- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 3 hours 15 minutes
- Serves 8 to 10
The matriarch of my family, Libbie Miller, makes a version of this recipe every year for Passover, but you can certainly enjoy this brisket on any occasion. This brisket is tender and moist, with a rich, sweet sauce that derives its flavor from paprika, slow-cooked onions, and the roasted brisket juices. —Josh Cohen
Test Kitchen Notes
The starting point for corned beef and pastrami, brisket is a tough cut that could use some tough love. Because it hails from the breast of the animal, there’s lots of collagen, which takes lots of time to melt into something supple, juicy, and holiday-worthy.
Technically speaking, brisket comes in a first cut (aka flat cut) and second cut (aka point cut). The former is leaner and easier to dry out, while the latter is fattier and harder to mess up. Which probably has you thinking: Why would anyone opt for the former, particularly for a special occasion like Passover? Because it’s what’s most readily available. And many supermarkets don’t offer the option to pick and choose. Luckily for us, a good recipe means a good brisket, no matter the cut, and that’s where this Passover-favorite method from Josh Cohen, inspired by his family's matriarch Libbie Miller, comes in.
The tangy, tomatoey braise takes at least 3 hours in the oven—emphasis on at least. If the meat isn’t buttery tender at that point, keep going and don’t rush it. The ingredients themselves are more flexible: Depending on your religious observation, if you don’t want to mix meat with the anchovies in Worcestershire sauce, you can skip it. In lieu of Tabasco, swap in your go-to, Passover-friendly kicky condiment. And if you’re looking for even more heat, why not substitute hot paprika instead of sweet? But, whatever you do, don’t skip the last step: blitzing together the braising liquid and braised onions for a sauce you’ll want to slurp by the spoonful.
Now tell us, if you celebrate Passover, what are your family’s must-have dishes? We’d love to hear in the comments below. —The Editors
Canola oil, for searing
light brown sugar
Tabasco sauce (or another spicy condiment)
Worcestershire sauce (optional)
yellow onions, sliced
garlic cloves, smashed
- Heat the oven to 300°F. Generously season the brisket with salt on all sides.
- In a large pot over high heat, pour in enough oil just to cover the bottom. When the oil begins to lightly smoke, cook the brisket undisturbed until it browns nicely on one side. Turn and brown the other side. Transfer the brisket to a large plate or rimmed baking sheet. Discard any excess oil from the pot; do not wipe out the pot.
- In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, paprika, tomato paste, Tabasco, and Worcestershire, if using, to form a paste. Cover the outside of the brisket with the paste. Return the brisket to the pot. Scatter the onions and garlic on top of the brisket. Add the water, vinegar, and bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 90 minutes. Turn the brisket in the pot, cover, and continue to bake for about 90 minutes more, until soft and very tender.
- Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the remaining ingredients in the pot (cooked onions and cooking liquid) to a blender. Blend on high speed to form a smooth purée. Taste and adjust with salt and/or vinegar as necessary.
- Slice the brisket against the grain. Pour the sauce over the brisket and serve.