Braised Brisket with Caramelized Onion Sauce


Braised Brisket-6When cooked and sliced correctly, brisket can be an extremely flavorful, fork-tender, and festive centerpiece for a Passover Seder, Rosh Hashanah, or any Jewish holiday.  It'll be the heart of the meal.  

While it takes a small chunk of time to prepare, it's well worth the effort — and you can make your brisket up to four days ahead!  This brisket only gets better as it rests in the super delicious, caramelized onion sauce.

(Whenever I make a brisket, I make sure to have leftovers to fill sandwiches, tacos, and burritos in the days that follow.)


  • 1 (approximately 3-pound) beef brisket
  • Olive oil to coat pot
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


Serves 6
Total  Prep and Cooking Time: 4 1/2 hours
Active Work Time: less than 1 hour

Heat the oven to 325 degrees and carefully use a boning knife to remove as much of the fat from the brisket as you can, without cutting into the meat. Set aside.

Braised Brisket-1

In a Dutch Oven or another oven-proof pot with a fitted lid, heat the oil over high heat on the stove.  Season the brisket with salt and pepper and then sear it in the hot oil, browning each side for about 2 minutes.  You should hear a sizzling sound when the meat hits the oil — if you don't, it's not hot enough yet.  Wait for the sizzle!  Searing the meat seals the juices in, adds flavor, and reduces the cooking time.  (If you don't have a pot large enough, you can cut the meat in half and repeat the searing process twice.)  After searing the brisket, remove it from the pot and set it aside on a plate.

Braised Brisket-2

Add the onions and garlic to the same pot, and over high heat, cook until the onions are caramelized, stirring often for about 15 minutes.  Do not worry about the bottom of the pan getting too brown — this will only add more flavor to your final dish.  The onions should be a deep, golden brown when they're done.

Deglaze the pan by adding the stock and the tomato puree.  Stir to combine, return the brisket to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil.  Immediately place the pot in the preheated oven and braise for approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Braised Brisket-3

While the brisket is braising, combine the sugar, paprika, lemon juice, and vinegar in a small bowl. At the end of the 1 1/2 hour braising time, add this combination to the pot, turn the meat over, and continue to cook for and another 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Braised Brisket-4

Remove the brisket from the pan and — using a skimmer or a spoon — remove any grease that has risen to the surface of the sauce that's still in the pot.  Reduce the sauce over medium-high heat on the stove, to thicken it slightly, about 10 minutes. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.Braised Brisket-5

Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with the sauce.

Some additional notes:

For this recipe, it's important to use beef stock and not beef broth.  Stock does not have  much — if any — salt added to it, while broth is pre-seasoned will with salt. Over the long cooking time in this recipe, the salt would intensify and become too strong.  Perfect Additions is a great brand of stock that's sold in the freezer section of the market.  It's available at Whole Foods.