Belgian Ale-Braised Brisket

1 4-lb. piece flat-cut beef brisket, untrimmed
Kosher salt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
2 tablespoons bacon fat or vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
1 750-ml bottle Belgian-style tripel ale
4 cups beef stock or low-sodium chicken broth

Season brisket with salt. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill at least 8 hours.
Let brisket sit at room temperature 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine mustard, brown sugar, and ginger in a small bowl. Unwrap brisket, place on a wire rack set inside a large rimmed baking sheet, and rub mustard mixture all over brisket. Roast until top is nicely browned, 30–40 minutes.

Remove brisket from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300°.

Meanwhile, heat bacon fat in a large heavy ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add onions; season with salt and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add flour, and cook, stirring often, until mixture smells nutty, about 4 minutes.

Add bay leaf, ale, and stock. Bring to a simmer. Add brisket, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise, turning every 30 minutes, until fork-tender, 3–4 hours. Discard bay leaf.

Transfer brisket to a cutting board and let rest at least 20 minutes.
If braising liquid is thin, bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer, skimming surface as needed, until thick enough to coat a spoon; season with salt, if needed.

Slice brisket against the grain. Serve with braising liquid.

DO AHEAD: Brisket can be braised 2 days ahead. Cover and chill in braising liquid.

Sriracha-Braised Brisket Sandwiches

1 5–6-pound brisket, first-cut, untrimmed
2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup Sriracha, plus more for serving
12 potato rolls, toasted

Remove brisket from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Lay brisket flat on your cutting board so that one of the longer sides is closest to you and layer of white fat is facing down. Take a close look at the meat itself—you’ll notice that there are long “grains” (thread-like muscle fibers) running left to right across length of brisket. You are going to “slice against the grain,” which means positioning your knife blade perpendicular to the direction of the fibers, into 2″-wide pieces. You do this so that when you go to shred the meat at the end, the fibers don’t stretch a mile long and they’re a manageable length for sandwiches.

Place brisket halves in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt, brown sugar, and cumin. Use your hands to really massage the meat and work in all the salt and spices so every little spot is coated. Get in there! Set brisket aside for a moment.

Mix onion, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire, ? cup Sriracha, and 1 cup water in a large Dutch oven or stockpot.

Using tongs, nestle brisket into pot so fattier sides are facing up and pieces fit together in a single layer. The meat should be barely submerged in liquid, so add a little more water if that’s not the case (depending on size of your pot).

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to achieve a very gentle simmer.

Cover pot and cook brisket, peeking inside occasionally to make sure heat isn’t too high or low—you want a couple of areas in the pot to be gently bubbling. If bubbles are roiling all over the place, reduce heat. If you see no bubbles at all, increase slightly. If liquid drops below top of meat, add a little more water to keep barely submerged.

After 2 hours, check meat for doneness. Poke a fork into a few pieces and twist the tines to see if the meat will easily separate into shreds. If not, that means it’s still tough. Keep cooking, checking again every 15 minutes or so. This could take up to an hour more.

Turn off heat and position lid so that it’s cracked open a bit. Let brisket cool until no longer steaming hot, about 30–40 minutes. Cover and chill overnight.

The next day, remove pot from refrigerator and uncover. There will be an layer of solidified orange fat on the surface (the color is from the Sriracha!). Using a fork, lift off fat in large pieces and discard.

Reheat brisket in pot over low until meat is warmed all the way through, 30–40 minutes. Transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet. If meat is too hot to touch, let cool for a few minutes until you can handle it.

Using your fingers or 2 forks, separate muscle fibers into shreds and return to pot. Remove any pieces of fat and discard.

Return pot to low heat and bring liquid to a gentle simmer, tossing meat with tongs to encourage it to soak up juices. Add more Sriracha to taste.

Serve over toasted buns with even more Sriracha, if desired.

Red Wine-Braised Brisket

1 5-lb. untrimmed flat-cut brisket
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks with leaves
5 garlic cloves, smashed
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 750 ml bottle full-bodied red wine
8 small carrots

Preheat oven to 350°. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook brisket, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Pour off fat from pot; discard.

Place onions, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine in pot and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top, fat side up. Cover and braise in oven, spooning juices, onions, and tomatoes over brisket every 30 minutes, until meat is fork-tender, 3–3 1/2 hours.

Uncover pot, nestle carrots around brisket, and cook until carrots are tender, top of brisket is browned and crisp, and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Remove brisket from pot and slice against the grain to serve.

If not serving immediately, transfer brisket to a large bowl and pour braising liquid over; let cool in sauce. Cover and chill, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days. To serve, preheat oven to 325°. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Cover and reheat brisket in sauce, 1–1 1/2 hours.

Braised Brisket with Chilies

6 mild yellow or red chiles or 3 yellow or red bell peppers
4 hot yellow chiles (such as banana or Hungarian wax peppers), seeds removed
4 medium-hot red chiles (such as Fresno or jalapeño), seeds removed
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Red Chile Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 4-pound beef brisket, preferably from the point end
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 large red onion, cut through root end into 6 wedges
8 garlic cloves, peeled

Preheat oven to 300°. Arrange chiles on a wire rack on stovetop over a gas flame and roast, turning occasionally, until blistered and lightly charred. (Or roast one at a time using tongs, or use the broiler.)

Stir vinegar, brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp. hot sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Season brisket generously with salt and sprinkle with pepper; cook, fat side down, until bottom side is deep golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Add onion and garlic to pot and cook, reducing heat if needed, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet with brisket.

Remove pot from heat and place brisket in pot, fat side up. Pour reserved vinegar mixture over and arrange garlic and blistered chiles around. Place onion on top of chiles. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise until brisket is fork-tender and shreds easily, 3–3½ hours. Transfer brisket, onion, chiles, and garlic to a platter and let cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place pot over medium-high heat and bring braising liquid to a boil. Cook until thick and syrupy, 10–15 minutes. Taste pan sauce and season with more hot sauce and salt, if needed.

Serve brisket, onion, chiles, and garlic with pan sauce drizzled over.
Do Ahead: Brisket can be braised 3 days ahead. Let cool in juices in pot; cover and chill.

Red Chile Hot Sauce

20 red Fresno chiles, seeds removed
8 red habanero chiles, seeds removed
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 cup white distilled vinegar

Pulse Fresno and habanero chiles, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. salt in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and let sit at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours (this will both develop the chile flavor and soften the flesh, resulting in a smooth flavorful sauce when puréed).

Purée chile mixture and vinegar in a blender until smooth. Season with salt.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 2 months ahead. Cover and chill.

Cheesy Grits

1 1/2 cups grits (not instant)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces sharp white Cheddar, shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce

Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Gradually whisk in grits and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grits are tender and resemble a porridge, 15–20 minutes. Stir in butter and cheese until melted. Season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.

Pork Shoulder Braised with Apples

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 6 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Calvados or other apple-flavored brandy
1 1/4 cups apple cider, preferably fresh
2 tablespoons (or more) apple cider vinegar
3 tart, firm apples (such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (about 4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Chopped fresh chives

Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until browned and crisp, 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add butter to pot with drippings. Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook pork shoulder, reducing heat as needed to prevent overbrowning, until brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes per batch. Transfer pork shoulder to a plate.
Add shallots to pot and cook, stirring often, until shallots begin to soften, about 4 minutes.

Remove pot from heat; add Calvados and stir, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Return to heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add apple cider and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then return pork shoulder to pot, placing in a single layer on bottom of pot (the meat should not be completely covered).

Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise pork shoulder, turning after 1 hour, until fork-tender, about 2 hours. Stir in reserved bacon. DO AHEAD: Bacon and pork shoulder can be cooked 2 days ahead. Let cool in braising liquid, uncovered. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.

Using tongs, transfer pork to a deep platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Place pot over medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Add apples and cook until apples are just tender and sauce is slightly reduced, 8-10 minutes.
Stir Dijon mustard into sauce; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Pour sauce with apples over pork on platter. Sprinkle with chives.

Serve with Cheesy Grits.

Wine-Braised Short Ribs

5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 750 ml bottle dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups low-salt beef stock

Preheat oven to 350°. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.

Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2½ hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over.

Caramel Chicken

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken legs and thighs
Kosher salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar
2 slices ¼”-thick slices peeled ginger
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Cooked white rice (for serving)

Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and, working in 2 batches, cook until golden brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Add garlic to pot and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. Pour off fat from pot.

Return pot to medium-high heat and add ½ cup water, scraping up browned bits. Add brown sugar; stir to dissolve, then cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar (it may bubble up; sugar will crystallize); stir to dissolve sugar.

Add ginger, broth, and soy sauce, then add chicken, skin side up, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot; turn to coat. Top with scallions and serve with rice.

Basque Mixture

1/4 cup Armagnac
2 tablespoons orange flower water
2 tablespoons anisette
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 strip of lemon or orange zest, 1 inch long by 1/4 inche wide

Mix in a clean jar and keep in a cool cupboard or refrigerator.

Variation:

3 ounces orange flower water
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon Armagnac
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract