole allspice
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, divided
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme
- Grated zest from 1 orange
- 1½ cups beef broth
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
- For the Holiday Gremolata:
- ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
- ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
- Grated zest from 1 orange
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Foil roasting pan
- Set up grill for two-zones: direct heat set to high and indirect cooking. Preheat the grill and brush and oil grates before cooking.
- Season brisket with salt pepper, and granulated garlic. Place onions, celery, half of the thyme, bay leaves, allspice, and half of the fennel seeds in the foil roasting pan. Stir together the broth and the pomegranate molasses, pour into the pan, and set the pan on the indirect side of the grill.
- Sear the brisket on both sides until well browned with bits of char.
- Transfer the brisket to the foil pan and place over the onions. Sprinkle the brisket with the orange zest, remaining fennel seeds and thyme.
- If you have a digital oven thermometer, insert it in the meat now; cover pan with aluminum foil and close the grill cover. Reduce the heat to stabilize the grill at 325°F to 350°F. Continue cooking the brisket for 2 to 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 190°F to 195°F.
- [If you want to serve the same day, rest the brisket, covered, for about an hour; then slice and serve according to the end of the recipe. Honestly, the brisket will be so much better the next day…]
- Lift the brisket out of the pan and wrap in foil. Cool it to room temperature, then refrigerate it overnight. Strain the broth from the pan and discard the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate the strained broth, you should have about 4 cups.
- To serve: Preheat oven to 45o°F. Remove brisket from the refrigerator and unwrap the foil and place brisket in a small roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to hold the brisket.
- Skim the congealed fat from the broth and pour into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Turn down heat to just a simmer and whisk in the cold butter one piece at a time until melted; remove from heat. Spoon a little of the sauce over the brisket and place in preheated oven and roast until the the top of the crisps, spoon a small amount of sauce over the brisket every 5 minutes until the internal temperature hits 160°F; about 30 minutes .
- Remove brisket from oven and thinly slice across the grain of the meat. Transfer to a serving platter and ladle over a bit of the heated broth. Sprinkle the brisket with some of the gremolata for presentation. Serve with remaining heated sauce and holiday gremolata on the side.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!