We are going to braise a brisket today. But not just any old brisket recipe, we are going to make Nach Waxman’s Beef Brisket. This braised beef brisket is a commingling of his cherished family recipes. It has two distinctive steps that makes the brisket slices firmer and deliver exceptional flavor.
By far, this is one of my favorite recipes for brisket. The flavor and the simplicity make it the best method to slow cook a brisket. This recipe is slightly adapted from Nach Waxman's original brisket recipe. Serve this brisket with some Roasted Carrots and Potatoes or Creamy Mashed Potatoes and you will have a memorable feast.
Nach Waxman is the founder of Manhattan’s Kitchen Arts & Letters a destination for chefs, cooks, historians, food writers and anyone else that loves to eat. Mr Waxman passed away this month (August 2021) and I felt it was time for me to make this recipe again and this time, to share it with you. His famous beef brisket recipe is a fusion of his mother's and mother-in-law's recipe.
Find out more about this 'kitchen anthropologist" as the The New York Times referred to him recently.
Why This Recipe for Beef Brisket Stands Out
- It only uses the flat end of the brisket and not the whole Packer brisket. You can also get the large flat end of the brisket cut into smaller sections such as in this recipe so you aren't dealing with a monster cut of beef.
- Braising beef brisket is much more forgiving to make for the home cook. You don't need to be intimidated with cooking this brisket as you may be with making a smoked brisket or grilled brisket.
- Beef brisket is perfect for making ahead of time. In fact, it might even taste better the next day.
- Brisket is a popular cut of beef because it's so flavorful when cooked correctly.
- The leftovers are fabulous. Brisket can be reheated and eaten in slices as in this recipe or used in sandwiches, tacos, sliders, stroganoff, shredded over fries, and even as a topping for pizza!
What is Brisket
Beef brisket is cut from the bottom front chest are of the cow. This muscle gets a lot of use which is why it is a tougher cut of beef that is better suited to low and slow cooking.
A whole packer brisket can weigh anywhere from 12 to 16 pounds. A full packer brisket has two main sections, the flat or first cut and the point cut. These sections will need to be cut apart, first because the grain runs differently in each section and they each have different fat and thickness levels.
You don't need to buy a whole packer brisket and may not readily find one. Most cuts of brisket in the meat market are cut into smaller sections that home cooks can easily make. If you want to cook larger portions, first make sure you have the pot they will fit into or buy 2 or more pieces which may be easier for you to handle.
The flat cut or first cut has less fat and works perfectly for this beef brisket recipe. The point cut is much fatter but has spectacular flavor. I love the point cut for making burnt ends. I have the perfect burnt ends recipe which I will share with you in my next post.
- Use the right roasting pan. Your roasting pan should be an ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot, Dutch oven, or casserole dish. It needs to be heavy-bottomed and sturdy. You will also want your beef brisket to fit snugly inside the pot.
- Make sure the lid fits tightly. If you don't have a pot that has a matching lid, you can always use heavy duty foil and seal it tightly around the edges of your pot.
- Don't rush it. Low and slow is the key to the most amazing brisket. While this braising recipe takes time to cook, that time is mostly hands off. Plus, it is so worth it!
- Plan for leftovers. Leftover beef brisket is great just as is or you can use it for sandwiches, sliders, tacos and more. This beef brisket recipe will feed 10 to 12 people with about 5 to 7 ounces per person, after allowing for shrink. A typical serving size is 4 to 6 ounces. Depending upon what you are serving with your brisket and the appetite of your guests, you should have some leftovers.
- Pay attention to the liquids. You do not want your brisket to get dry so keep checking if you need to add water. However, only add it in 1 tablespoon increments - you do not want to boil the brisket, just braise it.
- Don't skip the onions. Don't even think about making less than eight. It works.
Storing and Reheating
As I mentioned earlier, your brisket might even taste better the next day. So here is how you want to handle one of the best beef brisket recipes ever.
If you make beef brisket ahead of time, let the brisket cool, cover it loosely with foil and refrigerate it overnight.
To Reheat. Preheat oven to 325°. Skim off any fat from the surface of the beef brisket. With the brisket in Dutch oven, cover it and reheat it for 1 hour or until heated through.
Cooked brisket can be refrigerated up to 5 days.
Uncooked brisket can be refrigerated 3 to 5 days. Raw brisket can be frozen for 6 to 12 months. If you defrost the brisket in the refrigerator, which I would recommend, you can refrigerate it for another 3 days.
More Comfort Food Beef Recipes
If you love a delicious hearty beef recipe like this Beef Brisket, then these beef recipes are cooked low and slow or use the Instant Pot to tenderize the beef in a shorter cooking time.
📋 Recipe Card
Nach Waxman’s Famous Beef Brisket
- Dutch Oven
- 6 pound brisket flat, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
- All-purpose flour optional
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter *
- 8 medium onions peeled and thickly sliced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Kosher salt
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and quartered
- 1 carrot peeled and trimmed
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Dust brisket all over with flour, if using. Season the brisket with pepper.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the brisket to the Dutch oven and cook, turning halfway through cooking time, 10 to 14 minutes or until scattered crusty and browned areas appear on the brisket. Transfer the brisket to a platter.
- Add the butter to the Dutch oven and cook until the butter is melted.* Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, 10 to 15 minutes or until the onions have softened and developed a rich brown color but aren’t caramelized. Remove the pot from the heat. Place the brisket on the onions and pour any accumulated juices on the platter over the brisket.
- Using a knife or a small spatula, spread the tomato paste over the brisket. Season the brisket with salt and pepper and then add the garlic and carrot to the pot. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and cook, untouched, for 1-½ hours.
- Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the brisket across the grain into approximately ⅛-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. The end result should resemble the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward. If absolutely necessary, add 2 to 3 teaspoons water to the pot.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Cover the pot and cook, occasionally drizzling the meat with pan juices, about 2 hours or until the brisket is fork-tender. If the pan juices have evaporated, add up to a tablespoon of water and return to the oven.
- When the brisket is fork-tender, remove it from the oven and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes.*
- Arrange the brisket slices on a platter and spoon some of the pan juices over the brisket to barely moisten it.
- Arrange the onions from the pan around the brisket. *