Braised Brisket Sandwiches

April 15, 2019
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

On major holidays, someone in my family always makes a brisket using onion soup mix, canned cranberry sauce, and Sauce Arturo, a unique mixture of tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, corn syrup, and seasonings. The following is my interpretation of the roast—I sear the meat, braise it until tender, shred it, then turn it into a very good sandwich. —Rebecca Firkser

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: I'm Not Religious, but I Connect With Judaism Through Food. —The Editors

  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves a crowd
  • Braised brisket
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 (3-pound) brisket, first-cut, untrimmed and sliced against the grain into 3 pieces
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (not marinara)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • Pickle chips, for sandwiches
  • Potato buns, for sandwiches
  • Coleslaw
  • 1/2 small red cabbage (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small green cabbage (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Make the brisket: Dry the meat with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or another heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Working in batches if you need room in your pan, sear the pieces of brisket on all sides until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pot. Add paprika, chili powder, and cayenne and let bloom until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and cook until translucent, then stir in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle seared brisket back into the pan, fat side up, and add just enough water to keep the meat barely submerged in the liquid.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and cook the brisket for 2 hours, checking it periodically to ensure that it’s still gently simmering and that the liquid hasn’t reduced so much that the meat is no longer barely submerged.
  4. Check the brisket for doneness by scraping a piece with a fork to see if it shreds. If it doesn’t, continue to cook the meat in 15 minute intervals until it’s tender enough to shred (this could take up to an hour). Turn off the heat and uncover the pot just barely. Let the meat cool for 30 minutes, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  5. Make the coleslaw: In a large bowl, massage sliced cabbage with vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt until the fibers have begun to break down and the cabbage softens. Toss in carrots. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and toss dressing with cabbage mixture. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  6. When you’re ready to assemble sandwiches, remove pot from the refrigerator and skim the fat from the top of the mixture (if it has chilled overnight, the fat may have solidified and can be lifted with a fork or spoon). Reheat over medium low heat for 15 minutes (or 30 if chilled overnight), then pull out the pieces of brisket and transfer to a sheet pan. Shred the meat with your fingers or two forks, discarding any excess fatty bits, then scrape meat back into the pot and continue reheating until warmed through.
  7. Make sandwiches: Pile scoops of braised brisket, coleslaw, and pickles over toasted potato buns.
  8. *If you’re trying to keep Kosher for Passover, classic potato burger buns are not going to work. They contain all purpose flour, and chametz, or items made with wheat (except for matzo), oats, rye, barley, and spelt are banned during this time. While some bakeries do make buns that are certified Kosher for Passover—like these [potato starch-based buns from Oh! Nuts](—you can also skip them and eat the brisket bowl-style over rice (if you’re not Ashkenazi and avoiding kitniyot, also known as rice, corn, and legumes) with the sandwich fixins on top. You can also wait until after Passover. If you’re not observing any of these dietary restrictions, mazel tov! Eat sandwiches!

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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. Her writing has appeared in TASTE, The Strategist, Eater, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.