Best Brisket EVER

Like the most beautiful baby in the world, the greatest Brisket Recipe is something everyone thinks they have.  Only I really do.  Really.

This is Brisket that’ll have you speaking Yiddish even if you were raised my nuns.  This is Brisket that would give a vegetarian pause, would get Sarah Palin to give up Moose. This is Brisket that makes up for the fact that the entire world is celebrating Christmas with twinkly lights, and cute little elves, and a fat guy in a red suit (hey, maybe he ate too much Brisket!) and endless Christmas songs looping so long it makes you loopy – while all you get to do is light your lone menorah and spin a piece of plastic. (Really, when did you last see a dreidel made of clay?)

This is BRISKET with all capitals, not just the capital B.  No packets of onion soup here – this is the real deal, just like Grandma Ruchel used to make.

Whether you call it Brisket, Pot Roast, Flanken or Ashkenazy Beef Stew – this is the quintessential Hannukah food, and the kind of winter weather warm-up meal even a gentile could love!

Happy Hannukah.

Granna’s Brisket

Prep time: 45 Minutes

Cook Time 3-5 hours. Plus it’ll be better if you let it sit overnight.

Servings: 6

5 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons Kosher Salt (or 1 1/2 table salt)

1 tablespoon paprika

Dribble of Olive Oil (optional – enough to make a paste)

Ground pepper to taste

1 beef brisket (3-4 pounds), trimmed with some fat left on

1 pound onions, sliced

4-6 carrots, slice on the diagonal

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, or whole peeled tomatoes.

1 bottle (about 8 oz) Heinz Chilli sauce

1 bottle dark beer

With the back of a wooden spoon, mash the garlic, salt, paprika, and a generous pinch of pepper into a paste. Add a little Olive Oil if needed to get a good paste-like consistency.  Rub it all over the meat, and let the meat sit for at least one hour, or overnight. If you feel like expending the extra effort, score the meat a little (make very shallow cuts in it) to allow the paste to penetrate the meat a bit better.

Pre-heat the broiler.  Place meat in a roasting pan and brown under broiler until nicely charred, but not cooked, on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. (But check – every broiler is different!)  Remove pan with meat and change over temp. to 350 F.

Remove meat from pan and set aside.  Place half of the sliced onions and half of the carrots in the bottom of the same roasting pan (do not clean pan). Return the meat to the pan and cover with the remaining carrots and onions.  Pour the tomatoes and chilli sauce over the meat, stirring to blend. (If you use whole peeled tomatoes, use your hands to break them into bit sized pieces, letting the juice fall into the pan.) Cover with foil and place in the oven for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove meat from pan, let sit for a few minutes (so that it is easier to handle) and slice into 1/2-inch think slices, making sure to cut against the grain.  This is important: the meat will be tough if you cut it the wrong way.

Return meat to the pan and stir to coat it with the sauce.  Add beer to pan and return to the oven, uncovered, for another hour or until the meat is fork tender. (Or, move on to the next step, freeze, then thaw and finish cooking the meat just before serving.)

There will be A LOT of fat.  Skim it off as best you can, or better yet, once the meat has cooled, put it, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.  Before reheating, remove the fat, now congealed on top and easy to separate.  Then reheat to serve, adjusting seasonings as necessary.

If you make this and like it — let me know!  If you make it and don’t like it…well, keep it to yourself!!!!!

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  1. says

    Okay–I’m going to try this. Sounds yum. I’ve always prided myself on my brisket (the one thing I cook better than my mom–although it’s her recipe–sometimes, it’s the intagibles that go into making a dish exceptional…). I DO use onion soup though (among real onions and other things too…..).

    Maybe one day we’ll meet–briskets in hand–and fress until we explode!

  2. Kathy says

    I was skeptical. The first day…I wasn’t all that impressed. The next day however…hmm, not bad at all. The third day…YES. This is it!! I am a relative newcomer to this dish, although my grandmother and mom made it all the time when I was a kid back in the stoneage . This was way too ambitious for me. But, hubby was waxing nostolgic and wanted a good old fashioned brisket like his aunt Ruth Lee used to make. I realize now that the trick is in the preparation and the fusing of flavors. If you want the dish to be at its best, you have have to cook it three days in advance and let it sit. This is counter-intuitive to someone raised in the virtues of a medium rare steak. I just never thought overcooked beef had any merit but…it is in the patience required to truly meld all of the flavors of the ingredients. This is the antithesis of fast food. Don’t know when I will venture to do this again, but it will probably be when I have three days off from my day job. Thanks, great recipe!

    • says

      So glad you liked it! But what’s funny, is that I don’t think it takes much time…just planning. The prep work is pretty minimal. You just have to know to make it a few days ahead of time.
      Another tip: once the meat is cooked through, remove it from the pan and boil down the sauce a bit – that will intensify the flavors and maybe even save you one day of waiting for the perfect taste!


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