Braised Brisket with Pomegranate, Cumin, and Cilantro
Why This Recipe Works
For braised brisket that would be both tender and moist, we started by salting the meat (halved lengthwise for quicker cooking and easier slicing and poked all over with a paring knife to allow the salt to penetrate) and letting it sit for at least 16 hours, which helped it retain moisture as it cooked; the salt also seasoned it. From there, we brought the meat to 180 degrees—the sweet spot for the collagen breakdown that is necessary for the meat to turn tender—relatively quickly in a 325-degree oven and then lowered the oven temperature to 250 degrees so that the brisket finished cooking gently and retained as much moisture as possible. Instead of searing the meat (a messy, unwieldy step), we removed it and then reduced the braising liquid (chicken broth, pomegranate juice, lots of onions and garlic, anchovies, tomato paste, herbs, and spices) in the pan to achieve rich flavor. Reducing the sauce also built body, which we enhanced with flour and gelatin for a velvety consistency.