A Slab of Beef That Would Make Mom Proud: The Chanukah Brisket
Two nights ago was the first night of Chanukah, and I decided it was time I made my first brisket--traditional holiday fare. I had no idea the best way to attack a brisket, and, after scouring the Internet, I only felt more confused. So, I did what I should have done in the first place and called my mom.
Lucky for me she was with her sister and the two of them got on the phone and told me how it's done.
"You have to brown it on the stove first."
"Grape jelly and onion soup mix. That's all you need."
"You can't keep it in the oven too long. It just keeps getting more and more tender."
"After it's been in the oven for at least three hours, take it out, slice it at an angle, across the grain, put the slices back in the pan and put the pan back in the over. Cover it, give it 20 minutes, and that meat will just suck up the juice."
"Lots of flavor. That's what you need. Lots of flavor."
I'm not sure if I felt better or worse after that challenge. But I definitely felt like the heat was on. I decided to just get crazy and mix and match what I found online and what my mom and Aunt Ruth had shared.
I used Paul Deen's Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket as my base and added and subtracted from there. I started with a dry rub made of...
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar 1 bay leaf, crushed
I heated up some olive oil in a pan and browned the brisket on all sides before putting it in my favorite go-to pan. Don't laugh. The Pampered Chef Rectangular Baker. I put in a three chopped carrots and one chopped onion before sprinkling the whole deal with two packets of Lipton Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup and Dip Mix and a half a cup of brown sugar. I poured in enough water to go halfway up the sides of the pan and then covered the whole thing as tightly as possible with tin foil. I put the brisket in a 300 degree pre-heated oven, set the timer for three hours, and crossed my fingers.
When the timer went off, I took the brisket out, sliced it up, put it back in the pan and back in the oven. Twenty minutes later, it was time to see how I did and, lo and behold, it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Really tender and extra yummy with the juice poured on top. I served it with latkes and buttered egg noodles. I believe Mom would be proud.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.