Jewish Style Braised Brisket

Here in Texas, there is only way to do brisket…smoked. But I’ve always heard of braised brisket and wanted to give it a try.

I’m very happy I did. This is now a family favorite and definitely worth trying.

1 5-lb brisket
8 garlic cloves cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
Kosher salt
Black Pepper
Garlic powder
1 T cooking oil
1 quart beef stock
2 Vidalia or sweet onions thinly sliced
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the brisket on a work surface. If the fat cap is on the thicker side (1/2 inch) trim off a little of the fat, leaving an even 1/4 -inch layer.

Using a paring knife, make vertical incisions in the meat and shove a piece of garlic into each. Do this until the meat is stuffed with garlic all over. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place the brisket in a large braising pan, Dutch oven or rimmed baking dish (preferably metal) starting with the fat cap facing up and brown it on both sides.

Pour in the beef stock. Cover the dish with a lid or foil, and cook in the oven for 1 hour.

In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté, stirring every once in a while, until soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. (Note, to help with this, sprinkle with kosher salt and 1/8 tsp baking soda. Or just the salt if you wish. It helps break down the onions and get them to carmelize.)

After an hour, remove the meat from the oven.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ketchup, sugar, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne, thyme or rosemary. Add a bit of the hot liquid and pour into the pot. Add bay leaves.

Using a fork, whisk everything together with the beef stock. Arrange the caramelized onions on top of the meat. Cover the pan again with the lid or foil, and return it to the oven for 2-3 hours. NOTE: if you want to be able to cut the brisket into slices, take it out at 2 hours. If you want it to be falling apart, more along the lines of a pulled brisket, keep it in for the full 3. We went with 2 hours and it was sliceable but still tender.

Remove the meat from the oven, and transfer it to a cutting board. Let rest a few minutes and remove the thick fat. Slice the brisket against the grain into slices.

Defat the braising liquid then thicken with a slurry of either corn starch or potato starch and water.

You can return the meat to the sauce and serve, or seperately like a gravy.

You can make this a day or two in advance and it only gets better.