The Beauty of Braising {Recipe: Apple Cider Braised Brisket}

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

Leaves change color and fall to the ground as the market fills with the bounty of summer. These weeks are my favorite at the market, where a sweater alone keeps you plenty warm and there’s a certain nip in the air that invites hot apple cider as vendors rearrange their goods and offer up the season’s best.

While seasonal shifts in this direction always have me feeling a bit melancholy with the thought of winter to come, pausing time right here in this moment is a thought I’ve welcomed often and freely. The mix of warm and cold, summer and autumn and the slow shift from salad to soup on the dinner table causes me to breathe deeply and enjoy.

Along with soup will come an increase in baking, a return to warm breakfasts and a desire to hole up in the kitchen creating. Let’s not forget, however, roasted meats.

Where summer had me turning off my oven and looking towards the grill and the smoker to provide the heat for the family’s meals, the fall will bring the meat back inside simmering away, especially if you, say, purchased a good portion of a whole cow that is coming to a freezer near you.

Braising Basics

Braising generally uses tough pieces of meat and makes them stretch a bit farther than they otherwise might be able to, creating a tender dish that makes you think of home. It starts with a good searing of the meat about to be braised. Liquid is added, and the meat is then roasted and simmered in the oven along with a few vegetables until tender and perfect.

  1. Season your meat.
  2. Heat oil, butter or other fat in a Dutch oven. Add in the meat and sear on all sides. Remove to plate.
  3. Add in vegetables and sauté slightly before deglazing the pan with a bit of liquid.
  4. Choose a liquid to work with, be it wine, beer, tomato sauce or, in our case, apple cider. Add meat and vegetables and pour in the liquid.
  5. Cover and place in a hot oven for a few hours until the meat is tender.
  6. Drain the liquid and separate the fat before boiling down the sauce into a gravy to be served over the now-braised meat.

Photos by Shaina

Recipe: Apple Cider Braised Brisket

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (4-5 lb.) beef brisket, outer fat trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into wedges
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cups unfiltered apple cider
  • 3 apples, cored and sliced

Preheat oven to 325º F. On the stovetop over a medium-high heat melt butter in a Dutch oven. Season brisket on both sides with salt and pepper, and then add to Dutch oven and sear on all sides until golden brown. Remove to a plate.

Add in the onions and garlic and sauté until softened. Pour a few tablespoons of the apple cider into the pan to deglaze. Stir until all caramelized bits are lifted from the pan. Add in brisket and herbs and pour remaining apple cider over the top.

Bring to a simmer, cover and move to the oven. Roast the brisket at 325º F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until tender, adding in apples 30 minutes prior to the end of cooking.

Remove Dutch oven and allow to cool. Drain fat from the top of the pot and discard. Remove meat, apples and onions and heat the remaining sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces and becomes a gravy. Add in brisket, apples and onions and cook until warm. Serve immediately.

Makes 7-8 servings.
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What fall and winter meals have you been looking forward to?

About Shaina

Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family, where she shares recipes, tips, opinions and her philosophy on food as she wades through the process of feeding her family, her friends and anyone else who will let her. She strives to teach her four children how to eat well: seasonally, locally, organically, deliciously and balanced.

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Comments

  1. That. Is. FABULOUS.
    Bev Weidner’s last post: Black Quinoa With Shrimp and a Lot of Healthy Stuff

  2. I love this recipe and make it at Rosh Hashanah and when my in-laws are visiting. No more ketchup and onion soup mix! This is hands down the most flavorful, tender brisket I’ve ever had. Many, many thanks Shaina :)

  3. This looks incredible. I’ll be making it next week, when temperatures are supposed to go back down below 80!

  4. just for my own clarity: by ‘apple cider’ for you mean ‘apple juice’ or ‘fermented apple juice’?
    Stuart Carter’s last post: Sweet potato and chickpea curry

    • Hi, Stuart. I don’t mean either, actually. :) Apple cider is the juice expressed from apples that is unfiltered and unsweetened. It is available when the apple season is going on (now!), and is cloudy and tangier than apple juice. No alcohol and with a different taste than traditional apple juice. Hard cider would be the fermented variety. There’s a Wiki article with pictures that might help explain it better?

      If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend seeking out fresh apple cider. There is nothing better..in my opinion. Thanks for commenting!
      Shaina’s last post: A Bit of Mushroom Nutrition and Something for You

  5. Lovely! Thanks so much.
    Jen Duncan’s last post: September 27

  6. It’s definitely prime braising weather in Portland. I’m currently staring at rain out my window. Boooooo. Love apple cider as the braising liquid in this! Yum!
    Michelle’s last post: Drunken Pumpkin Chili

  7. A question – the recipe says:

    “Remove meat, apples and onions and heat the remaining meat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces and becomes a gravy.”

    Sorry if I’m missing something obvious but – what remaining meat?

  8. Thanks for the dinner inspiration, Shaina! I’ve got braised roast beast (or is it beef?) in the oven right now :)
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Biscoff Bites

  9. This is PERFECT we just bought a brisket from a local farmer, and we are pressing apple cider this weekend. Thank you so much!!! I love brisket. I am so looking forward to Butternut Squash Soup. I love all the different ways one can make it, and even my kids like. And I’m looking forward to baking in the oven. I do feel like Summer just flew by though- wow. And I didn’t preserve half of what I planned to. Oh well, soon the pumpkin pies will be cookin’ and I won’t even remember :)

  10. Oooh, I love the sound of this!
    Tracy’s last post: Unsweetened Applesauce

  11. That looks delicious! I showed my husband the recipe and he suggested we make it Right. Now. Thanks for sharing!
    Laura @ The Art of Cooking Real Food’s last post: Two Bean and Walnut Veggie Burgers

  12. Oh Shaina! Your roast looks luscious!

    I love the fall. It’s my favorite time of year – and it also embraces one of my favorite ways of cooking…braising! This Sunday, we will be celebrating my husbands birthday with a family dinner where I am going to serve a delicious braised chicken dish that is one of my favorites – it relies on apple cider also for the braising liquid.

    In addition to braising in apple cider, I also enjoy using hard cider which imparts a great flavor when cooked down. For some fantastic recipes, be sure to check out the cookbook “All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking” by Molly Stevens.

    Love,

    Mary
    Mary’s last post: I Love the Kitchen

  13. I can just imagine the scent that this dish makes in the kitchen. Last fall we visited an apple orchard in Ohio’s Amish country and the cider that they served was just fabulous! It was ice cold and dispensed from an old fashioned pail-like cooler. Oh to have that to serve with this brisket!!
    Thanks for the great recipe and Happy Fall!
    Gretchen’s last post: Taking My Family on Food Adventures…Painlessly

  14. I am loving all the recipes I am learning from this site! I made Aimee’s cabbage & apples with bacon recently, and it was amazing. I am definitely going to have to put this on my list to try!
    Thanks Shaina!
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center’s last post: 10 Steps to Avoid Mental Breakdown

  15. What a wonderful idea to use apple cider! I am definitely going to try this at home :)
    Your blog looks amazing by the way!

  16. Oh, yum! I’ll have to try this.
    Becky’s last post: Charming Marie in New Orleans

  17. I’m thinking this will be dinner at some point this week. I just bought a gallon of cider from our local orchard. Amazing.
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Giveaway: Jacob Bromwell Cookware Set

  18. I’m a bit late getting here, but I just want to add that I am also super inspired by this post! I really appreciate tutorials like this. It’s always easier than I think!

  19. I made this recipe tonight and it was incredible! Normally, I am awful at cooking beef. And my poor husband, who grew up on beef, has been hinting that I should finally figure out the secret to making tender beef. I saw this recipe and decided to give it a go. So, so, so, soooo delicious. My husband even told me I should make this for his mom – which is the ultimate compliment.

  20. Your recipe calls for apples. Do you suggest tart, green cooking apples (like Granny Smith) for this Apple Cider Braised Brisket dish? I think I’ll add as a side dish a Cabbage, Apple w/Bacon Recipe instead of the traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage St. Patrick’s Day dinner for a change.

  21. Dee Macres says:

    What kind of apples? Granny Smith?

  22. Loks and sounds great! Exactly what I was looking for for a cool autumn New England Sunday. Wanted to do a sort of deconstructed NE Boiled Dinner. Will do your brisket with boiled potatoes and sautéed turnips and carrots?
    Thanks for the recipe!

  23. Made this tonight with an earthy/funky French Cider (the fermented kind). Perfect.

    Specifically: http://www.calvados-dupont.com/en/cidre-bouche.htm

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