Our Favorite Holiday Brisket
Last night was the beginning of Hanukkah, and one of our favorite family traditions is making this fabulous Tangy Spiced Brisket to celebrate. The original recipe by Smitten Kitchen has become our go-to over the years. Brisket is a common cut of meat to cook for Jewish holidays, but can often come out tough and overcooked. This recipe produces a flavorful, juicy brisket every time! Lisa has added her own tweaks like using a little less sugar than called for, omitting the chili sauce, and adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to give the finished dish more zing. She notes the recipe is very forgiving and it never disappoints. She's even made it in her Instant Pot!
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to your heat preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
- 1 cup ketchup* (If you are strictly kosher, look for ketchup without corn syrup)
- 1 cup chili sauce* (optional; Heinz brand is not spicy)
- 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 8 to 10 pound Stemple Creek Ranch Beef Brisket
- Prepare the sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most of liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add halved garlic cloves and saute for 3 minutes more. Stir in spices and seasoning (paprika, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, cayenne, oregano and thyme) and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the beef stock, ketchup, chili sauce (if using) and brown sugar. Don’t worry if the brown sugar is lumpy, the acidity of the ingredients will quickly break it down.
- If making in a slow cooker (highly recommended): Place brisket in a slow cooker, spread onion mixture over the top, then pour sauce mixture over the entire dish. Cover with the lid and cook on LOW for 10 hours. (Start it before you go to bed, and process it in the morning to rest over the course of the day in the fridge.)
- If baking in oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place brisket in a baking dish or casserole, spread onion mixture over the top, then pour sauce mixture over the entire dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until very tender but not falling apart, about 3 to 4 hours.
- For both methods, rest the dish: When the brisket is cooked but still hot, use a spoon to scrape off any large fat deposits adhered to the top and bottom of the brisket. (This part is easiest to do when hot. The sauce will be de-fatted after it has chilled.)
- If you’re using a slow cooker, transfer the brisket and all of its sauce to a baking dish. If you’ve baked it in the oven, you can continue in that same dish. Chill entire dish in the fridge for several hours and up to one day; this resting time will significantly enhance the flavor and texture of the meat.
- An hour before you’re ready to serve: Preheat oven to 300°F, and remove the dish from the fridge. Remove all of the fat that has solidified with a slotted spoon for a less oily finish. Carefully remove the meat from its sauce and place on a large cutting board. Cut the brisket into 1/2-inch slices. *If you like a smoother sauce transfer it to a blender and puree.
- Carefully place the sliced meat (moving in large sections with a spatula helps keep it together) back into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the meat. Replace the lid or cover the dish tightly with foil and reheat in the oven until it is bubbling at the edges — this usually takes up to to 30 minutes.
- Savor and enjoy with family and friends!