Classic Beef Brisket

Braised in an aromatic tomato broth, this Jewish holiday staple tastes even better the next day.

  • Serves

    serves 6-8

  • Cook

    4 hours 45 minutes


By Kelly Alexander

Updated on December 8, 2023

“I remember being really happy the day Melissa Hamilton (SAVEUR’s former food editor), and Julia Lee (then test-kitchen director) were making my grandmother’s brisket in the test kitchen,” says former SAVEUR staffer Kelly Alexander. “The whole staff loved it and chowed down. I was hoping for leftovers, but there were none.” The resulting recipe, and Alexander’s feature about the iconic braise that helped define her identity as a Southern Jew, appeared in our April 2004 issue. And though her grandmother Lil passed away four years later, the brisket lives on. “Every year on Jewish holidays I still get emails from SAVEUR subscribers about how it’s become a family staple for them too,” says Alexander, now a food anthropologist. “When people make this recipe, they pay my mema the best kind of respect.”


  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 5-lb. beef brisket, preferably a flat cut, trimmed of any large pieces of fat
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 12 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 14 ½-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the oregano, paprika, pepper, and salt, then rub all over the brisket.

Step 2

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers, then add the brisket and sear until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and set aside.

Step 3

Pour off and discard the rendered fat from the pot, then return the pot to medium-high heat and add the stock, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add the brisket and its accumulated juices, and scatter the onions and garlic atop the meat. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook for 1 hour. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the onions begin to melt, about 1 hour more. Push some of the onions and garlic into the braising liquid surrounding the brisket. Cover the pot again, and continue cooking until the meat is very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 2 hours more.

Step 4

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil. The onions and garlic that remain in the pot should be very soft, and the braising juices rich and saucy. If the juices are watery, return the pot to the stovetop and simmer over medium heat until the juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Step 5

To serve, slice the brisket against the grain, transfer to a serving platter, and spoon the vegetables and sauce on top.

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