Passover

Braised Brisket Sandwiches

June 28, 2021
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

It's easier than you'd think to make homemade brisket sandwiches and coleslaw. This recipe will prove the version you make at home is far better than anything you can order at a store or restaurant. It takes a little planning ahead to put together, but the end result is well worth it. To make the brisket, all you need is just one pot, and you can even make it ahead of time since it can hang out in the fridge overnight, so it'll be ready to go the next day. The savory combination of shredded braised brisket, crisp coleslaw, and pickles packed in hearty potato buns will be simply irresistible. Any time you have family or friends over to watch a game or other event, this recipe is definitely going to be your go-to. There's no better time than now to make brisket at home.

Note: 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!

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

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves a crowd
Ingredients
  • Braised brisket
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3-pound) brisket, first-cut, untrimmed and sliced against the grain into 3 pieces
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (not marinara)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Pickle chips, for assembly
  • Potato buns, for assembly
  • 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, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the brisket: Pat the meat dry with paper towels; season liberally with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the oil. Working in batches if needed, sear the pieces of brisket on all sides until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Into the same pot, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chili powder, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, then stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, pomegranate juice, vinegar, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle the 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 the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook the brisket, 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, for 2 hours.
  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 1 hour). Remove from the heat and just barely uncover the pot. Let the meat cool for 30 minutes, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  5. Make the coleslaw: In a large bowl, massage the cabbage with the vinegar and 1 tablespoon kosher salt until the fibers have begun to break down and the cabbage softens. Toss in the carrots. In a small bowl, whisk the shallot, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery salt; season with kosher salt and pepper and toss the dressing with the cabbage mixture. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  6. When you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, skim the fat from the top of the brisket 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 the meat back into the pot and continue reheating until warmed through.
  7. Pile scoops of braised brisket, coleslaw, and pickles over toasted potato buns.

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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. She tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.

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