Sunday, August 19, 2007

it's almost that time of the year again .....

as rosh hashanah, or the jewish new year, approaches in a few week's time, people are getting ready to decide who to invite to their dinners and what to serve. as sure as the sun rises each day, one of the staple dishes which will be served in many a home is brisket of beef. it seems every year, people are on the search for a new way to cook it yet always fall back on the tried and true.

here are a few easy, but always rewarding, recipes for that most jewish of meat dishes we love so much — the brisket. unfortunately, i don't have any pictures available at the moment .... perhaps closer to the holiday.

one thing i do have to say is that i much prefer a not too fatty second cut ("deckel") brisket over the first cut. the fat included on the second cut, when not excessive, gives tremendous flavour, something you just simply do not get from first cut. it's also a more economical cut. each to his or her own, as they say.....

for the sizes of brisket i mention in the recipes, a large brisket is a LARGE one -- the kind we use to feed 16 to 20 people. a small one will feed 4 to 6 (even 8) people and the medium, everything else in between, approx. 8 to 16 people. don't ask me about pounds, i only know from prices. the large (i.e. kosher) one will set you back a mortgage payment! LOL.

note that for all the recipes, do not overdo the salt: the kind used here is kosher salt which has a larger granulation than fine sea salt, so you may need less if using table salt. you can always add more to the remaining sauce, if needed.

super easy brisket for rosh hashanah (or any holiday)

the so called secret ingredient in this recipe is a bottle of beer (regular sized one). no, the brisket does not taste like beer once it's cooked! it does, however, taste wonderful as it cooks with the rest of the ingredients.


1 brisket, either second cut or first
1 bottle or can of beer
(you may need less for a small brisket, e.g. 2/3 c)
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
5 - 6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 - 3 tsp kosher type salt, depending on size of your brisket
(1 tsp small brisket; 2 tsp medium; 2 1/2 - 3 tsp large)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp black pepper


slice onion and garlic. set aside. measure out spices.

preheat oven to 275F.

wash brisket and dry it with paper towels.

depending on size of brisket, place it in the appropriate sized roasting pan (with a lid).

in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar with the salt and pepper and place it over the brisket and press it down onto the meat.

spread the onions on top of the brown sugar.

add the can or bottle of beer and sliced garlic around the brisket. cover the pan and cook at 275F until brisket is tender (1/2 hour per pound, usually).

boil down the liquid that remains to make a nice gravy if it is too thin.

sweet and savoury brisket

the name says it all: it's both mildly sweet and pleasantly savoury from the dijon mustard, onion soup mix and liquid smoke. the liquid smoke gives the brisket an extra nice flavour; just remember to use it cautiously as too much is just that — too much. the liquid smoke part is optional, however. the brisket is still wonderful if you don't use it.


1 brisket

1/3 c dijon mustard
1 -2 pkgs onion soup mix, depending on size of brisket
1/2 c white or red wine
3/4 - 1 tsp kosher type salt (there's salt in the onion soup mix so you don't need more)
1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 - 1/2 c honey or maple syrup
1/2 - 1 tsp [kosher] liquid smoke, optional
2 - 3 onions, thinly sliced


wash brisket and dry it well with paper towels.

in a bowl, mix the mustard with the onion soup mix and salt and pepper.

with a small knife, stab the brisket in a few places and then shmear the paste all over the brisket and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

the next day, place the sliced onions all around the brisket and then drizzle the honey all over the meat. add the wine (mixed with the liquid smoke, if using) around the edges of the meat.

cook the brisket @ 275 to 300F until cooked (usually 1/2 hour per pound).

simply plain but delicious brisket
mit tzimmes (mehren)

that standard brisket we know and remember from bubby and zaydie's, this is nothing more than a few spices and vegetables slow roasted to utter goodness. served alongside potato kugel or kasha and bowties, what could be better?


1 brisket

1 - 3 tsp kosher type salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, or more
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 - 3 thinly sliced onions
4 - 8 sliced carrots
1 sweet potato, sliced, optional
1/4 to 1/2 tsp each cinnamon & ginger powder
1/2 to 1 c pitted prunes, optional

1/3 - 1/2 c honey or brown sugar (packed), optional


lay sliced onions on bottom of roasting pan.

on a flat surface or in the roasting pan, sprinkle the meat on both sides with the spices.

add brisket on top of sliced onions. place the carrots around the brisket. the thickness of the carrots will depend upon your family's preference for their tzimmes.

add the prunes if using. add the sugar or honey on top of the carrots and prunes.

bake the brisket until done @ 275 to 300 F (1/2 hr per pound, approx).

can also be made in a slow cooker.

happy brisket making!


Ilana-Davita said...

I also make a beer brisket but add a slice of brown bread spread with mustard on both sides to the pan. It makes a nice tasty gravy.

burekaboy — said...

hi ilana-davita - welcome and thanks for the comment :)

great tip about the brown bread and mustard; i will have to try that one — i imagine it actually helps a lot to thicken the gravy without having to boil it all the way down (especially in this particular recipe as there is the liquid from the beer and juices from the brisket itself).

Ilana-Davita said...

Exactly, you don't have to worry about the sauce being too thin.