Make Ahead

Sweet & Savory Brisket

September 25, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 50 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Brisket isn't just the perfect cut for summer barbecues—it's also great slow-braised with wine and apricots for a cozy cold-weather dinner. —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • 3 pounds second-cut brisket
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 medium white onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots or prunes
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 bottle of red wine (I used cabernet)
  1. Rub brisket all over with salt and pepper and allow to sit out at room temperature for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, the moisture that the salt releases from the meat should be reabsorbed into the meat. If the surface of the brisket is still beaded with moisture, allow the meat to sit out at room temperature a little longer.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat and sear brisket for 5 minutes on each side, or until a nice crust forms. After searing, remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.
  3. Melt butter in the Dutch oven and add onions, garlic, thyme, carrots, and tomato paste and cook over medium heat until onions are soft and slightly browned -- about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Return brisket to Dutch oven and add the apricots or prunes, beef stock, and red wine. The brisket should be completely submerged in liquid -- if it isn’t, add water or more stock until it is.
  5. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and cook in the oven until the meat is falling apart, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
  6. When the meat is done, remove it from the Dutch oven, set it on a platter, and cover in foil to keep it warm. Boil the liquid over medium heat until it reduces to approximately 4 cups -- this should take about 25 minutes.
  7. After it has reduced, strain the sauce through a sieve and taste it to adjust seasoning.
  8. Cut brisket against the grain in 1/4-inch strips and serve with sauce and stewed apricots or prunes, onions, and carrots.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Chaya Rappoport
    Chaya Rappoport
  • Jason Worles
    Jason Worles
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • Jennifer
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog,, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

10 Reviews

Chaya R. September 16, 2015
just made this brisket for rosh hashana and it was out of this world! melt in your mouth tender, buttery, and full of flavor from the reduced gravy. I added apple cider to the braising liquid and used fresh prune plums instead of dry. so flipping good!
Jennifer January 27, 2015
Could you tell me how to make this without using alcohol, please? I'm not sure what to substitute for the wine.
todd T. December 24, 2014
what can I use instead of a dutch oven ?? how about a roasting pan covered in foil ??
Brooke J. November 20, 2014
Made this for dinner last Friday for friends and family. Searched high and low for a second cut piece of meat with no success. (Even tried the high end butcher shop.). Used the piece which had the most fat on it. The meat was devoured between 6 people. Not a bit left. Thanks for a great recipe for my carnivores!
Jason W. November 12, 2014
I live on my own so roasting meat is tricky just for one. I post roast a 6 inch length of "rolled" brisket (tied with string) in good ale and beef stock, with quartered onion, carrot and bay leaves. Great for Sunday, leftovers on Monday, and the best beef sandwiches during the week.
jean October 13, 2014
also i used White Onions which i don't usually purchase and Organic Apricots. I also used a inexpensive Cabernet 3 oven- divine !!!!!
jean October 13, 2014
i made this tonight. It was sooooo delicious. made it with Acorn Squash Roasted. Came out just the way it looks in the picture. You have to use the right Brisket. many people are use to obtaining the one in the food store. Second cut in a butcher makes all the difference.
nancy H. October 12, 2014
Made this tonight and came out fantastic. The sauce reduced to just under 4 cups and was very favorable. Brisket tacos tomorrow night!
Sbdse September 28, 2014
Disappointed. Bought a beautiful second-cut brisket (had to go to a local meat market) and a nice Cabernet, followed the recipe to the letter. Came out strangely tasteless, even with much seasoning. Some clarification would be useful. No instruction for the onions, assumed they had to be large-diced so did so. Removed the veggies as well as the meat when taken out of the oven, tho this was also not specified. Took nearly an hour to reduce the sauce, still had about 6 cups. Anyone else experience this? The brisket was very tender, tho.
Marian B. October 1, 2014
So sorry that you didn't find the brisket flavorful! Do you think that it would be improved with more salt?

Our sauced reduced just fine when we tested it in the Food52 kitchen -- feel free to email us at [email protected] if you want to troubleshoot!