HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


HELP! Passover Brisket techniques

Ok, so i'm making my FIRST EVER brisket for passover and am reading WAY too much and getting WAY too confused.

I'm definitely going to cook my brisket in a slow-cooker, but how long do you suggest? Some recipes say 4 hours, where others say 11 hours. i would think the lower the temp and the longer the better, right?

Also, I'm thinking I should cook it the night before since that it what most people say is better to do. If I do this, then Monday, how should I reheat? In a pan in the oven? I'll be cooking carrots and potatoes with it, should i put that all in a pan together in the oven? Or separate?

Thanks for all and any help!! I really need it! :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't use a slow cooker but I cook it for 4 hours at 350 in a regular oven so it should be quite a bit longer in a slow cooker. Yes it is definitely better the next day and you should slice it while it is cold (across the grain) before reheating (eveyrthing together in one pan is fine).

    1. Jfood uses a Reynolds Turkey sized cooking bag, an oven 300 degrees, mrs jfood's recipe and 4-5 hours. After 3 hours he removes carefully slices and returns to bag for the last 1-1.5 hours. Into the fridge. Day 2 into a 350 oven in a roasting pan covered with foil.

      Just relax, the brisket is smart enough to know how to cook itself.

      Happy holiday

      5 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        What size is your brisket? 3lbs or 9lbs?
        300-325 is a good temp. and I cook mine for several hours as well and slice thin. Avoid use of tomato-products (ketchup, BBQ Sauce, chili and so on).

        Use of tomato-products is odd and not a "normal" or appropriate ingredient..

        What is best is simple. Just rub some chopped cloves of garlic into each side of the meat. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper all over to taste but don't be stingy. Spread onions, carrots and celery on the bottom of the pan. Put the meat over that on rack.

        hint: i sometimes also sprinkle my meat with one of those onion soup mixes but thats up to you. they are widely available in any grocery store.
        add some water to the pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and cook in a preheated 300-325-degree oven for 4 hours or so until meat is just tender.

        You can brown the meat too buy cranking it oven to 450 at first and letting the meat go in for 20 minutes then turning it down to 300..verse the stove.

        I always get a whole brisket or "First Cut" from a respectable top notch butcher. That is a good start to making a great brisket. Make sure you get your meat from a good source and it is fresh.

        Personally, I think it is optimum soon when it comes out of the oven after you let it rest for 20 minutes rather reheated the next day.

        1. re: HungryinBmore

          different strokes...

          "Use of tomato-products is odd and not a "normal" or appropriate ingredient.." - totally disagree. Mrs jfood's recipe calls for ketchup and it works just perfect.

          And to the day of vs the next day - Jfood HIGHLY recommends not only brisket, but all braises be served the next day.

          Onion soup mixes - they will never cross jfood's threshhold. Just read the ingredients. Blech. It's a distant memory from many of his mom's recipes growing up.


          1. re: HungryinBmore

            So then, use of tomato-based products is "odd," not "normal" and not "appropriate" for brisket, but dried, faux onion soup mixes are? Well, I say "to each his/her own" and I'll stick by my chili sauce/beer braise for non-Passover briskets.

            1. re: HungryinBmore

              I think that statement is odd and not normal! I've been making my ketchup/beer/cranberry sauce brisket recipe to raves for years.

              1. re: mdepsmom

                I'm adding my vote to the idea that there is nothing the least bit odd about using tomato products. I use Negro modelo, tomato sauce, brown sugar and onion soup mix along with real onions. And for the leftovers, I add sliced green olives and turn the whole thing into ropa vieja.

          2. My family recipe's like none I've seen or had anywhere else. I first posted it on CH in 2006--here it goes again.

            Trim some of the fat from the brisket. Score the meat lightly in a diamond pattern on both sides to prevent it from curling. Salt, pepper, paprika on both sides.

            Then, whatever weight the brisket is, take half its weight in onions, and chop them into maybe 3/4" dice. Put them in the bottom of a large stockpot, then lay the meat over them, curling it down to fit. Put it on a low flame on the stove, listening to make sure it actually begins to cook.

            Cook it on the stove for 3 hours, turning the meat twice. The onions and meat will make a surprising amount of juice that will turn appetizingly brown. Then fish the meat out, put it into a baking dish, and cover it to cool overnight in the fridge. Cool the onions/gravy separately. If you want to get hysterical about de-fatting the gravy, you can separate the onions as well.

            Then the next day, slice the meat very very thin, on an angle, against the grain. Take the fat off the top of the gravy, and correct its serasoning (it'll probably need a bunch more salt). Spread the meat out in the baking dish, distributing the onions and juices among the slices. Cover the dish with foil and heat it for an hour or so, then serve!

            This is a very forgiving meat. If it isn't tender enough after three hours, cook it another hour. Or give it an hour when you're reheating. The flavor is neutral enough that you can use the leftovers in any number of ways. Freeze some until after Pesach and use it in a bolognese sauce. Sandwiches on matzoh-meal popovers are very nice.

            Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: heidipie

              Agreed. I just Garlic and Salt and Pepper on mine. Some people do it some don't. The OP is looking for a Passover Brisket, not Texas or Southern-Style which would be BBQ Sauce or Tomatoey, Chile Sauce, Beer Can Brisket etc

            2. Get a copy of Joan Nathan's "Jewish Cooking in America" or her holiday cookbook. You'll use it often if you are gonna cook holiday meals. One of the recipes I like a lot is the one for chopped chicken livers.

              Buon appetito! (the language of my wife's ancestors)

              1. Thanks everyone. But has anyone used a slow-cooker to cook their brisket? Has it gotten dried out? For how long do you cook? If i'm putting potatoes and carrots and onions in there and then want to serve the next day do you suggest that when reheating, I reheat separately? Thanks again!

                3 Replies
                1. re: tbradin

                  I would stick to the oven if you can be home for 5 hrs the day before. I use slow cooker often, but never have for brisket. It's possible that it could shred too much & end up like beef bbq, not giving you any slices.

                  1. re: tbradin

                    my mom cooked hers today in the slow cooker... 6 hours on low. i think she plans to reheat all at once...

                    1. re: tbradin

                      Tbradin, my friend's recipe (developed over many years) calls for 8 hours on low in the pressure cooker. She puts in tomatoes, onions, celery and carrots, and seasons everything with garlic, bay leaves and Indian spices (I'm not kidding!). (full details here: http://www.cityspoonful.com/passover-...)

                      It must have turned out well because everyone at her seder this year was remarking about how juicy and flavorful the brisket was this year (I'm a vegetarian, so I didn't actually get to try it, unfortunately!).

                      She cooked it the day before mostly, but then fired it up in the pressure cooker for about an hour before the seder to finish it off, so no need to reheat.

                    2. Don't over think it as a braise is one of the easiest things to do. I like to do it in the oven. Have never been a fan of slow cookers but that's just me. In the oven as the liquid evaporates you will get good caramelization on the surface of the meat. Time for cooking is relative to the amount of meat and the oven temperature. You could pop a wired thermometer in the meat to monitor internal temp if you wanted. I would want it to go to 200-205*f internal. At this temp all the collagen has broken down. As far as cooking temp I really don't go too low. 300-350 is fine for a brisket in the oven.

                      Don't over cook it and let it cool in it's juice. It will reabsorb some of the cooking liquid as it cools. Slice when cool or refrigerate and then slice when cold. It will be very easy to slice cold with less chance of breaking up. If you cook it the day ahead you can defat easily and return the sliced meat to the pan and liquid to reheat before guests arrive. Easy peasy. If that is not an option then just give yourself plenty of time. I cook a average brisket in 3.5-4 hours. Start checking it after 3-3.5 hrs. you want it to be fork tender. Even though braises are forgiving you can over cook it.

                        1. Sorry to hijack this thread, but I don't want to make make too many Passover brisket threads! I am hosting my first Seder for 13 adults and seven kids and will be cooking a large brisket for the first time. I would like to make the whole brisket since it seems that will be more flavorful. Our local Smart and Final has a great price on the whole brisket, but is only select. I read on chowhound somewhere about S & F having great whole briskets but they claimed they were buying choice. My other option is spend double the money on a flat cut brisket from costco. Any suggestions or prior experiences? I want a good meal but don't want to go broke either. (I know I should of thought of that before agreeing to host, oh well!)

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: elliora

                            I usually buy a first cut with the fat layer left on. I'm not absolutely certain about this, but I think that when you buy a whole brisket, there's another layer of meat on top, very fatty, called the "deckle." Maybe someone familiar with whole briskets can shed some light on this, but it seems to me you can buy the whole brisket and trim the deckle off before you cook it. Just leave a nice layer of fat on if you do. You can remove the fat after the meat is cooked.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              Yes the deckle also known as the point. In a whole packer brisket you should remove the point after it's cooked as the grain runs differently than the flat. Some people remove it before they cook and some after.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                So will I even be saving any money buying the whole brisket since there seems to be so much extra fat? Also any insights into the select vs choice meat debate?

                                1. re: elliora

                                  I'd go choice if it's available. Cost depends on where you buy it. Last whole briskets I purchased was $1.79/lb at GFS. At Publix brisket is $4.99/lb and when on sale or buying a whole one which is still just a flat at Publix it's $3.99. You don't want the flat to be too lean or it will not be as tender and juicy as it could be.

                                  There are so many things that makes a carcass prime, choice and select. It's not just marbling. Also you could get prime that was just shy of being choice and visa versa so let our eye guide you.

                                2. re: scubadoo97

                                  RE: Select Meat Person. I would buy your brisket from Costo..not the cheap select cut. You can be cheap w/ potatoes or green beans. But like someone else said, buy GOOD meat and from and from a quality place. Starting out w/ "cheap" meat is looking 4 trouble imho..

                                  1. re: MoldyPeaches

                                    Whole foods dropped their price on brisket to 3.99 to match Publix -- probably much higher in other areas though. I usually buy my brisket at Costco, but someone told me Whole Foods has higher quality beff not injected with hormones, etc. With Costco, you can't be sure what you are getting. I paid the same at Whole Foods this as I did at Costco last year for a 5 lb brisket. I saw a woman in front of me have the butcher cut the fat off and I thought -- she just ruined a $20 piece of meat. You can always take the fat off after cooking, but less fat will impact the tenderness and flavor of the beef. I prepare the Judy Zeidler recipe which does use tomato products as a topping contrary to someone's post above and is so delicious.

                                    You saute 3 large onions and 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic in a pan until soft -- put that in the bottom of a larger roaster. Put the brisket on top of the onions fat side up and pour in a 12 oz can of beer. Heat the oven to 500 and cook, covered with foil for 30 mins. Turn over down to 325. Then add four parsnips and 6 carrots peeled and cut on the bias and place around the brisket . Top these veggies with 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. Then take 1/2 can of tomato paste -- add two tablespoons of onion soup mix, two tablespoons of brown sugar and mix with 1/4 cup of hot water. This makes a paste --spread on top of the brisket, then add 12 oz of beer, cover and cook at 325 for 3-4 hours. Comes out perfect every time. Enjoy.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        No J................which is why my wife substitutes black coffee for the beer when making brisket for Passover.

                                        I prefer the recipe your wife uses

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          thanks B. Happy Pesach to you and the family.


                                        2. re: jfood

                                          I substituted wine for the beer in my recipe. The brisket is in the oven as I write, and the whole house smells sooooooooo good!

                                          1. re: jfood

                                            reply to jfood...

                                            Oy weh (pronounced 'vay')! Such a question you ask! Don't ask, don't tell...

                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                              totally understand, almost like giving a brisket recipe for good friday


                                          2. re: divasinger1

                                            I don't think the outside fat is very important to tenderness. The intramuscular fat or marbling is important.

                                    1. re: elliora

                                      Just wanted to add an update in case someone wanders hear looking for info about the Smart and Final briskets. Their ads say that the meat is select, when you call the meat department they also claim it is select. The first smart and final I went to they were all indeed Select. After being unable to find another store with a brisket in stock big enough I headed back in desperation to a different S & F, this one a S & F extra (not sure if that made a difference) Sure enough I noticed some briskets looked a little different and were marked choice, for the same cheap price! Also of note that both Safeway and Lucky's were selling the whole brisket for double the price and theirs was select.

                                      1. re: elliora

                                        in the US meats are rated as follows: PRIME is the best of the best, usually only restaurants get it although Costco does sell some prime cuts now and again usually strip loin steaks. CHOICE is second best and Costco sells nothing less than this. SELECT is what most grocery stores sell this and it's ok but just ok. I"d find a butcher for this is you have one locally.

                                    2. So I mde mine yesterday - the meat came out great by my official taste last night. Just feel like there's not enough of "liquid" today. Plenty of moisture from some carrots, onions etc., but just feels like it needs a bit more. Should I add anything on the reheat? Meat is tender, but just want to be safe.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: harrison

                                        I assume you braised it. What did you use for the braising liquid?

                                      2. Use CHOW as a reference for recipes, spiced braised beef brisket is fabulous the braisage consists of canned whole tomatoes, water, and cider vinegar and for those not knowing acids (tomato/vinegar) tenderize meat so I have no issue with using them. CHOW has great recipes use them