The Washington Post

High Holiday Brisket

High Holiday Brisket 10.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Aug 30, 2021

Food writer Olga Massov adapted this brisket recipe from her mother-in-law, who got it from her mother-in-law, who serves it during the High Holidays and Passover. Despite its commonplace ingredients -- ketchup, carrots, onions -- the sum of the parts is exceptional. Massov added a few touches: beef stock, and onion and garlic powders for more intense flavor. Massov prefers to season her brisket overnight, but if you’re in a rush, you can skip this step. A 5-pound brisket is the largest size that will fit in an 8-quart Dutch oven. If working with a larger brisket, use a roasting pan and cover tightly with heavy-duty foil.

If making this brisket for Passover, be sure to use a kosher-for-Passover ketchup.

To make the brisket in a slow cooker, see VARIATION

Active time: 1 hour 15 mins; Total time: 6 hours

Make Ahead: The brisket is best if cured in salt and pepper overnight before baking. The brisket should be cooked, sliced and chilled at least 1 day before serving.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

10 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10-12 servings

  • One (5-pound) beef brisket, preferably the point cut (see NOTE)
  • 1 tablespoon table or fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil or another neutral oil
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced or finely grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 to 5 medium yellow onions (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup no-sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups ketchup, preferably Heinz low-sodium
  • 2 pounds whole baby gold potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish


Pat the brisket dry and season with the salt and pepper. If you have time, cover and refrigerate overnight, otherwise, let the meat sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.

Heat an 8-quart, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or until a sprinkle of water immediately evaporates when it hits the surface. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Set the brisket in the pot and sear, without moving it, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Be patient and resist the urge to move the brisket sooner; generously burnished meat will deliver more flavor.

Transfer the brisket to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Let it rest until it's cool enough to touch. Then, rub the fresh garlic into the meat and sprinkle it with the onion and garlic powders.

While you're waiting for the brisket to cool, add half the onions and carrots to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until the onions soften and start to color, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the stock to the pot. Place the brisket on top, then cover with the remaining onions (it’s okay if some of them fall off), and scatter the remaining carrots around the brisket. Add the water and pour the ketchup over everything. If you have one, stick a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. (Otherwise, you can use a digital thermometer to periodically check the internal temperature of the meat.)

Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 3 hours. Add the potatoes and return to the oven for 1 1/2 hours more, until the meat reaches 200 degrees. Both the meat and the vegetables should be tender.

Transfer to a heatproof surface and let cool for no longer than 2 hours, then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, position the oven rack in the middle and preheat to 350 degrees. Remove the Dutch oven from the refrigerator and skim off any solid fat from the top of the meat, vegetables and pan juices.

Transfer the brisket to a large cutting board. Slice the meat against the grain into 1/3- to 1/2-inch slices. Transfer the potatoes and half of the carrots (if some onions sneak in there, that’s fine) to a large bowl.

Set the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and warm pan juices, carrots and onions until simmering. Remove from the heat and, using an immersion blender, puree until mostly smooth; then transfer half of the sauce to a roasting pan.

Lay the sliced brisket over the sauce, slightly overlapping the slices, then scatter the potatoes and carrots around the meat. Cover the roasting pan and heat the brisket for 40 to 50 minutes, until warmed through.

While the brisket warms up, in a small pot over low heat, bring the remaining sauce to a simmer; keep warm.

Arrange the brisket, vegetables and sauce on a serving platter, garnish with the parsley and serve, with the warmed sauce on the side.

NOTE: Brisket comes in two cuts: the flat, or first cut, is lean. The point is thicker, has more marbling and is generally more tender.

VARIATION: To make this brisket in a slow cooker, follow the cooking instructions up to browning the onions, then transfer all the ingredients, including the potatoes, to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Follow the chilling, slicing and reheating instructions above. For a 5-pound brisket, you'll need an 8-quart slow cooker; adjust the ingredients accordingly if your slow cooker is smaller.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from food writer Olga Massov’s mother-in-law, Shelley Freedman.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (1/3 pound meat plus vegetables and sauce, based on 12): 718

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 37g 57%

Saturated Fat: 13g 65%

Cholesterol: 202mg 67%

Sodium: 736mg 31%

Total Carbohydrates: 37g 12%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 16g

Protein: 59g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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