Every year I have the pleasure along with my cousin of making the brisket for our family seder. Now this is no ordinary seder, because it includes the extended family and usually has around 90 people attending. For those of you who don’t know, a seder is a traditional meal to mark the beginning of Passover where the story of exodus is recited. It is said that the Last Supper was a seder. This year I am making about 30 lbs of brisket! What a great opportunity to take pictures, accurate measurements and create a post. So here it is. Figure a heavy 1/2 lb of meat per person. The meat shrinks and this is something that is great leftover. This is best made a day ahead so plan accordingly.
My Brisket Recipe
- 4-5 lb first cut brisket, sometimes called flat cut
- 1 T grape seed or other high smoke point oil
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs onions, sliced about 1/4″ thick
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp savory
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 -10 whole garlic cloves
- 1 diced tomato
- 3 carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 shot espresso (or 2 tsp instant espresso)
- 2 T balsamic glaze*
Brown the brisket on both sides. Using a heavy roasting pan you can cook in saves a lot of clean up. Set the brisket aside.
Add the onions to the same pan and sprinkle with salt. Cook until they begin to exude juices, deglaze the pan and start to brown.
Put the brisket on top of the onions and add the remaining ingredients.
Top with a layer of parchment paper to keep the acid in the tomatoes and vinegar from reacting with the foil you will then seal it with. It also lessens evaporation especially if you have a lid to your roaster that leaves a lot of room between the meat and the top of the lid. Braise for 1 hour at 250°F. Reduce heat to 200° F and continue to cook until internal temperature of the brisket registers 185°F -190°F. about another 2-3 hours, depending on your oven and the thickness of the piece of meat. You will finish cooking it tomorrow so you don’t want it falling apart. That makes it very hard to cut into nice even slices. Remove the meat from the juices then return the veggies and juices to the oven. Increase heat to 350°F so the mixture reduces.
Cool the meat and then thinly slice across the grain. After about 30 minutes remove the reduced pan juices from the oven and cool. Skim off the fat. If you are making this a day ahead, which I recommend, just refrigerate the sauce. The fat will rise to the top and solidify, making fat removal a piece of cake (really easy). Purée the veggies and juices together to make your sauce. An immersion blender works nicely here. Nestle the sliced brisket into the sauce, Either cover and refrigerate or reheat in a slow oven (about 225°F) until the meat starts to fall apart, a good an hour or so. Serve with the sauce and maybe some horseradish. Enjoy and eat well.
*balsamic glaze is basically reduced balsamic vinegar. If you can’t find it use 3 T of a good, sweeter balsamic vinegar. It will reduce in the oven.