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My Brisket Needs Help!

Earlier this year for Passover, I made brisket for the first time using my lovely Le Creuset dutch oven. I used Joan Nathan’s recipe called “My Mother’s Brisket”.


The meat came out very nice and my guests raved about it, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with it and it’s been bothering me ever since. The overall taste was good, but I felt that it was much too “vinegar-y”. I guess what it comes down to is that I like a brisket that is sweeter. The recipe calls for white vinegar. If I used a different kind of vinegar, would that make a difference?

I realize that most people aren’t thinking about braised meats with this hot weather (I live in NYC where it’s going to be 101 today!), but I’m having a baby in 8 weeks and I want make a the brisket in the next few weeks to stick in my freezer (my almost 2 year old daughter loves it!). Plus, I want to fine tune my recipe so that I think it’s perfect for next Passover.

What I’m looking for is either a way to improve upon this recipe or find another recipe for the brisket. I’m also open to a more savory type of brisket too.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. Instead of vinegar I used pomegranite juice - and it cam out delightful -

    1. You can also use apple juice. My typical brisket is red wine and a little soy sauce, lots of onion and garlic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: personalcheffie

        Vinegar comes in different acidity. White vinegar such as Heinz is 5%. Some vinegars has much as 10%. I think even if you use white vinegar as she called for, the brisket will have some that tartness. If you don't like that taste, I would use a recipe from one of her other books. Or you might add a little sugar to balance the acidity.

      2. Cider vinegar is less sharp than plain old white vinegar, so that might help you. For "kosher-style" brisket, I sometimes add a little pineapple juice-- adds sweetness, tartness and is a natural tenderizer.

        1. I use the Junior's Deli recipe which uses no vinegar. Just braise with carrots and garlic (after s&p the meat). They cook at 270F for an hour a pound. Their "secret" is to remove the top of the dutch oven or pan for the last hour to allow some roasting flavor to develop - they spoon the liquid over the top every fifteen minutes during that time to not allow it to get too dry.

          1. This is my grandmother's recipe. I've never made it any other way, but it always disappears! Chop two onions and some carrots (I use a 1 lb. bag of baby carrots) and put in the bottom of a greased roasting pan. Salt, pepper, and paprika the brisket on both sides and lay on top of the vegetables with the fat side facing up. And now, the secret ingredient...pour ketchup (I always use Heinz) over the top of the brisket. Cover the pan with foil and cook at 300 degrees for at least four hours, depending on the size of the brisket. The house smells incredible! I usually cook it the day before and chill it. This way, the next day you can lift off all the fat, slice the brisket while it's cold, and then reheat it in the juices/vegetables. Good luck with the brisket and your new baby as well!

            1. Always have brisket in the freezer (next to the short ribs) and freezing individual portions will make the first few months after birth more enjoyable. Below is the recipe we use on P'over.

              (Recipe is per Brisket; each brisket gets its own bag)

              11⁄2 Large Onions
              1 large can tomatoes mashed with potato masher (we use Italian plum with basil)
              1⁄2 bottle cooking sherry
              4-5 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
              ~ 1/3 C. Ketchup
              1⁄4 cup fat free/low sodium chicken broth
              2 cloves garlic minced
              Salt, pepper, garlic, paprika
              Bay Leaf

              1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
              2. Salt, pepper, garlic and paprika the meat.
              3. Place meat in bag with other items in “Turkey Size” Reynolds Cooking Bag (follow directions for holes in top of bag) and place bag in a roasting pan
              4. Bake for 2-3 hours
              5. Remove from oven
              6. Remove meat from bag and allow to cool on a cutting board for ~20 minutes; Dump juices into the roasting pan
              7. Slice meat against the grain and place back into juices in roasting pan and cover with tin foil.
              Return to oven for 30 minutes.

              Freezing the meat and defrosting makes for an incredibly tender brisket.

              Good luck with the baby.

              1. Thanks for the responses. The suggestion of adding pineapple juice reminded me that I have an easy and delicious recipe for short ribs and maybe that will also make a great brisket.

                I will have to do some experimenting and try the different varieties over the next several months.

                1. I saw a TV show with Julia Child and Jacques Pepin on favorite brisket recipes of famous chefs. Most, including Julia (!) like this time-honored Jewish family recipe, which comes out surprisingly well:

                  sear meat; cover with one pack of Lipton's Onion Soup, onebottle of Heinz's Chili Sauce that have been mixed together to form a paste, cover and cook 300 degrees for 1 hr per pound.

                  I hate to admit it, risking culinary purgatory, but it's delicious.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: howboy

                    it also works really well with a can of whole berry cranberry sauce & Lipton's onion soup packet. And as all briskets, always better made a day before.

                    this past Passover I made Emeril's passover recipe instead of the one above & it turned out delicious. It was not spicy at all given the ingredients- everyone loved it! however, he calls for the whole thing & I only used the flat cut portion (4-5lbs)


                    1. re: pamd

                      A few years ago my mother accidentally used a hot chili sauce instead of the sweeter, milder Heinz she traditionally uses. I loved it, but my father and brother wouldn't touch a bite. More for me!!

                  2. About 20 years ago there was a recipe in the LA Times food section for "Fran's Brisket", which used coffee. It was very good.