Mad Science

It didn’t start out as a science experiment.  I just wanted the juicy, delicious Pioneer Woman brisket that Rob made for an Amazing Race dinner a few months back.  I had never cooked a brisket before, but the recipe appeared straightforward, so I made my shopping list, and headed for the grocery store. 

The recipe called for a 10-lb brisket with a good inch of fat on top.  Certainly Michael and I did not need 10 pounds of meat, so I planned to halve the recipe.  The choices in the meat department were a bit bewildering.  There were corned beef briskets, but they didn’t seem quite right.  At last, I asked the young woman behind the meat counter, who looked 1) freezing cold, 2) hung over, and 3) miserably surprised to actually be at work.  Shivering, she came out from behind the meat counter with a 5-lb piece of brisket for me.  Done, and done.  Until I saw another cut of meat, called an “Eye of Round Roast” that was a couple of bucks cheaper per pound. 

Hmm, I thought.  I wonder… In the best tradition of mad scientists, I quickly decided that in order to test my hypothesis that an Eye of Round Roast could successfully substitute for a brisket, I would have to cook them both under identical conditions, and then compare the results. 

I hauled my loot back to Michael’s kitchen, where I mixed two foil trays full of marinade, into which I placed the brisket on the left, and eye of round roast on the right.  The eye of round roast was, well, round.  So I sliced down the middle and opened it up like a hot dog bun, laying it flat in the marinade.  This made it the approximate thickness of the brisket. 

Leaving my meat experiment in the refrigerator to marinate over night, I moved on with the rest of my Saturday.  Being a scientist sometimes requires long hours and sacrifice.  In this case, Michael had to get up at 7:30 in the morning on Sunday to put the meat in the oven. 

Mid-afternoon, both pans of meat were perfectly done.  I shredded the meat with two forks, and returned it to its respective baths of hot marinade.  With vegetables and rolls, we dished out portions from each pan of meat and sat down to dinner.  Both were excellent, and basically indistinguishable in flavor.  The texture of the brisket, however, lent itself more readily to shredding and was marginally more tender. 

We both ate from this bounty of beef for the next several days, then a few weeks later we made brisket sandwiches with the rest, which I had frozen. 

Conclusion: Yum.

Pioneer Woman’s Beef Brisket

(serves 12)


  • 2 cans Beef Consomme
  • ½ cups Lemon Juice
  • 1-½ cup Soy Sauce
  • 5 cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
  • 10 pounds Beef Brisket

Preparation Instructions

Combine first five ingredients in large roasting pan (a disposable is just fine). Place brisket in the marinade, fat side up. Cover tightly with foil. Marinate in refrigerator for 24-48 hours. When ready to cook, place pan covered in foil into a 300-degree oven. Cook brisket for approximately 40 minutes per pound.

When fork-tender, transfer whole brisket to a cutting board. Slice against the grain and place slices back into the cooking liquid. Serve immediately, spooning juice over the slices. Barbeque sauce may be used, if preferred.

You may store pan in fridge for up to two days or freeze for use at a later date. If fat collects and hardens at the top, remove and discard.

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