Maple-Bourbon Beef Brisket

Maple-Bourbon Beef Brisket

Fall is fast approaching, and summer’s last stand heaves under an abundance of produce. Early September finds the cook in a race against the first frost – canning, drying and spinning the plethora of freshly harvested vegetables and fruit into a tapestry of goodness. We relish these last long evenings, especially when it is warm enough to dine outside and grill.

There are many ways to barbecue a brisket, and I asked Bob Sparrow the owner of Sparrow Meats, for advice and used his technique in the following recipe.

I gave the recipe a test-drive in my kitchen and my family loved the lightly charred taste of the brisket balanced with the sweet maple and edgy bourbon flavors. I used a heavy hand with the cayenne, another layer of flavor and counterpoint to the sweetness of the syrup. I imagine this would be an ideal recipe to serve a group of Labor Day revelers; buns are optional.

Make no mistake: Brisket is a tough cut of meat and requires a marinade and long, slow cooking to break down the connective tissues. The time, mostly unattended, is worth it: The flavor of this brisket is tough to beat.

This brisket recipe combines the best of both worlds: the ease of an oven roast with the crackling finish of a grill. I served this with a favorite recipe for Hot Slaw (recipe follows); the spicy “bacony”: flavor is sublime with the beef.


Recipe: Maple-Bourbon Beef Brisket


  • 12 ounces maple syrup, Michigan maple syrup preferred
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, preferably Woodland Reserve or Bulleits*
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Cayenne
  • 5-6 pound beef brisket


  1. Make a marinade by whisking together the syrup, whiskey, garlic, lemon and lime juices. Add kosher salt and cayenne to taste. Divide.
  2. Marinate brisket, with half of the marinade, in a dish just large enough to accommodate the beef, 12-24 hours, refrigerated and covered, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 250˚.
  4. Remove brisket from marinade; liberally rub both sides of beef with kosher salt and cayenne. Bake, uncovered, on roasting rack on center rack of oven 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, baste, turn beef over, baste again, cover or enclose top with foil and return to oven for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat, adding wood chips if desired for a smoked flavor. Grill beef, basting with half of reserved marinade, 15 minutes on each side. Let sit at least 15 minutes before carving meat into thin slices against the grain. Serve beef slices brushed with remaining marinade.

*The flavor of the bourbon is pronounced in the marinade with 1/4 cup. Keep in mind, however, the bourbon flavor will dissipate during the cooking process.

Active Time: 10 minutes to make marinade

Roast Time: 4 1/2 hours

Grill Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 2 cups marinade; apx. 8-10 servings (10-12 sandwiches)

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Hot Slaw

May be made up to 24 hours in advance.


  • 4 cups cabbage, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
  • ½ red minced bell pepper
  • ¼ cup minced sweet or red onion
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1-3 teaspoons prepared brown mustard (I prefer Gulden’s)
  • Hot sauce*
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil


  1. Layer the vegetables in a large glass bowl in the following order: cabbage, carrots, bell pepper and onion. Do not combine.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon of the mustard. Add additional mustard, hot sauce, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and pour over the layered vegetables. Do not combine.
  3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan until it begins to smoke. Carefully and evenly drizzle the hot oil over the slaw. Do not toss. Let sit 10 minutes for the flavors to combine. Toss well and refrigerate until serving.

*Traditionally this is made with a great deal of hot sauce, thus its name. It’s delicious with less heat, so adjust according to the spiciness of your brisket.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

More Recipes Filed Under "Fall"

I welcome your comments!(This site was recently transferred but, unfortunately, I did not have privileges to include past comments. I would love to see a conversation started!)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *