You may have tried different noodle soups but brisket pho has a completely different flavor. It’s a rich combination of light broth cooked for hours and poured on noodles, bean sprouts, thin meat slices, and a lot of other fresh herbs.
Different cuts of beef, like flank shank or chuck roast, can be used as thinly sliced meat in pho but brisket is preferred by many of us due to its low-cost and amazing results. Brisket also has a texture that goes very well in the pho broth. Its long grains and balance of fat prevent the meat strips from getting too dry or chewy.
In this article, we will discuss brisket pho. We will discuss how to make it, not only with the traditional stovetop method but how to cook it in the instant pot , pressure cooker, or slow cooker to save time.
What is Brisket?
Brisket is a less expensive cut of beef and has a reasonable amount of marbling on the side. The cut is preferred due to its perfect balance between fat and meat. Brisket has many tough tissues, so it is suitable for simmering for hours and yields a deep rich flavor. The meat has long strands of thread that, cooked properly, taste delicious.
How to Cut Brisket for the Pho?
Typically when you slow cook or BBQ your brisket, since it has long threads, you would cut the meat against the thread at 45 degrees. Also you would be using a large piece of brisket when cooked that way – usually 8-16 pounds.
However, this recipe uses a smaller piece of brisket (2-3 pound piece), and it is simmered for a long time in water, therefore it ends up tender and more like pulled pork. At the end, you end up shredding it with two forks.
In this recipe, the beef brisket is simmered for 3 hours until it is tender and can be easily shredded with two forks. This cooking time should be sufficient to achieve tender, shreddable beef. However, the exact cooking time may vary depending on the size and cut of the beef brisket, as well as the heat of the stove or pressure cooker.
It is important to check the beef periodically during cooking to ensure that it is tender and can be easily shredded.
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How to Make Brisket Pho?
Got a large piece of brisket and don’t know what to do with it? Using it for Brisket Pho is a great choice!
To make brisket pho, you would need to simmer it in beef stock for 1-2 hours until tender if using the stovetop method. If you have an Instant pot or a stovetop pressure cooker you can cut down the cooking time to 45 minutes.
This is just enough time to make the brisket tender, but not completely void of taste. Growing up with a Vietnamese mother, she makes a lot of broth and soup. If she intends on eating the meat that is being used to make the broth she would remove it thirty minutes into the simmer, otherwise “it would taste like nothing”.
In this recipe, since we’re simmering the brisket in beef stock and not plain water, and the cook time is shorter, it preserves the taste quite well!
About this recipe
Vietnamese noodle soup has been gaining popularity worldwide. Pho is prepared with different meats but beef and chicken are the two most popular choices. Check our guide pho meat guide. The broth is prepared with beef brisket, aromatic spices that is characteristic of Vietnamese Pho noodle soups, served with tender beef strips and garnished with cilantro, onions, basil and mint.
You’ll think you’re eating at an authentic Vietnamese restaurant with this recipe! The aromatics in this recipe might not be something you have readily available in your pantry, but luckily they are not hard to find – whole cloves, star anise, whole cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and some ground cardamom.
Instructions for an authentic Pho Broth
Beef broth is the base of this recipe. And it is the most time taking process, requiring hours of cooking. So make it a couple of hours earlier.
Assembling everything in a bowl takes a few minutes but cooking broth may take 2-3 hours. No worries – if you’re in a pinch we have instructions for Instant Pot as well as stovetop pressure cooker so you can get the recipe going in under 1 hour.
In this recipe we’ll be using beef stock, but you can substitute that with beef bone broth if you are looking for some extra health benefits and ways to get some bone broth in our diet! See our complete guide on how to make bone broth here.
Usually I don’t have beef stock readily available in my pantry or fridge. I always have a jar of beef Better Than Bouillon and the chicken version of it in my fridge. It’s fantastic – you mix it with hot water or boiling water and voila! You have beef stock ready.
There are so many recipes out there that calls for “1 cup beef stock” or “1/2 cup chicken stock” so I hate buying those large quarts of chicken or beef stock and only use a little bit of it, and then having to throw away the rest. The chicken or beef Better Than Bouillon is much easier and costs way less!
Dry Spices for Pho
Dry spices add the flavor, depth, and aroma to your pho. Here is a list of dry spices you can add to the broth:
- Dry spices that are added to pho are
- Star Anise
- Black cardamom pods
- Cinnamon sticks
- Coriander seeds
- Thai Basil
Be careful while adding the dry spices as a little more and they are potent enough to make your broth bitter. Balancing the flavor is important. all of them except coriander seed have strong flavors and aromas and if you add too much of one it will overpower the overall taste. Read more about Pho spices here.
Brisket pho is a nutritional recipe with a special beef flavor. It’s a perfect winter light supper. It’s rich in flavors; it contains many herbs and dried spices that make it a fragrant beef broth. it has great nutritional value (Read the complete nutritional guide on pho) and is great to ward off seasonal colds and flu.