Braised Brisket Flat


Chris Allingham

Staff member
My dear mother-in-law makes this braised brisket on special occasions, especially for Christmas dinner each year. I don't know if it tastes so good because of the recipe, or because of the love that goes into it! So you'll have to add your own love and see how it comes out.


Braised Brisket Flat
  • Brisket flat, 5-6 pounds, with just a little fat left on the fat side
  • 1 white onion, cut into slices and separated into rings
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • paprika
  • boiling water
You'll need a shallow roasting pan and aluminum foil to cover the pan.

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Season brisket on all sides with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Place fat side up in roasting pan. Top with a little paprika for color and a generous amount of the onion.

Place uncovered in 400*F oven without any liquid in the pan. Cook 30-45 minutes, until onions are very dark.

Reduce heat to 325*F.

(Optional step: Add more onions and/or canned mushrooms to the pan and cook another 15 minutes before proceeding to the next step.)

Add boiling water to cover bottom of pan, maybe 1 cup (less if you added mushrooms). Cover with foil and cook 2-1/2 to 3 hours until fork-tender. Check occasionally to make sure water isn't running dry, and add a little boiling water, if necessary.

When fork tender, let brisket cool, then refrigerate overnight. Next day, slice across the grain while still cold (easy if you have an electric knife). Put sliced brisket back in roasting pan with its natural juices.

To serve, cover with foil, warm at 350*F for 45-60 minutes.

Put a few slices on your plate, spoon on some of the juices and onions (and maybe mushrooms). Serve with scalloped potatoes and other favorite sides of your choice.




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On PBS once I saw a show about traditional Jewish cooking. They interviewed a bunch of folks about how they made their brisket. There were minor variations, but they all seemed to use the same basic recipe. We tried out this basic recipe on my brother in law, who is Jewish and born and raised in the Bronx. He about cried when he tasted it, said it was just like his mom used to make.

The recipe and techniques is similar to Chris' above. It sounds like an odd combo of ingredients, but somehow it just works. We've made this a number of times and it's always delicious.

1 Brisket flat.
1 envelope of dry Lipton onion soup mix
1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce (it's a sweet chili sauce, not spicy at all, more like a chunky ketchup)
1 can of Coca Cola.

In a shallow baking pan rub the brisket with the Lipton Onion soup mix. Any extra soup mix just dump in the bottom of the pan.

Add the entire bottle of Heinz Chili sauce, and the can of Coke. Well OK, just the Coke and not the can!

Seal tightly with foil and cook at 350 unitl tender, basting the brisket occasionally.

As with Chris' recipe above, it's better the next day. Let it cool and put in the refrigerator overnight. Slice across the grain cold and reheat in the cooking liquid.

It's really good!
I can vouch for the authenticity of that one. Though my mom never added the chili sauce or the Coke, she did use the soup mix, and a can of something else I can't remember. A friend adds a can of cranberry sauce. (My mom always said that a recipe was too complicated if it involved opening more than three cans!)
Well folks I can see how the recipe Henry Joe posted would be authentic. Chris is also right. There's something about brisket that just means family to me.

I learned to make brisket from my grandmother, who was from South Philadelphia, and her method predates Lipton soup mix and maybe even Coke by quite a bit.

She cooked it in a pot. I've been told this was because her oven wasn't large enough to get a whole brisket in but I've never been able to tell for sure. My aunts and Mom still cook it this way.

It's also one of the first things I was able to help out cooking. Peeling the onion skin, peeling the carrots, eventually chopping the onions, the carrots and the celery. I guess you could say it's one of the first things I ever cooked so it set me on my way.

Not sure I could give away the family recipe without being disowned (not that I'm certain my Mom and Aunts have given me the full family recipe. It may take one more grandchild for that to happen) but here's the basic idea.

Take a well trimmed brisket flat salt it and pepper it on both sides. Turn your range on high. Put the brisket in the hot pan until it's seared on both sides. Remove.

Leave the fat in the pot and keep it heated to the point of just smoking. Add " a whole bunch " of coarsely chopped onions, celery and carrots. Saute, or as my grandmother used to say "just mix it around a bunch" until the vegetables are soft but not limp.

Put the brisket in the pot and add enough beef boulion to cover the top of the brisket by about 1/4 ". Bring the liquid to a boil then turn it down to a simmer. Add a bay leaf. Cover the pot tightly.

Simmer it for many hours until the brisket is soft. Check the liquid once an hour or so to make sure it still covers the meat. If it doesn't add more water.

After you remove the briket let it rest before sliicng. Also, turn up the heat and while stiring reduce the liquid and (what's left of) the vegetables in the pan until thickened. Serve this as a gravy to go over the brisket.

There are variations to this recipe, a notable one is marinating in wine and substituting wine for the bouilion, (but who had money to cook with wine back around the turn of the last century in South Philly?) but that's the basic one. Hope someone out there has some fun with it.

If I ever get the full family recipe I'll be certain to post (most
) of it here for you all.
Well i just love brisket done on the WSM. But after reading these fine recipes you guys are making very hard on me not to try brisket done like this. Thanks for all the recipes sounds like a winner to me.
The current issue of Cooks Illustrated has a fabulously complicated recipe for braised brisket. I don't have an electronic subscription, otherwise I'd post the recipe here. It looks good, but seems pretty involved.
As soon as this is available online, I will post it for you. Don't feel like retyping the whole thing. Currently, they don't have the Jan. 2005 issue online.

Here's my version:

1 4-5 pound beef brisket, flat cut, fat removed
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 huge onions, sliced into rings
1 cup red wine, dry
1/2 c. soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper meat and brown on both sides in large roasting pan on stovetop, using two burners if necessary.

Add remaining ingredients to pan, slathering meat with the garlic on both sides. Cover and bake in a 350 oven for 3 hours, adding more liquid if necessary. Cool, best refrigerated overnight and then slice across grain to serve.

Although I make this now in my 8qt. pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 70 minutes, you can also cook this on the stove for the same amount of time as in the oven.

In keeping with the theme of this thread I offer a version that I have done many times with rave reviews. It is an Emeril recipe that is one of the best.

8 to 10 pound brisket
Garlic cloves
1 quart beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
3 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup ketchup
1 cup chili sauce
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Using a paring knife and your finger, stuff brisket all over with garlic. Place brisket in a baking dish or casserole and bake until browned on top, remove from oven, turn brisket and return to oven until browned on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Add enough beef stock to casserole to come up 1 inch on sides, cover with foil and bake one hour.

While brisket is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and saute onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Remove brisket from oven after one hour and add caramelized onions and all remaining ingredients, moving meat around to combine ingredients. Cover and continue to bake until very tender but not falling apart, another 2 to 3 hours. Remove brisket to a carving board and slice. Strain reserved cooking liquids and pour over sliced brisket. Brisket may be returned to casserole dish and allowed to cool, then served the next day. (Reheated in oven.)

Brisket is better if made a day in advance.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Here you go Henry. This is the recipe from Cook's Illustrated I promised to post as soon as it became available:

From the Article(s): Moist and Tender Braised Brisket--

Onion-Braised Beef Brisket
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This recipe requires a few hours of unattended cooking. It also requires advance preparation. After cooking, the brisket must stand overnight in the braising liquid that later becomes the sauce; this helps to keep the brisket moist and flavorful. Defatting the sauce is essential. If the fat has congealed into a layer on top of the sauce, it can be easily removed while cold. Sometimes, however, fragments of solid fat are dispersed throughout the sauce; in this case, the sauce should be skimmed of fat after reheating. If you prefer a spicy sauce, increase the amount of cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon. You will need 18-inch-wide heavy-duty foil for this recipe. If you own an electric knife, it will make easy work of slicing the cold brisket. Good accompaniments to braised brisket include mashed potatoes and egg noodles.

Serves 6 1 beef brisket , 4 to 5 pounds, flat cut preferred
table salt and ground black pepper
vegetable oil
3 large onions (about 2 1/2 pounds), halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 medium cloves of garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry red wine
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons cider vinegar (to season sauce before serving)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Line 13 by 9-inch baking dish with two 24-inch-long sheets of 18-inch-wide heavy-duty foil, positioning sheets perpendicular to each other and allowing excess foil to extend beyond edges of pan. Pat brisket dry with paper towels. Place brisket fat side up on cutting board; using dinner fork, poke holes in meat through fat layer about 1 inch apart. Season both sides of brisket liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until oil just begins to smoke. Place brisket fat side up in skillet (brisket may climb up sides of skillet); weight brisket with heavy Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet and cook until well browned, about 7 minutes. Remove Dutch oven; using tongs, flip brisket and cook on second side without weight until well browned, about 7 minutes longer. Transfer brisket to platter.

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan (or, if brisket was lean, add enough oil to fat in skillet to equal 1 tablespoon); stir in onions, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute; add tomato paste and cook, stirring to combine, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over onions and cook, stirring constantly, until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add broth, wine, bay, and thyme, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan; bring to simmer and simmer about 5 minutes to fully thicken.

4. Pour sauce and onions into foil-lined baking dish. Nestle brisket, fat side up, in sauce and onions. Fold foil extensions over and seal (do not tightly crimp foil because foil must later be opened to test for doneness). Place in oven and cook until fork can be inserted into and removed from center of brisket with no resistance, 3 1/2 to 4 hours (when testing for doneness, open foil with caution as contents will be steaming). Carefully open foil and let brisket cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Transfer brisket to large bowl; set mesh strainer over bowl and strain sauce over brisket. Discard bay and thyme from onions and transfer onions to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap, cut vents in plastic with paring knife, and refrigerate overnight.

6. About 45 minutes before serving, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. While oven heats, transfer cold brisket to cutting board. Scrape off and discard any congealed fat from sauce, then transfer sauce to medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until warm, skimming any fat on surface with wide shallow spoon (you should have about 2 cups sauce without onions; if necessary, simmer sauce over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 cups). While sauce heats, use chef's or carving knife to slice brisket against grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices, trimming and discarding any excess fat, if desired; place slices in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Stir reserved onions and vinegar into warmed sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over brisket slices, cover baking dish with foil, and bake until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

To Make and Serve the Brisket on the Same Day
If you would like to make and serve the brisket on the same day, after removing the brisket from the oven in step 4, reseal the foil and let the brisket stand at room temperature for an hour. Then transfer the brisket to a cutting board and continue with the recipe to strain, defat, and reheat the sauce and slice the meat; because the brisket will still be hot, there will be no need to put it back into the oven once the reheated sauce is poured over it.