No Jewish holiday is complete without a tender, braised brisket at the center of the table. From Rosh Hashanah to Passover to Hanukkah to any ol’ Shabbat, brisket is always a star main dish.
What sets a classic Jewish-style brisket apart from other preparations? It’s typically sweeter and incorporates some sort of tomato product.
What Makes This Brisket Special?
Like any traditional recipe, it’s going to vary from family to family, grandmother to grandmother, and so on. What most Jewish-style briskets share in common is a sweet component in the braising liquid.
In this Jewish brisket, I rely on ketchup and brown sugar to add a touch of sweetness, but other recipes might call for white sugar, chili sauce, or even Coca-Cola. To contrast the sweetness, I like to incorporate a generous glug of red wine. It provides ample acidity for the braise—plus, it gives it a rich, dark color. If you don’t have any on hand, you can swap for beef broth.
How to Make Jewish Brisket
If cooking a 5-pound piece of meat feels intimidating, don’t worry. This recipe is no different from any other braise.
All you’re doing is searing a large piece of meat, sweating down some aromatics (onions, garlic, and celery), and adding a few liquids (crushed tomatoes, ketchup, and red wine) along with bay leaves, fresh thyme, and brown sugar.
Once it’s all in the pot, it goes straight into the oven for 3 hours where the magic happens. The low, slow cooking method yields moist, tender, and flavorful meat.
I prefer to add in the carrots towards the very end of the braising time because to me, there’s nothing more off-putting than an overly softened carrot. By only braising the carrots for a quick 30 minutes, they’re able to soften slightly without turning into baby food.
Make It Ahead
This brisket is even better made ahead so that the flavors can really mesh. The fat is also easier to remove once it’s solidified.
If you plan to make this in advance, be sure to let the brisket cool completely before sealing it in an airtight container and storing in the fridge. Keep in mind that you’ll need about an hour to warm it back up in the oven when it comes time to serve it.
How to Serve Jewish Brisket
Whether you’re making this for a holiday or a casual weekend supper, serve this brisket with your favorite potato side dish, kugel, or a refreshing slaw.