Barbecued Brisket

So, I’ve been making variations of the same Jewish brisket- that I grew up eating and loving- for the last 40 years. My kids love my brisket, my parents loved my brisket, my brother Kenny and his family love my brisket, and I love it. That homey, Jewish flavor is so nostalgic of my childhood. I learned how to make brisket from my mother, but I improved upon her recipe by adding elements from my Aunt Florence’s recipe. As a child, brisket was probably my favorite dish, and every year at Passover, on the first Seder, I awaited the moment my Aunt Florence would carry her glorious brisket from the kitchen over the beautifully set table, hoping she would place the dish in front of me (which never happened). The recipe that I currently make which is easier to make than my Aunt Florence’s original, but comparable in taste is this one: I’ve noticed over the years that while my daughter Randi and her husband Dan really love my traditional brisket, my grandkids, Noah, Ezra, and Hannah, are not too crazy about it. Knowing how much they love the flavor of barbecue sauce, I decided to finally branch out, go out of my comfort zone, and make some barbecue style brisket. Well, to say that it was a success is an understatement. Last week, I delivered a “shissel” of this brisket to their house, and Randi face-timed me to show me the licked clean plates of the kids. In fact, I got to watch Ezra licking the last drops of sauce off his plate. That vision is what I live for! Before I left my house to make the food delivery (we’re in the midst of Covid-19), I allowed my son Benji to eat 3 slices of it, and between his facial expressions and sounds of ecstasy, you could say he liked it! So, I’ll make it again soon for everybody- including Danny (other son)- and even allow Benji to have more than 3 pieces.


one 3 1/2 lb. to 4 lb. brisket to even a 5 1/2 to 6 lb. brisket

kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder

1 medium to large onion, sliced (optional)

barbecue sauce: 1 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, 16 oz. hot water mixed with 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon Chicken Base OR 16 oz. chicken broth (I use the 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon with the 16 oz. water)

Secret Ingredient: S & F Sweet Bay Barbecue Sauce (I’ve only found it at Whole Foods so far)

  1. Season both sides of brisket with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Place in roasting pan, fat side up.
  2. Mix ingredients together in a bowl for the barbecue sauce (above), and pour it around the brisket in the pan.
  3. Slice onion (I’ve used it or not used it, and it really doesn’t make much of a difference).
  4. Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in 325 degree oven for 2 hours. Then take out, uncover, and add the secret ingredient: S & F Sweet Bay Barbecue Sauce (from Whole Foods). Schmear about 1/4 cup of this sauce over the top of the brisket. Then measure 1/2 cup more and pour it into the sauce in the pan- mix a bit to blend. Recover tightly and place back in oven for another 1 1/2 hours. Take out. If fork goes in easily, it’s done. If fork doesn’t, then recover and cook another 30 minutes. If fork still doesn’t go in easily, cook for another 30 minutes. It should be done after 4 hours total.
  6. Take meat out of pan, and let cool in fridge. It’s much easier to slice when it’s cool or cold. Take out, cut off fat, and slice against the grain- slices should be about 1/4 inch thick. Place slices either back in the same pan you roasted the brisket, or in whatever casserole dish you plan to heat it up in. If you are using a different dish, then pour the barbecue sauce from the roaster into the pan with the sliced meat.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil, and either refrigerate till you plan to use it, or heat it up (covered with foil) in the oven for dinner.
  8. Note: If you did use a sliced onion, you may want to discard it before serving. If my grandkids saw those onion slices, that would turn them off to the dish.

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