Photo: Oxmoor House 
Hands-on Time
50 Mins
Total Time
3 Hours 35 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: 3 ounces beef and about 1/2 cup sauce)

Although many, if not most, Americans' first experience with brisket is in the form of barbecue, mine was in a Lower East Side apartment complex--on Passover. I was 17. It was my first experience with sweet and tangy slow-cooked brisket. Variations on home-cooked brisket are as varied as the Yiddish slang that peppers the Tri-State area. This recipe, reconstructed from memory, is a perfect entry-point into braising. Brisket has relatively flat, even surfaces, making browning easy. Pomegranate molasses and tomato paste give you a jump on enriching the sauce. So long as you don't cook at too high a heat, you'll yield a moist and tender brisket worthy of serving to anyone's bubbie.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 275°.

Step 2

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Step 3


Step 4

Season the brisket with 2 teaspoons of the black pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Rub the seasoning into the flesh.

Step 5

Add the oil to the Dutch oven. Swirl and look for the haze.

Step 6

Brown the brisket for about 8 minutes on each side. We're looking for a thick, deep, crusty exterior. Transfer the brisket to a platter for a moment.

Step 7


Step 8

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 9

Add the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate, and cook 1 minute.

Step 10

Add the beef stock, the pomegranate molasses, the thyme, and the bay leaves. Stir.

Step 11


Step 12

Return the brisket to the Dutch oven, tumble once, and cover.

Step 13

Place the Dutch oven in the 275° oven and cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Turn it halfway through the cooking time. You have to be careful with the leaner "first cut" (that's the cut without the fatty cap), as it can shred to a dry oblivion if left unmonitored. It should be quite tender, but not fall-apart tender.

Step 14

Cheat. Take a paring knife and saw off a small piece near the tip. That's yours to savor and evaluate.

Step 15

It should be done. Take it out of the oven.

Step 16


Step 17

Splash in the vinegar, and, using a wooden spoon, swirl it into the pan sauce.

Step 18

Let the brisket rest in the sauce for about 15 minutes, out of the oven and off the heat.

Step 19

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Ready a platter.

Step 20

Back to the Dutch oven: Remove the bay leaves from the sauce.

Step 21


Step 22

Skim the sauce of any surface fat and blend smooth using an immersion blender (if you have one; a standard blender works, too).

Step 23

Now, slice the brisket into 1/2-inch slabs, against the grain, and fan onto a platter.

Step 24

Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Step 25

Douse with lots and lots of the sauce. Okay, all of the sauce.

Step 26

Garnish with parsley.

Step 27


Step 28

Step by Step: Creating a Crusty Exterior

Step 29

1) Season the meat with the spice mixture. This is the start of your crust.

Step 30

2) Add the oil. You can't see the haze easily in the photo, but you'll notice an immediate viscosity breakdown--that's why it'll look all swirly.

Step 31

3) Brown the brisket to the perfect color.

Cooking Light Mad Delicious

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