December 14 2017

The Dish: Cook brisket like you mean it

By Elisa Ludwig


Of the crowd-accommodating cuts of meat brisket is one of the easiest to make and the most forgiving, with mostly passive cooking time. Yet too many of us have suffered the fate of a gray and lackluster meat or overly soupy gravy on the holiday table. Thankfully, Steve’s recipe is here to convert any brisket skeptics.

The secret is in a few key considerations: Brown the meat on all sides with gusto, caramelize the onions and use good quality tomatoes. Look for a second-cut brisket for the best flavor. It’s a fattier cut but we’re celebrating.

Brisket is better made at least a day before it’s served and it can be made as much as three days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Skim off fat and reheat in the oven before serving. It also freezes well. And truly there’s no such thing as too much brisket—turn leftovers into sandwiches or repurpose them into a latke breakfast with a fried egg the following morning.


Holiday-Ready Brisket

Serves 8-10


3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
5 pounds beef brisket (preferably second-cut)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups canned crushed Italian tomatoes
2 bay leaves
½ cup red wine
10.5-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Pat brisket dry. Season brisket on all sides with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or very large ovenproof pot. Add brisket and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. You may have to cut the brisket into two pieces to fit it into your pot.
  2. Transfer brisket from pot to a plate. Add onions to the pot and cook until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Add brisket and any juices it has released back to the pot. Add carrots, garlic, tomato, bay leaves, wine, beef broth, sugar and flour to pot and stir evenly.
  3. Cover pot and cook in the oven until tender, about 3-3½ hours. Check a few times during cooking; add a cup of water if sauce appears dry.
  4. Allow brisket to rest 30 minutes before serving, then slice thinly against the grain. Spoon sauce and vegetables over meat and serve.


Read other December 2017 Newsletter articles

Fresh From The Oven
Seasonal Musings
Party In Focus
The Takeaway
At Home
Sweet Talk
By The Glass
TFI News