There are two groups of people who really know how to make a brisket; pitmasters and Jews. Seeing as this is a recipe you can easily make in your kitchen, let’s classify this under the Jewish style of brisket cooking. Now, brisket has increased in price drastically in the past decade, however it used to be an extremely cheap cut of meat. This meant hours spent working it to make it tender and delicious. This onion braised beef brisket is a recipe that’s not only easy, but super tasty!
For this recipe I am using around 3 pounds of flap. Because the flat of a brisket is a thin cut of beef you can use a larger surface size and keep the cook time the same. Of course, if you try to make this with the point…you’re on your own. I suggest just making burnt ends with that part. This recipe is adapted from one published in The New Basics Cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso.
Making An Onion Braised Beef Brisket
The first thing you’ll have to do is make sure you have a large enough roasting dish for your brisket. I’m using my Emile Henry casserole dish, which fits the beef almost perfectly. Once you size your brisket, trim away the tough fat chunks with a knife. It is okay to leave a thin layer of fat as it will pretty much render out and keep your braised brisket absolutely delicious.
Like with plenty of other meat braising recipes, you’ll want to brown the meat first. Rub your brisket with salt and cracked black pepper on both sides, then lightly flour the surfaces. If the flour clumps in any areas just shake off the excess.
Heat up a large pan with a bit of neutral oil and then brown your brisket on both sides. There’s no exact time to cook each side, I just try to develop a bit of a crust as seen in the picture above. When done pull the meat out and set aside. Do not clean the pan.
Into the same pan add four onions that have been thickly sliced. I know this seems like a lot, but onions are something like 98% water and they will cook down drastically. Fry the onions until lightly browned and they’ve reduced about 50%. By the end of this recipe, they’ll be down by about 95%.
In your roasting or braising dish place down the onions and top with the meat. It may seem like there are too many onions and the meat is past the edge. This isn’t a problem, just push the meat down a bit. Don’t worry at all about crushing the onions, they are soft and pliable at this point.
Into the dish add a handful of whole garlic cloves and some peeled carrots. You can leave the greens on or take them off, up to you.
Schmear a few tablespoons of tomato paste on top of the brisket. Try to cover the edges as best you can. It may seem dry now, but the future onion braising liquid is just divine.
Cover the entire dish with two layers of foil and pinch it along the edges to create a good seal. Place the dish into an oven preheated to 175 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit and bake for about an hour to an hour and a half.
After an hour or so remove the dish from the oven and take off the foil. You will notice a TON of liquid in the dish, and it is almost entirely from the onions. If you were worried about this dish being dry, hopefully this changed your mind. Carefully lift the brisket from the dish and place onto a cutting board.
Using a sharp knife, slice the brisket into strips. If you have an electric knife it is easier to get thinner strips, however I find due to the long braising time the thicker strips are better.
Place the now sliced brisket back in the dish and nestle right into the onions. Use a spoon to baste the meat generously with the onion braising liquid. Don’t worry if some onions get on top of the meat, nothing will burn. Cover the dish with another 2 layers of foil, and place back in the oven for about 2 more hours.
To serve, carefully lift the onion braised beef brisket slices out of the dish and lay them beautifully on a plate. This meat is fall apart tender so if your only impression of brisket is tough, this will definitely change your mind. Lay down the meat on a serving dish and spoon over some of the caramelized onions, braising liquid, and the carrots. Enjoy!