The Simple Plate

Classic Brisket

A good classic brisket is in my top five favorite meals of all time. The tender meat, the sweet caramelized onions, the delectable crust that forms from the searing. OH, it’s just heaven. I mean, seriously, if you’ve never had brisket made like this then you’ve never had brisket. I use brisket meat for many dishes, but this is a classic style Jewish brisket that our family makes for holidays, special Sunday dinners, and also just because. Brisket is a popular dish among European Jews, which my husband just so happens to be. Before meeting him, i’d only had brisket in the form of BBQ and the dry meat that often appears on sandwiches in restaurants. Then I was introduced to this classic Jewish dish and fell in love with (not before falling in love with my husband, of course). Making brisket can be a difficult task–it’s always tough or dry. But the secret is to braise it in the oven covered the entire time. Whereas, most slow braised meats do better when you allow some liquid to evaporate, brisket benefits in trapping the moisture because it will dry out otherwise. So I leave mine covered to get both a tender and moist meat. However, it is an affair and requires a little foresight to prepare the meat, but I can guarantee you diving into this deeply flavored, rich and sweet meat will be worth the wait. I just can’t tell you how good these things are and how impressive it is to slice and serve your guests. Give this one a try for your holiday dinner this year!

Chef’s Note: Season your brisket at least a day ahead of time. Two days is even better. Mix all of the dry spices together and rub down the cut of brisket generously on both sides with the dry rub. Place in your refrigerator uncovered 1-2 days before, then remove from the fridge at least 3 hours before cooking so it comes to room temperature.


2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

1/2 rablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

2 -3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

1 large yellow onion, sliced

4-5 pound brisket *

1 cup beef broth

2 tbs tomato paste

Avocado Oil for searing

2-3 tablespoons water

How To:

  1. By now, your brisket should be at room temperature and ready for browning and your onions sliced and ready to go. Have everything ready before you add a bit of avocado oil to a very large pan preheated to a medium high heat. When the pan is ready, brown each side of the brisket for 8-10 min, until a good crust forms on the outside.
  2. Next, add a tiny bit more oil to the pan if necessary, then add the sliced onions to the pan and begin to caramelize. First the onions will begin to sweat, then slowly soften. Once they begin to brown allow them to keep going. If the edges start to burn, add 2-3 tablespoons of water one at a time to control the process. When the onions are brown and have a sweet taste, they are done. About 15 min. If you want to add more aromatics, such as celery and carrots, brown them along with the onions. Remove from pan when done.
  3. Preheat your oven to 300. Then, in a large baking pan or dish place your seared brisket( fat cap side up) in the center. Whisk together the broth and tomato paste, and pour the broth over the meat. Lay the caramelized onions on top of the meat. Cover the pan or dish with tin foil.
  4. Bake covered for 3-4 hrs. How long it needs will vary by weight. If you are doing a larger cut (6-8 pounds) to serve a big crowd, you’ll be cooking a total of 4 1/2-5 hrs, a medium sized (4-5 pounds) will cook for roughly 3-4 hrs. Check the internal temp at about 3 hrs. Don’t let it exceed 190-195 degrees. It will continue to cook as it rests.
  5. After the brisket is done, let the brisket rest for 30-45 min. When it’s rested, remove the onions on top before slicing the meat thinly. Place back into the braising liquid with some thyme sprigs until ready to serve. I recommend platting it for serving on a platter after it’s had a little time (15-20 min) after slicing to sit in the juices. Put the onions back on top before serving.

* Look for a cut of brisket that has a decent fat cap on it. Too lean a cut and the meat won’t be as tender. As the fat melts, it keeps the meat moist, rich, and tender once it’s cooked.

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