When I decided to make surprise Hanukkah dinner tonight, I knew I wanted to make latkes and dessert, but what to make for a main dish…? I’ve never made brisket before, but I don’t live under a rock. I know that this cut of meat is beloved by Jewish bubbes and Texas pit-masters alike. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever made a brisket before, but tonight seemed like the perfect night to give it a whirl!
Brisket is a cut that comes from the chest of the cow. It is a tough cut of meat, with a lot of connective tissue to support the cow’s weight. Hence, it requires a long, low, slow method of cooking to tenderize it sufficiently. Those Texas pit-masters like to smoke over low heat for long periods of time, but Jewish cooks traditionally braise it. We love any kind of braised meats, as we’ve mentioned a few times (check out our Braised Balsamic Pork with Grapes, Kimchi Braised Chicken with Noodles, Red Wine Braised Beef, or Braised Chicken Thighs with Middle Eastern Spices).
This recipe is an interesting mix of sweet and savory. The honey and balsamic add sweetness that balances out the meat and onions. The meat comes out so tender, but the sauce and vegetables really make it. I’m not going to lie – I think I actually liked the onions and the carrots even better than the meat.
Wine & Honey Brisket
(Minimally adapted from Leite’s Culinara, recipe originating from Modern Jewish Cooking)
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 3 1/2 – 4lb brisket
- Salt & fresh ground black pepper
- 3 medium onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup + 1 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 6 large whole carrots or a few handfuls of baby carrots
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Generously season both sides of the brisket with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides, several minutes per side.
- Remove the brisket from the dutch oven and set to the side.
- Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of red wine. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for ~ 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the other cup of red wine with honey, remaining 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and stock.
- Nestle the carrots under the onions. Then place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the wine and honey mixture over top.
- Cover and place in the oven. Braise for 2 hours. After those 2 hours, stir the vegetables and flip the meat. Re-cover and braise for another 2 hours.
- Remove the brisket from the dutch oven. Place on a cutting board and tent foil overtop. Allow to rest for ~15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, return the dutch oven to the stovetop. Simmer the pan sauce and reduce it while the meat is resting.
- After resting, slice the brisket on the perpendicular. Serve with the onions, carrot, and topped with pan sauce.