Thursday, March 3, 2011

Simple Slow Cooked Garlic Studded Grass-fed Beef Brisket with Mushrooms

That title is a mouthful.  I could also add any number of modifiers such as "delicious," "mouthwateringly delectable," and just plain old "awesome," but I think the name includes the most important bits.

This recipe is dead simple: poke holes in the brisket and shove in some garlic cloves, season, throw in a load of sliced mushrooms and more garlic cloves, and slow cook away for a day or overnight (8hrs).  I originally watched Emeril way back when garlic stud his roasts and loved the idea.  I've used it before in my recipe: Not Your Mama's Pot Roast.  It is a great way to flavor the meat and insert little pockets of meltable deliciousness into the beef.

And wow is the outcome amazing!  The garlic beefiness just fills the house and wafts outside to make your neighbors jealous.  And everything about the finished meal is delicious--the rich, savory jus (or juice as in au jus--"with [it's own] juice") created just from the beef and the mushrooms, the garlicy mushrooms and spreadable garlic cloves, and the tender, shred-able beef that stays moist and flavorful, especially when drizzled with jus and topped with mushrooms.  Yum!

Don't Fear the Fat!

Check out that beautiful yellow fat in the photos.  Remember the advice we've all heard to choose brightly colored vegetables?  Well, here is the same idea holding true for meat.  That yellow fat is chock full of vitamin A and E and healthy fats (as opposed to not-so-healthy fats like vegetable oils and seed oils that overbalance our omega-6:omega-3 ratio).  White fat of feedlot beef is not only less nutritious, but it also carries a heavy toxic load since the fat is the storage place for most of the crap we pump into those poor, sick cows to keep them alive long enough to fatten them up for slaughter. 

On the other end of the spectrum, both in terms of nutrition and humane, sustainable husbandry is grass-fed (and finished) beef from pastures.  Its fat is healthy fat, full of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and great for recovery from exercise and inflammatory ailments (hence many use fish oil supplementation).  According to Eat Wild (a source for finding local pastured products), CLA may fight and reduce the risk of cancer. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and CLA is closer to our ancestral eating profile, which is how our digestive tract evolved and how it still functions today despite the disconnect most people have between their anatomy and their diet.  Enjoy what nourishes, not harms.

Bottom line: Don't shy away from eating healthy fat!

Without further ado, I give you Simple Slow Cooked Garlic Studded Grass-fed Beef Brisket with Mushrooms:

Simple Slow Cooked Garlic Studded Grass-fed Beef Brisket 
The simple combination of minimal ingredients and fuss-free slow cooking create a delicious meal fit for a holiday feast or simple weeknight leftovers you actually look forward to!

Cooking Time: Start to finish, about 8.5hrs but 8hrs of that are spent unattended while slow cooking

  • grass-fed beef brisket (we used about a 3-lb brisket--you could probably use any similar cut of roast)
  • lots of garlic cloves (to save time and effort, you can buy whole, peeled garlic cloves*)
  • lots of sliced mushrooms (to save time and effort, you can buy these sliced as well*)
  • salt
  • pepper
Add 1-2 packages of sliced mushrooms (or about 3-6 cups if you prepare them yourself) to the bottom of the slow cooker pot.  Depending on the size of your brisket and your slow cooker, leave enough room for the brisket to sit on top of the mushrooms and still lid the pot.  Add some whole garlic cloves to the mushrooms and distribute them.

Prepare the brisket by creating deep slits with your knife and inserting a garlic clove in each.  Try to get good coverage and be as thorough as you have the patience for.  Turn over the brisket and repeat on the underside and then try to get as many in the sides of the meat as possible.  Once finished, sprinkle on salt and pepper and rub it around the brisket to season it.

Place the brisket on top of the mushrooms and add another package or 3 cups of mushrooms on top and around the sides--basically jam in as many mushrooms as you can fit--remember, they cook down and they are adding some of the moisture that is keeping the roast tender and juicy.  Add any remaining garlic cloves you had leftover from the brisket studding or if you just want to add some more you have around, feel free--the more the merrier!  The garlic roasts into a mellow, spreadable deliciousness, so fear not!

Now, set your slow cooker to Low for 8hrs and walk away.  Your job is done until the time comes to unlid the pot and feast!  Hope you enjoy this as much as my husband and I did!

* I know hard-core cooking purists will cringe at the use of any convenience foods like sliced mushrooms and peeled garlic cloves, but if it helps more people cook real food for themselves and their families by cutting corners in minimal areas (they are still using one-ingredient-on-the-label foods), then that is a win in my book.  I'd rather offer an approachable recipe than frustrating those who are time-crunched with yet another recipe that takes too long to even try.  And this recipe is well worth the minimal effort required!


  1. Love it

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  2. YUM! This looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This looks tasty. Looking for a recipe for a brisket I just bought, might try this one. Glad to find this, as I live in Scotland, and pretty well all our beef is grass-fed. That means a lot of Internet recipes for things like brisket are not well-suited, as they're designed for corn-finished beef, which cooks differently.

    If I try it, I'll let you know how it turns out!

  4. Thanks, Catt! Good luck on the pot roast--I hope it works out for you! I notice that grass-fed meats tend to dry out, so quick searing is excellent for steaks and it usually takes fatty cuts to do well as roasts. Thanks for the post!
    Best wishes,

  5. Making this for the 5th time today. Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. That's awesome! So glad you're enjoying it, Christine! :)

  7. Absolutely the best beef recipe EVER!