0 (0)


La Sandia's brisket

La Sandia's brisket
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Total time: 2 hours, plus 12 hours cooking time and overnight marinating time for the brisket | Serves 12 to 16 (4-ounce)

Brisket rub

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

Step 1In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ancho chile, salt, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin and oregano. Store the rub in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This makes about one-third cup of rub.

Salsa Pibil

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2/3 cup chopped and seeded tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon achiote paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 habanero pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons honey, more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar, more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, more to taste

Step 1In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the oil is hot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and stir until translucent. Stir in the tomato, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Step 2In a blender, purée the achiote paste with the chicken broth. Pour the mixture over the onion-tomato mixture, then stir in the orange juice, bay leaf, oregano, thyme and habanero pepper. Gently simmer the mixture for 15 minutes to develop the flavors, then pick out the habanero.

Step 3Purée the mixture in the blender. Taste, and add back the habanero, a little at a time, until the desired heat is reached. Blend in the honey, white vinegar and lime juice. Taste and adjust the flavors as desired.

Cotija white rice

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup Cotija cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Step 1In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the white rice and salt, gently stirring until the rice is heated through, then stir in the cheese and heavy cream and continue to stir until the mixture is thoroughly warmed through. Taste, and adjust the salt as desired.

Smoked brisket

  • 7 to 8 pounds brisket, with all but 1/2 inch of the fat cap removed
  • Brisket rub
  • Wood chips (we used hickory)
  • Salsa pibil
  • Cotija rice

Step 1Cut the brisket into large chunks (roughly 4-inch pieces). Place the brisket in a large bowl and pour over the brisket rub. Massage the rub evenly onto each of the pieces, coating each one entirely.

Step 2Place the meat in a single layer in a large baking dish and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

Step 3The next day, heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Step 4Cover the baking dish with foil and cook the brisket for 12 hours. The brisket can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance; cool the brisket after cooking, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Reheat the brisket in a 250-degree oven until thoroughly warmed through.

Step 5Prepare an outdoor or stove-top smoker. Place the cooked brisket in the smoker (depending on the size of the smoker, smoking may need to be done in batches), and start the smoker.

Step 6When the smoker starts smoking, seal it and smoke the brisket for 5 minutes to flavor the meat. Remove and slice before serving. This makes more brisket than is needed for the remainder of the recipe (we analyzed the nutrients using 8 ounces of brisket per serving); the brisket will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.

Step 7Serve the sliced brisket with the salsa pibil and Cotija rice.

Note: Adapted from La Sandia in Santa Monica.


Sichuan spiced lamb
Sichuan spiced lamb

Cherry rye hand pies
Cherry rye hand pies

Purple Pig's pig ears
Purple Pig's pig ears

Have a specific question about a recipe or found a problem? Let us know at food@latimes.com

More recipes in Mains

Salt-roasted rockfish with tomato-olive salsa
Hoad's hot jalapeno burger
Pilgrim's pie
Grilled scallops with braised romaine