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Brisket 101

Brisket is often part of a traditional Passover meal. This rendition is oven-braised low and slow with red wine and aromatics; the meal is completed by a head of garlic and tender root vegetables.

Tools and Materials

  • Roasting pan
  • Foil
  • Serving platter
  • Cutting board
  • 1 first cut of beef brisket (5 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 head, halved horizontally
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 4 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves, plus more fresh for garnish if desired
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and halved
  • 20 baby carrots (about 8 ounces), peeled and stems trimmed to 1/2 inch
  • 10 ounces red pearl onions, peeled(about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Brisket 101 How-To

1. Whole brisket typically weighs 8 to 12 pounds and is sold cut into 2 pieces -- the first (or flat) cut and the second (or point) cut. Select a first cut that's evenly thick with a cap of fat on one side. For an extra-moist brisket, don't trim the fat.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper. Place a roasting pan across 2 burners on medium-high. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in pan. Add brisket; sear until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

3. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and minced garlic to pan; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 4 minutes. (Add more oil to pan if needed.) Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in wine, and cook, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.

4. Add stock and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Add the brisket to the pan, and cover with foil. Transfer to oven, and roast until meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Flip meat over. Add head of garlic. Cover, and roast for 30 minutes more.

5. Add remaining vegetables to brisket, cover, and roast until meat and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Transfer vegetables and garlic to a platter and meat to a cutting board, reserving pan sauce. Tent meat with foil; let rest.

6. Let sauce stand in pan for 15 minutes, then skim fat from top. Place pan across 2 burners over medium-high heat; cook until sauce is reduced by slightly more than half, about 20 minutes. (You should have about 2 cups.) Stir in vinegar.

7. Thinly slice brisket against the grain. Arrange slices on a platter with the vegetables. Season with pepper, and drizzle with some sauce. Serve immediately with remaining sauce.