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
- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 3 hours 15 minutes
- Serves 8 to 10
3 1/2 pounds
light brown sugar
Tabasco sauce (or another spicy condiment)
Worcestershire sauce (optional)
yellow onions, sliced
garlic cloves, smashed
- Season the brisket aggressively with salt on all sides. Set a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat, and add just enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil begins to lightly smoke, add the brisket and let it cook undisturbed until it browns nicely on one side. Flip it and brown the other side. Remove the brisket to a large plate or rimmed baking sheet. Discard the excess oil from the pot, and set the pot aside for a moment. Do not wash the pot.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a mixing bowl, add the paprika, brown sugar, tomato paste, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix to form a paste. Cover the outside of the brisket in this paste. Return the brisket to the pot. Scatter the onions and garlic on top of the brisket. Add the water, bay leaf, and cider vinegar. Set the pot over high heat. When the water begins to boil, place a lid on top of the pot and transfer the pot to the oven.
- Cook the brisket with the lid on for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, flip the brisket over in the pot and then continue cooking with the lid on for an additional 90 minutes. When the brisket is finished cooking, it should be soft and very tender.
- Remove the brisket from the oven. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the remaining contents of the pot (cooked onions and cooking liquid) to a blender, and blend on high until the mixture becomes a smooth purée. Taste this sauce, and adjust the flavor with salt and/or cider vinegar as necessary. Slice the brisket against the grain, pour the pureed sauce over the brisket, and serve.