Some Passover briskets are trickier than others. As long as there are enough moisture and flavor components, though, you can’t go wrong. This recipe is a good entry point for cooks who haven’t made brisket before (and, by the way, we’re not talking Texas brisket). Puree the sauce ingredients, marinate the meat in them and then pop the whole thing in the oven for long, slow-roasting. It’s made for the slow cooker, too; see the VARIATION below.
The key is what happens next. If you’re making the brisket days in advance, you can easily keep the meat whole, cool it down and refrigerate or freeze it, with the sauce. The meat is easier to slice when it’s cold, in fact. Then be sure to roast it longer, so the sauce infuses each slice.
Or follow the recipe and slice the meat after the first round of oven time, then be sure to return it to the oven for the all-important second round. The meat achieves the tenderness, color and flavor you’re after.
10 to 12 servings
MAKE AHEAD: The brisket is best served after it has been refrigerated for 2 or 3 days (or frozen for up to 3 months), then reheated, covered with aluminum foil, in a 300-degree oven until warmed through.
Adapted from "The New Food Processor Bible: 30th Anniversary Edition," by Norene Gilletz (Whitecap, 2011).
5 to 6 pounds brisket, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch or less
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1 small onion, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (may substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice)
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Coca-Cola (not diet)
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease a large roasting pan.
Combine the garlic (to taste) and onion in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until minced. Add the vinegar, wine, oil, honey, cola, ketchup, salt (to taste), paprika and black pepper; process just long enough to incorporate.
Pour about a third of the sauce in the pan, then place the brisket, fat side up, on the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the brisket, making sure the meat is completely covered. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or up to 1 day.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Discard the plastic wrap and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Slow-roast for 5 hours (or about an hour per pound), until the meat is quite tender. Uncover and cool; slice and return to the pan; cover and slow-roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour. At this point, the brisket is ready to serve.
Alternatively, refrigerate the cooled, whole brisket (in the pan with its sauce). Cut into thin slices the next day, discarding any hardened fat.
VARIATION: To cook the brisket in a slow cooker, grease the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking oil spray. Place the brisket in the insert. Puree the remaining ingredients, then pour over the meat. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Return the insert to the slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW for 10 to 12 hours or until the meat is very tender.