How to Make Perfect Brisket for Passover
Learn how to ace Jewish-style brisket that's moist, tender, and just right for the seder table.
Brisket is often part of a traditional Passover meal and, because it can be braised ahead of time, it is a gift for the holiday cook. Many brisket recipes start with searing the meat on the stovetop, then adding aromatics and liquid—chicken stock, red or white wine, and fruit juice are just some of the options. Then the foil-covered roasting pan or Dutch oven is transferred to the oven to braise till tender. For a different method, try cooking brisket in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Choosing a Brisket
Whole brisket typically weighs 8 to 12 pounds and is sold cut into two 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, it should weigh between 3 1/2 and 5 pounds. For an extra-moist brisket, don't trim the fat.
Here we're sharing a step-by-step guide to making brisket, including the tools and ingredients you'll need. This classic rendition is oven-braised low and slow with red wine and aromatics and served with tender root vegetables that cook in the same pan.
- Roasting pan
- Aluminum foil
- Cutting board
- Serving platter
- 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
Sear the Brisket
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper. Place a roasting pan across two burners on medium-high. Heat three tablespoons oil in pan. Add brisket; sear until browned, four to five minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the Aromatics and Wine
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and minced garlic to pan; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about four minutes. (Add more oil to pan if needed.) Stir in tomato paste, and cook for one minute more. Stir in wine, and cook, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.
Add stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add the brisket to the pan, and cover with aluminum foil. Transfer to oven, and cook until meat is very tender, about two hours. Flip meat over. Add head of garlic. Cover, and roast for 30 minutes more. Add remaining vegetables to brisket, cover, and roast until meat and vegetables are tender, about one hour.
Remove and Let Rest
Transfer vegetables and garlic to a platter and meat to a cutting board, reserving pan sauce. Tent meat with foil; let rest.
Reduce the Sauce
Let sauce stand in pan for 15 minutes, then skim fat from top. Place pan across two burners over medium-high heat; cook until sauce is reduced by slightly more than half, about 20 minutes. (You should have about two cups.) Stir in the vinegar.
How to Slice Brisket
Always slice brisket against the grain. Cut thin slices and arrange on a platter with the vegetables. Season with pepper, and drizzle with some sauce. Serve immediately with remaining sauce.