What’s more mouthwatering than a juicy, smoky brisket and a tall glass of wine? When it comes to food pairings, this combination is widely considered one of the most decadent.
Choosing the best wine with brisket is a little difficult if you’re not familiar with your wine types. If you choose the wrong wine and age, you could end up losing out on delicious flavor note combinations! Whether you’re an experienced drinker or just starting out in your wine journey, you won’t want to miss this list.
Below we’ll break down the best wine with brisket and how each varietal will enhance your dining experience. Once you’re finished, you’ll be all set for your next great get-together.
Breaking Down the Brisket
Before we start with wine and brisket pairings, let’s differentiate between brisket types. Each cooking method brings out a unique texture and flavor to this tasty slab of beef.
Standard Beef Brisket
This is a brisket that isn’t heavily smoked or rubbed with spices. This type is popular if you want an elegantly simple dish that puts the most emphasis on the meat’s natural flavors.
Braised Beef Brisket
Are you a fan of thick, heartwarming stews? Braised beef brisket is slowly cooked for several hours in broths, sauces, or wine to deepen the flavor.
This technique also softens up brisket so it melts in your mouth like butter.
Barbecue Beef Brisket
The one and only barbecue beef brisket is perhaps the most popular…and for very good reason. The smoky flavor, crisp edges, and juicy interior is an unforgettably balanced combination.
Barbecue beef brisket is enhanced by the characteristic flavors of the wood or coals used in the cooking process.
- Maple imbues brisket with a slightly sweet flavor.
- Apple is another sweet choice, though with a faintly fruity tang.
- Hickory is a robust pick with a powerful, smoky, and nutty aftertaste.
- Oak is a gentle middleground, imparting a little flavor without being too dominating.
- Mesquite is both distinctive and subtle, offering a faint earthiness some cooks adore.
Smoked Beef Brisket
Smoked beef brisket is cooked much more slowly than barbecue. The above cooking woods are also popular with this method and will have even stronger flavors due to the smoke level.
If you’re a fan of husky and rustic flavors that fill up your senses, we highly recommend this type.
Brined Beef Brisket
Brining is a cooking technique that some chefs use to keep the brisket from drying out. If you’re a fan of juicy brisket that oozes with each bite, put this at the top of your list.
Brined beef brisket can still be smoked afterward to truly propel the flavors and aroma to new heights.
The Best Wine With Brisket
Beef and wine go hand in hand. Below are our top choices for pairing wine with juicy, smoky beef briskets. We’ll also recommend a few side dishes to keep your dishes well-rounded!
Cabernet sauvignon is a robust red wine that’s frequently paired alongside beef-centered dishes. The dominant flavor notes of dark fruit, baking spices, and pepper complement the brisket’s natural juiciness nicely.
Pair your brisket and cabernet sauvignon with leafy greens like brussel sprouts or kale.
The Best Brisket for Fresh, Unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon: Braised
A younger cabernet sauvignon will be more fruit-forward, imparting flavor notes of plums, blackberries, and faint whiffs of peppers. We highly recommend braised beef brisket with this type (you can also use a little of the wine in your recipe!).
The Best Brisket for Aged, Oaked Cabernet Sauvignon: Braised or Brined
If you prefer red wines with a smokier finish and faint hints of baking spices, choose an aged and oaked cabernet sauvignon. This wine goes wonderfully with either braised beef brisket or brined beef brisket due to its natural smoky contrast.
This deeply savory red wine is popular for bringing in more vegetal and floral flavors to the mix. While you’ll enjoy blueberries and plums here, you’ll also experience olive and herbal notes.
Pair your syrah with grilled vegetables or blue cheese. You can also try turning your brisket into a burger.
The Best Brisket for Fresh, Unoaked Syrah: Standard
A fresh, unoaked syrah will lean toward dark fruit and savory olives, which makes a standard beef brisket most suitable. You’ll be able to enjoy the complexity of the wine while having some nice contrast for your simple, juicy slab of beef.
The Best Brisket for Aged, Oaked Syrah: Braised
An aged, oaked syrah will have subtle notes of vanilla and wood. This combination is delectable when paired with a tender, melt-in-your-mouth braised beef brisket.
Pinot noir is a famously balanced red wine that goes with a massive variety of combinations. That said, we think certain types of beef brisket are more suitable than others!
Pair your pinot noir with squash, mushrooms, or soft white cheeses like gouda and gruyère.
The Best Brisket for Fresh, Unoaked Pinot Noir: Standard or Braised
A fresh, unoaked pinot noir will be tangy, medium-bodied, and bursting with tart red fruit. A standard brisket will allow this lighter wine to shine through, while a braised brisket will complement the strawberry and raspberry notes well.
The Best Brisket for Aged, Oaked Pinot Noir: Standard or Smoked
Aged pinot noir will boast somewhat earthy and vanilla finishes, a one-two punch of flavor that goes well with a standard brisket. Its red fruit notes become heavier and cherry-like with age, which tastes brilliant with smoked brisket.
Similarly dry and medium-bodied like pinot noir, montepulciano is one of the easier red wines to pair. That said, this Italian varietal is a little more tannic, giving it a stronger bite that certain briskets will appreciate.
The Best Brisket for Fresh, Unoaked Montepulciano: Standard or Barbecue
Since montepulciano is more peppery and smoky, we recommend avoiding a smoked brisket and sticking with a simple standard. The slightly bitter and tannic flavor notes will make the natural juiciness of your brisket really shine.
If you enjoy a little more flavor in your meat, a barbecue brisket will give you some char to go with a young montepulciano’s propensity for black cherry and ripe plum.
The Best Brisket for Aged, Oaked Montepulciano: Standard
Montepulciano’s plummy and chocolatey notes really come to the forefront when oaked. Stick with a standard brisket to ensure you’re not missing out on the wine’s flavor, but still adding contrast to your meat.
This Italian darling is a medley of red fruit, herbal notes, and fig-like qualities. With a solid amount of acidity, this wine remains distinctive when paired with beef.
The Best Brisket for Fresh, Unoaked Sangiovese: Braised or Barbecued
A fresh, unoaked sangiovese leans toward tart red fruit like red plum, cherry, and berries. Consider a braised sangiovese to get your mouth watering twice over, first with your acidic red wine, then again with the buttery texture of your beef.
Barbecued beef brisket is also fantastic with sangiovese due to the wine’s subtle tomato and leather finishes.
The Best Brisket for Aged, Oaked Sangiovese: Smoked
Sangiovese is not usually oaked for more than a few years, but you’ll get even stronger notes of cherries, tomatoes, and dark chocolate.
Smoked brisket contrasts the tart fruit of sangiovese right alongside the subtle chocolate sweetness.