Beso BBQ Brisket

“Comfort food is about nostalgia. When I eat barbecue, it takes me back to my childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas. We’d have barbecue for every special occasion — Easter, birthdays, baptisms. These days I make a brisket, which I slow-roast and cover with a more contemporary, Latin-influenced sauce. It’s a favorite dish at my restaurant, Beso, in Las Vegas.”

  • ⅔  cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1½  teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½  teaspoons onion powder
  • 1½  teaspoons juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 6- to 7-pound brisket, excess fat trimmed
  • Beso BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Combine sugar, salt, anise, fennel, garlic and onion powders, juniper berries, and paprika in a bowl; rub over both sides of brisket. Place meat in a roasting pan and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 10 to 24 hours.

2. Heat oven to 275°F. Discard all marinating juices. Pour 4 cups Beso BBQ Sauce and chicken broth over brisket; cover pan tightly with foil. Roast until tender, 5½  to 6 hours. Allow brisket to cool slightly before slicing thinly; serve with cooking juices and remaining BBQ sauce.

Serves 6 to 8.

Beso BBQ Sauce

  1. In a saucepan cover one 2-ounce package (4 to 5) dried mulatto or ancho chilies with water and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool, discard stems, and roughly chop; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 seeded and chopped jalapeno, and 1 peeled and cored apple; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in one 6-ounce can tomato paste, 1¼  cups apple cider vinegar, one 12-ounce jar unsulfured molasses, 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and reserved chilies. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in 3 cups of ice. In batches, puree sauce in a blender. Can be kept refrigerated, up to 3 weeks.

Makes 7 cups.