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Marcia's Brisket

(recipe, Ellen Kanner)

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My mother’s brisket recipe is basic, primal, relying only on a good cut of meat and the magic of slow cooking. For the best results, cook it in a Dutch oven or a heavy-duty casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Brisket slices best when cold; it may be made a day ahead and re-heated.


  1. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 4 lb. flat-cut brisket
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  5. 3½ cups onions (about 1 pound), halved, then sliced into half-moons
  6. 1 cup water, more or less


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pour the olive oil into the Dutch oven or casserole, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Place the pan in the oven to preheat.
  2. Blot the brisket with paper towels, then rub it with the garlic cloves. Sprinkle the meat generously with kosher salt on both sides. Add ground pepper and pat into place.
  3. When the pot reaches oven temperature, add the meat, fat-side down; the brisket will sizzle. Sear in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom of the meat is well-browned. Turn the meat and brown the other side.
  4. Lift the brisket out of the pot and scatter the onions on the bottom. Let the brisket rest on top of the onions. Add about a cup of water, enough so that the water touches the brisket (the amount of water will vary based on the size of the pot).
  5. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for 2½ hours, checking occasionally. If the brisket appears to be dry, add ¼ cup of water as needed. The brisket is done when fork-tender. Allow the brisket to rest before slicing.


The cooked brisket will keep, covered and refrigerated, for several days. It freezes well, too.