Richard Slotnick’s Mother’s Delicious Brisket

This Delicious Recipe For Brisket Is As Delicious As It Is Easy!

This recipe comes from a very special family, the Slotnicks.  If I had to name one or two people (outside of my parents and my children) who helped me out during very tough years in my life, it would be this family.  Richard, Barbara, and their son Michael are just wonderful people.  They were ALWAYS (and still are) there for me and my children, especially my son Benji.  The Slotnicks are mensches (a mensch is a person with a good soul). 

I have been lucky to eat Barbara’s delicious food on more than one occasion.  I ate this brisket once at their house, and it was delicious.  The secret of this recipe is that it uses really easy ingredients to create a flavor that is rich and delicious!  Please try this.  You won’t be disappointed!

3 12 oz. cans of apricot nectar

3 packages of Lipton’s onion soup mix )

4 – 5 pounds of brisket, first cut (one or two pieces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour 1 can of nectar and 1 packet of onion soup mix in the large pan you will be using to bake the brisket.  Stir the soup into the nectar to dissolve.  Place brisket fat side down into the pan.  Sprinkle the second packet of onion soup mix over the brisket.  Then pour the second can of nectar over the soup mix.  Repeat with last packet of soup mix and last can of juice.  Make sure the soup mix is mixed in well with the nectar.  There will be a lot of liquid.  That is okay.  Cover the pan tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. 

Bake 3 1/2 hours.  Take out.  Check meat.  If your fork goes in very easily, then the meat is tender and it is done.  If you feel there is a little resistance when you put the fork in, cover the meat again, and bake it for another half hour.  If most of the liquid has evaporated, add some more water before you put it back in the oven.  Take out, and make sure meat is tender.  Let it cool in the gravy for about a half hour.  Then take the meat out, put it on a plate, and let it cool another half hour to hour before you slice it.  If you do not have enough gravy in the pan because it has evaporated and reduced, then you can add some water to reconstitute the gravy.  The reduction in the pan will be very rich, so adding some water will not hurt the taste of the gravy. 

When the meat is cool, slice it about 1/4 inch thick.  Then carefully place the slices back in the gravy. 

Note 1:  You can cook this up to three days in advance of serving it.  It will keep fine in the refrigerator. 

Note 2:  If you are having a hard time figuring out how to slice the brisket, turn it over.  You will be able to see how the grain is running by looking at the flat side of the brisket.  Look at the lines that are running parallel to each other in the meat.  Then, slice the meat so that your slices make a right angle with the parallel lines in the meat.  Once you figure out how you will be slicing the meat, you can turn it back over and begin.

Note 3:  I use an electric knife to slice my meat. 

Note 4:  If you like thicker or thinner slices, slice it accordingly. 

Note 5:  I have occasionally had to cook my brisket for up to 4 1/2 hours, believe it or not.  Sometimes the meat will be tough, and it just might need that extra time to become tender.

Judy’s Best Brisket

This recipe was adapted by me from my Aunt Florence’s brisket recipe.  I loved brisket growing up.  Although I liked my mother’s brisket a lot, it didn’t hold a candle to my Aunt Florence’s, which I was lucky enough to eat every Passover at her house.  When I saw that platter of brisket arriving at the table, my mouth was watering.  The meat was such a dark brown, rich color, and the flavor of the meat when it hit my tongue was heavenly; there really are no sufficient words to describe how good that brisket tasted to me.  I was always worried there wouldn’t be enough for me.  Luckily, there usually was.  Anyway, I started making this brisket around 1978 right after I got married.  I couldn’t wait to start making my aunt’s amazing brisket.  I followed my Aunt Florence’s recipe, but I did change the cooking method.  She cooked the brisket in a pot for the whole cooking time.  But I decided to start the cooking on the stove, and then transfer the pot into the oven for a few hours.  This method resulted in the brisket having the same incredible dark brown color and rich taste, but the meat was much more tender.  My brisket became the talk of the family.  I had achieved great heights in cooking when I mastered my aunt’s incomparable brisket!

  • About 5 pounds brisket, first or thin cut- you can use 1 big piece or 2 smaller pieces
  • About 5-6 medium to large onions
  • About 2 fat or 4 thin carrots
  • Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder

Season both sides of the meat pretty heavily with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Peel and quarter the onions and put them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse the onions until they resemble the consistency of chunky apple sauce.  Put the onions on the bottom of a large dutch oven or very large oven-proof pot.  Then, slice the carrots into very thin sticks or grate them  onto the top of the onions in the dutch oven.  Place the meat on top of the onions and carrots.  Pour about 1 cup of cold water around the meat.  Cover the dutch oven.  Put the heat on medium, and bring the water to a boil.  Cook on a high simmer about 30 minutes with the cover on.  Then take the cover off and cook on high heat until all the liquid evaporates.  The onions and carrots and meat will start to brown.  Lift the meat up with a strong metal spatula and mush the vegetables around.  Turn the meat eventually when it’s really brown on the bottom.  It will almost be burning a little, as will the vegetables.  When that starts to happen, add more cold water, about 1 cup.  Notice the color of the gravy.  It probably will be a light to medium brown.  That isn’t dark enough.  Let the new liquid reduce down and evaporate.  The meat and vegetables will be browning more.  When all liquid is evaporated add another cup of cold water.  If the gravy is dark and rich, you are ready for the next step.  If you still think the gravy is not dark, repeat the reducing and browning process one more time.

When you have decided that your gravy is dark and rich, add one more cup of water.  There should be lots of gravy now around the meat.  Cover the dutch oven or pot (I use aluminum foil first and then I put the cover on top of that).  Put the dutch oven into the oven at about 350 degrees.  Let it cook for about 2 hours.  Take it out, uncover it, and check it for tenderness.  put a fork in.  If it is done, the fork will go in very easily.  It probably won’t be tender enough at this point.  Add some more water if the gravy has reduced too much.  Cover the meat, and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.  Check again, and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.  It might be ready at this point.  The meat usually needs at least 3 hours in the oven.  Sometimes, depending on the meat, I have actually kept it in the oven for 4 or 5 hours.  Now, if one of your pieces of brisket is tender before the other, take that piece out and let it cool on a late.  When the rest of the meat is done, take it out and put it on a plate.  The meat should cool for about 1 hour before you slice it.  Use an electric knife and slice it against the grain about 1/4 inch thick.  Pour all the gravy into whatever dish you plan to heat the meat up in when you serve it.  You can also pour the gravy into a disposable aluminum roasting pan, if you plan to heat it up in that.  Trim any fat off your slices, then place them in the gravy and smoosh the gravy into the meat.  If you think the gravy has reduced too much, you may add some water to it to make some more gravy.  You can put the meat into the refrigerator up to 3 days before you will be reheating and serving it.  I usually take the brisket out of the refrigerator one or two hours before I start to reheat it.  You can cook this and freeze it, but I don’t think it tastes quite as good.   

Incredible and Easy Brisket (This is the recipe for brisket I almost always make)

I am famous for my brisket. I have a few different recipes that I use, but this is one I developed because I wanted a recipe that would be less involved and easier to make. I make this often because it is so easy to make, and very delicious. I make this for Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashana, Passover, and whenever my family requests it. Cooking brisket is not hard to make if you follow the steps. If you take your time, and have a little patience you will serve a dish fit for a king or more importantly for your family and friends!

Important note: Read this entire recipe through a few times to make sure you understand it before you start.

  • About 4-5 pounds of thin cut brisket of beef (one large or two smaller pieces)
  • Kosher salt, pepper, good garlic powder (I use McKormick), paprika
  • 2 very large onions or 4 large onions (about three pounds)
  • 2/3 of the tomatoes in a 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes, or 2/3 of a can of tomato puree or my latest preference- about 2 tablespoons out of a small can of tomato paste)
  • water
  • 5 large carrots, cut into chunks (optional- I haven’t used them the last few times)
  • 1 envelope of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix -optional- see explanation below (If you think you’ll be using onion soup mix, then use less salt when seasoning your meat.)

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Season brisket on both sides with Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, and  paprika.

In bowl of food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the onions until they are the consistency of apple sauce. Pour the onions into the bottom of a roasting pan or a very large dutch oven.

Rinse out the bowl and metal blade of the food processor. If you are using canned tomatoes rather than tomato paste, place the metal blade back in, and put about 2/3 of the tomatoes into the bowl (You will not be using any of the juice or puree in the can). Pulse the tomatoes until they are pureed. Pour the pureed tomatoes into the onions in your pan. Add about 1 cup of water, and mix it in with a spoon. If you are using the tomato paste, then just spoon it in dollups on top of the onions, mix it in with the onions- I don’t add any water when I use the paste.

Place your seasoned meat on top of the onion mixture fat side up.  Peel and cut the carrots into thick slices, and place them around the brisket . Cover the roasting pan tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. If you are using a dutch oven, then place the top on. Put in preheated oven for about 3 hours. Take the pan out. Uncover the brisket carefully so you don’t get burned by the steam. Open the one packet of onion soup mix, and strain the powder in the mix, and discard the onions. Pour the powder into the liquid in the pan, and mix with a spoon to dissolve the powder. Your brisket will not be done yet. If your liquid or gravy has evaporated, then you will need to add more water. If there is plenty of liquid, which there may be at this point, you’re fine. Just check the tenderness of the brisket by putting a fork into the meat. If the fork goes in very, very easily, then your meat is done. But I’ve never cooked my brisket for less than 3 1/2 hours. Recover the pan. If your foil is too loose, add new foil. Cook for another half hour to hour, and then take it out. Check it again. If you don’t think the fork goes in easily enough, cook your meat for another 1/2 hour, and check. You may still need to cook it more. If you do, cook it for another half hour, and check again. I would say that I usually cook my brisket for about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours altogether. When your meat is tender, take it out using a sturdy spatula. Put it on a cutting board to cool for an hour or so.

I like my gravy to be very rich.  So at this point, I take all the carrots out of the roasting pan and set aside.  Then I put the pan with all the gravy- onions and water and place it back in the oven in the middle of the oven under the broiler element.  Every 15 minutes, I take out the pan, mix everything around, add more water.  Each time, the onions become darker, and the gravy gets darker.  The browned or even somewhat burned bits will not hurt your gravy.  I do this for 45 min. to an hour, until my gravy is really rich and dark.

Then slice the meat against the grain with an electric knife. Your slices should be about 1/4 inch thick. Cut off any fat after you slice the meat. Place the slices of meat gently back in the gravy, and smush/squeeze the gravy into each slice as you go. I suggest that you transfer your gravy into a large oval or rectangular ovenproof baking dish with 2 inch sides, before you start placing your slices in the gravy. This way, when you heat the brisket up for serving, you can heat it in the same dish you will serve it in. The alternative- which is fine – is to transfer the gravy and carrots into a disposable aluminum roasting pan before you slice the meat. Then slice the meat and place your slices into the gravy in the disposable aluminum pan. When you are preparing your meal, you will heat the brisket up in the disposable pan, and then you will have to transfer the meat, the gravy, and the carrots to a serving platter.

Note: I usually make this 1 to 2 days in advance of serving it, because the meat becomes more tender and and the flavor will intensify as the meat sits in the gravy in the refrigerator. When I reheat the meat for serving, I let it sit out on the counter at least 1 – 2 hours to bring it closer to room temperature. Then I heat it covered for about 40-50 min. at 350 degrees until it is hot.

Newest variation:

If you don’t  like the idea of using the onion soup, add an extra 2-3 more onions instead.  Using the tomato paste is much easier than using the tomatoes, and the result is the same..  When I took the meat out of the pan and put it on a cutting board, I then put the roasting pan back in the oven under the broiler element- with the element on the low setting.  Every 20 min. or so, I took out the pan, and mixed the onion mixture.  The idea is to let the onions get really browned, almost burned, and then to mix it up with the liquid in the pan.  I did this for at least an hour until my gravy and the onion mixture was quite dark.  Then I took the pan out of the oven, and added some water, scraping the sides to mix in all the burned stuff.  I liked the results.