Sweet-and-Sour Brisket

Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 20 mins

When Sarah Carey, our editorial director of food and entertaining, was a kid, holiday visits to her grandparents' house often included her grandma's sweet-and-sour version of classic beef brisket. She recreated it from memory, one bite at a time, using three key ingredients: Chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar.


  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds beef brisket, fat cap trimmed to 1/4 inch thick

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil

  • 2 onions, thinly sliced (4 cups)

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup chili sauce (such as Heinz) or ketchup

  • ½ cup packed dark-brown sugar

  • cup distilled white vinegar

  • 4 large carrots (about 1 ½ pounds total), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 ¾ pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place brisket in a large, heavy-bottomed roasting pan; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high; add onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth, chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to a boil.

  2. Place roasting pan over two burners; pour in broth mixture and return to a boil. Cover pan with parchment-lined foil and roast in oven 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; roast 1 hour, 15 minutes more. Add carrots and potatoes and continue roasting, uncovered, tossing vegetables occasionally, 1 hour. Baste meat with pan juices and continue to roast, basting and tossing vegetables occasionally, until meat is tender but not falling apart, and potatoes and carrots are cooked, about 1 hour more.

  3. Transfer brisket to a cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes, then slice and serve with sauce, vegetables, and parsley.

    sweet and sour pork on serving platter
    Lennart Weibull

Cook's Notes

For an easy, satisfying meal, shred leftover meat, then reheat it in its braising liquid, toss it with penne or rigatoni pasta, and top with Parmesan and basil.

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