This is a savory, aromatic, and yet sweet as well as tangy sour slowly cooked (for hours and hours) brisket based on traditional Ashkenazi Jewish recipes. It’s always a crowd pleaser!
Brisket is one of the tougher cuts of meat that many Jewish recipes have tamed into a tasty cut by slow cooking a well marbled cut of meat with a decent fat cap. DO NOT TRIM OFF THE FAT. The fat is necessary to help break down the toughness as it roasts turning it into a piece of meat that easily flakes apart into tender pieces that just melts in your mouth. This cut also tastes even better a day or two after it’s prepared. I searched through many recipes to come up with one of my own that appeased all my picky eaters.
This is traditionally the cut of meat that is pickled and made into Pastrami or Corned Beef brought to the U.S. by immigrants and is a traditional staple for many Jewish families for special holidays and special occasions.
SWEET & SOUR BRISKET
5-7 pound brisket, DO NOT trim fat – especially if it’s grass fed
1/4 cup avocado oil, divided
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound celery, peeled and sliced thin
one 14 ounce can tomatoes – whole, diced, or crushed OR two 8 ounce cans of crushed pineapple – see notes
5-6 peeled whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar
2 cups beef bone broth
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Rinse the brisket and pat dry.
- Rub both sides of the meat with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over a medium heat.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of avocado oil into the pan.
- Brown the brisket 5 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your brisket you it may need to be browned in parts or stages to get the whole thing browned.
- While the brisket is browning, add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and 1 ½ cups broth into a blender or food processor. If using the crushed pineapple you can just whisk it all together.
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Pulse till garlic is chopped small and all ingredients are well combined.
- Remove the browned brisket from the skillet.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons more avocado oil in the pan and add the sliced onions, sautéing them over medium high for a few minutes until they begin to soften and shrink in size.
- Add the carrot and celery slices, sauteing 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft and browning and the vegetables are fragrant.
- Transfer the vegetables out of the skillet and onto a plate, set aside.
- Add 1/2 cup beef stock into the skillet and let it heat up.
- Use a spatula to gently scrape up any brown bits and pan juices that are clinging to the skillet. Turn off heat.
- Pour half of the tomato mixture into a large roasting pan, ceramic if you have one that large.
- Place brisket on top of sauce, fat cap facing up.
- Pour the sauteed vegetables across the top of the brisket, along with the broth and brown bits.
- Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the vegetables and brisket.
- Cover the roasting pan tightly with a strong layer of parchment paper followed by a layer of foil. The parchment forms a protective layer between the meat and sauce (which is acidic) and the foil. If you have a ceramic roaster with a glass lid you can skip the parchment and foil step.
- Place brisket in the oven and roast COMPLETELY undisturbed for 5 to 7 hours. It will take about 1 hour per pound of meat (leaner cuts, especially grass fed may take longer—test for desired doneness). Brisket is ready when it flakes tenderly when pierced with a fork. You can let it cook even longer for a soft, shredded texture if that’s what you prefer. When fully cooked, the brisket will have shrunk considerably in size. Remove brisket from the pan and let it rest on the cutting board fat-side up for 20-30 minutes.
- Pour the sauce and vegetables from the roasting pan into a smaller saucepan.
- Skim fat from the surface of the cooking sauce, then SLOWLY simmer the sauce until hot DO NOT BOIL.
- Cut fat cap off the brisket, then cut the brisket in thin slices against the grain.
- Serve topped with the warmed sauce and veggies.
This is delicious immediately, but I highly recommend making this recipe a couple days in advance because the brisket just gets so much more flavorful as it sits.
DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING AHEAD
- When brisket comes out of the oven, open the foil to vent and let the brisket slowly return to room temperature.
- Switch the brisket and sauce to a ceramic or glass dish (metal from the roasting pan can react with the acid in the sauce, which can cause an off taste if left to sit).
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Let the brisket chill overnight, or up to two days. You can also freeze the brisket if you prefer.
- 1-2 hours before serving, remove the brisket from the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 350°.
- The fat in the sauce will have risen to the top, turned white, and solidified. Use a spoon to scoop the fat bits out of the sauce and discard.
- Take the brisket out of the dish and brush any excess sauce back into the dish.
- Place brisket on a cutting board, fat-side up.
- Cut the fat cap off the brisket and then cut the brisket into thin slices against the grain.
- Return the sliced meat to the dish and spoon sauce over it, making sure to spoon a little sauce between each slice.
- Cover the dish with a layer of parchment paper, then with foil or better yet a glass lid, and place it in the oven.
- Let the brisket roast for 45-60 minutes until heated through.
- It can also be reheated in a slow cooker on high heat for 1 hour.
- Tomatoes are more savory, pineapple is sweeter, but they both contribute to the sweet & sour name.