Appetite For Instruction: Beef Brisket

Demonstrated by Jeffrey Kowitz of Taco Joint

Ah, April. Time to gear up for another season of painfully polite pool parties and backyard cookouts set to the soundtrack of a pre-teen sleepover. Sigh.

Might as well start the countdown to Oktoberfest... But wait--what if we told you that you might never have to suffer through someone else's idea of fun in the sun again? What if we gave you a magic formula that will have everyone heading to your place when the weather turns warm? Sound too good to be true? It's not.

A couple of weeks ago, Jeffrey Kowitz from Taco Joint shared his recipe for no-frills guacamole, but we also squeezed another secret out of him that day. His brisket is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And with the addition of a keg and your iPod playlist, it makes for a couple dozen very happy friends...assuming you have that many. "We've been told it's the best brisket in town," Kowitz boasts. His recipe may inspire you to kick modesty to the curb as well. This year, it's all about you: your house, your party, your rules.

But first, the meat.

Step 1: Kowitz begins by combining 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/3 cup granulated garlic and 3 cups of his top-secret spice blend. While he won't divulge its exact composition, he hints that it contains chili powder and a touch of sweetness. Using this as a jumping-off point, feel free to get creative when concocting your own secret formula.

Step 2: Coat a 12-pound brisket with the spices (be generous) and give it a good rub.

Step 3: Arrange brisket in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Pour one bottle of Shiner Bock into the pan underneath the meat.

Step 4: Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 hours. It's done when the meat can be easily shredded with a fork. Serve with tortillas, on a toasted bun or just pass it out by the handful - it's your party now, you call the shots.

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