My friend’s mother’s Jewish Brisket is one we all should know how to make. This brisket recipe uses budget friendly pantry items, combined with low-and-slow cooking techniques, transforms this inexpensive cut of meat into a tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Finding comfort in food. Food, I think, is my favorite thing, Learning to make Joan Noun's, my friend’s mother's, Jewish Brisket is simple but comforting, like something you’d find on a notecard handed down through your family.
In October our book club read was Heartburn by Nora Ephron. This book is a funny, moving story of heartbreak from one of the most distinctive voices of the last 40 years–but did you know that it’s also a cookbook?
The book is sprinkled with recipes because food, love and breakups are deliciously entwined. We use it to show love, to console and to self-sooth. I’ve never been so engrossed in reading about potatoes in my life.
Planning the book club meal, my friend Pam Ottenstein proclaimed her Mother’s brisket is the best ever.
So, I teamed up with Pam to learn how to cook her mother’s Jewish perfectly juicy and tender brisket. Follow along for tips and tricks for making Joan Noun’s brisket – hands-down the best brisket dinner for two!
JUMP TO THE SECTION TO LEARN:
- HOW TO CHOOSE A BRISKET?
- COOKING FOR TWO? HERE'S HOW MUCH BRISKET YOU NEED
- TRIMMING BRISKET
- BRAISED BRISKET TIPS
- TOOLS YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE THIS JEWISH BRISKET
- JOAN NOUN'S JEWISH BRISKET INGREDIENTS
- HOW TO CARVE BRISKET
- HOW TO REHEAT
- WHAT TO SERVE WITH JEWISH BRISKET
- STORAGE TIPS AND LEFT-OVER JEWISH BRISKET IDEAS
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT JEWISH BRISKET
- RECIPE VIDEO
- RATE THE RECIPE
Check out our video in the recipe card below or on YouTube to see us in the kitchen creating this tasty dish and sharing tips and tricks on how to make this for two. Try this recipe, rate and comment. I want to know what you think!
HOW TO CHOOSE A BRISKET?
When picking a brisket, it’s all about the marbling—long streaks of white fat within the lean sections of the meat. As the brisket cooks, this intramuscular fat will melt and keep the lean meat juicy. In the end, the more marbling, the more flavorful and tender the brisket.
Butchers typically divide whole briskets into two cuts, the point and the flat. Pam recommends the “flat cut” brisket - the leaner part of the brisket, available in most supermarkets and, as its name suggests, is flatter and more uniform. Another bonus, it is easier to slice. Choose one that has the thickest and most uniformly flat you can find. Select a flat cut that is at least 1 inch thick but not thicker than 1 and ½ inches.
The flat cut still has plenty of intramuscular fat to keep the meat juicy, and it looks more appealing than the fatty point cut.
COOKING FOR TWO? HERE'S HOW MUCH BRISKET DO YOU NEED
In general, plan for ½ pound of uncooked brisket per person. The brisket will shrink as it cooks, so do not skimp on the quantity. That means a one-pound brisket would feed two people.
It’s not a bad idea to add an extra pound as leftover brisket grilled cheese makes a quick and easy weeknight meal.
In addition, the leftovers freeze exceptionally well, so don’t worry about cooking too much.
Now that you’ve chosen your brisket, it’s time to start cooking. Before you begin sprinkling on the seasoning and the steak sauces, spend a couple of minutes trimming the brisket.
- Trim away the top layer of fat until the fat is ¼ inch thick.
- Feel for any “harder” pieces of fat or gristle and trim those away entirely.
- Make a straight cut across the flat end to remove any meet that is less than 1 inch thick.
- Trim away any raggedy bits that are sticking out
BRAISED BRISKET TIPS
When brisket is done right, there is perhaps no better cut of beef to braise. It’s beefy, velvety and moist, and it slices beautifully. Brisket has a reputation for being hard to cook, for a good reason. If you cook it too quickly or at too high temperatures, the tough meat will seize up and never become tender. The good news: using a braising technique the brisket is an easy cut of meat to master.
- Add enough liquid to partially submerge the onions: This recipe uses a braising technique to cook the meat in a small amount of liquid. We’ll add just enough white wine to the bottom of our pan to cover the onions layered on the bottom, Place the brisket on top of the onions, sprinkle with seasonings and jarred sauces. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
- Bake slow-and-low. To produce fork-tender meat takes a long time—upwards of 5 hours. But more problematic is that by the time the meat is tender, it’s usually dry, too. So, braising the meat uses just enough heat to break down the collagen to tenderize the meat while keeping the heat low enough to retain moisture. For this recipe we will braise the meat in a 275-degree oven for 4- 5 hours.
- Make it ahead of time: Pam strongly recommends making your brisket a day or two ahead. It not only makes things less stressful, but cold brisket is much easier to slice. Cooling it down whole allows the juices to stay inside the meat as the brisket rests overnight, and the flavors will continue to develop in the refrigerator. That means this brisket actually gets better over time.
TOOLS YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE THIS JEWISH BRISKET
Glass Baking Dish: When cooking for two, we want to use a cooking vessel that is not too big. We recommend using glass baking dish. Just make sure to seal it firmly with aluminum foil. This recipe doesn’t use a lot of liquid, so you don’t want any to escape while the brisket cooks.
We recommend resting the brisket overnight before reheating and serving. Since you should cool the brisket whole, this is another reason we like using this 7 in X 11 in Pyrex glass baking dish. It comes with a lid so you can cover it, refrigerate overnight and reheat the brisket in the same dish.
Cutting Board: Now is a really good time to invest in a large, heavy-duty bamboo cutting board. The grooves will catch any meat juices as you slice, so you can add them back to the sauce. We like bamboo because it’s a sustainable choice, and it’s doesn’t dull your knives and feels easy to cut on.
Carving Knife (also called a slicing knife): If you have a carving knife, now’s the time to use it. Its thinner blade will cut the brisket more gently than a thicker chef’s knife would. I really like this 12 inch slicing knife.
JOAN NOUN'S JEWISH BRISKET INGREDIENTS
Brisket became a staple at Jewish holidays like Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah because it’s a kosher cut of meat that can feed many. But you don’t have to be Jewish or celebrating a holiday to enjoy Jewish brisket. It’s perfect for any dinner party or even a Sunday supper for two.
Here's what you need:
- Flat cut brisket
- White Wine
- A-1 steak sauce
- Heinz 57
- Garlic Powder
- Onion powder
- Ground pepper
- Lipton’s onion Soup mix
- White Onion
HOW TO CARVE BRISKET
This step is really important. Brisket has a ton of muscle fibers that run parallel to each other – look for the lines. That’s the “grain.” If you cut with the grain, you’ll end up with long strands of fiber that are tough and chewy, even if the brisket was perfectly cooked. When you position your knife at right angle (90º) to the grain and make perpendicular slices, you’ll shorten each muscle fiber to the length of the slice. This is what is called cutting across the grain. These shorter fibers are easier to chew, and thus more tender.
HOW TO REHEAT
This brisket is best when served the next day so, you’ll want to cool it down whole in its juices. The next day, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temp. This is especially important if you’re reheating the brisket in the glass baking dish you used to store it in the fridge. We do not want the glass baking dish to crack.
Preheat the oven to 275°. Slice the brisket into thin slices against the grain and place them back in the baking dish, along with the onions. Spoon the sauce in between the slices and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Heat the brisket until it’s warmed through, about 45 minutes.
If you prefer, you can also reheat the brisket in a slow cooker on high for about 45 minutes.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH JEWISH BRISKET
This brisket pairs perfectly with potatoes, root vegetables or grains like barley. Given we were reading Heartburn, I made Ephron’s recipe for heartache-soothing mashed potatoes along with a simple green salad with a really good garlicky Shallot Vinaigrette.
STORAGE TIPS AND LEFT-OVER JEWISH BRISKET IDEAS
Once you slice the brisket, store it in an airtight container along with the sauce to keep it from drying out. You can also freeze the sliced brisket in its sauce in airtight freezer bags. Brisket lasts for 3 to 4 days in the fridge and about 2 to 3 months in the freezer.
A family favorite is to make leftover Brisket Grilled Cheese – it’s a weeknight dinner that is sure to delight.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT JEWISH BRISKET
In traditional Jewish Cooking, brisket is most often slow-cooked in an oven for many hours at a low temperature, which helps tenderize the otherwise-tough inexpensive cut of meat.
Brisket is implicitly kosher since it is from the front of the animal
Jewish Brisket has been shaped by Jewish dietary laws (kashrut), Jewish festivals and holidays, and traditions centered around Shabbat. Popular as a holiday main course, for reasons of economics, agriculture and culinary traditions, it was historically one of the more popular cuts of beef among Ashkenazi Jews.
Brisket is commonly eaten on its own, or alongside pareve kugel, a baked casserole of potato or noodles, or matzah ball soup. The leftovers of brisket are traditionally used in a variety of ways, such as in soups or stews, as well as in sandwiches.
Jewish Brisket (My Friend's Mother's Recipe)
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- 1 lb. flat cut brisket trim any excess fat
- 1 cup white wine or more
- 1 large white onion sliced in ½ inch rings
- ¼ cup A-1 steak sauce
- ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
- ¼ cup Heinz 57 Steak Sauce
- ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion powder
- ¼ package Lipton’s dry onion soup mix
- Freshly ground pepper
- Spray baking dish with cooking oil. Layer sliced onion on the bottom of the glass baking dish. Add just enough white wine to the bottom of the pan so the onions are slightly submerged. Place the brisket on top of the onions and sprinkle with onion soup mix, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. Evenly spread A-1, Heinz 57, and Worcestershire sauces on the top of the meat.
- Cover and tightly seal with aluminum foil and bake at 275 °F for 4 – 5 hours. Test the doneness by using a fork. The fork should go in easily and the meat should start to pull apart as you lift it out of the pan.
- Let the brisket rest covered for at least ½ hour before carving. Once the brisket is carved, put back in the gravy and spoon gravy between the slices. Serve right out of the baking dish.
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