I haven’t been as excited about a brisket recipe since my first smoked brisket many years ago. All other brisket recipes I tried were alright, but none was spectacular. This braised brisket recipe, however, is nothing short of spectacular. The beef comes out of the oven succulent and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The rich beefy smell alone will make anyone hungry. And it’s very easy to make.
This recipe reminds me of my slow cooker chicken for its simple yet rich flavors. I went light on seasonings to let the beefy flavor of brisket shine. Onions and garlic added a touch of sweet and savory flavor. The best part was the texture of the brisket. So tender and succulent it was that it practically melted in your mouth. I love my smoked brisket bit it just can’t compare to braised brisket in the tenderness and succulence department.
The 4-hour braising perfectly melted collagen – the connective tissue protein present in meat – and turned it into gelatin that gave the meat a lot of flavor and silky texture.
Selecting the meat
I used the thicker half of a whole brisket for braising. This is the part where the point part sits on top flat muscle. The point is the richly marbled, fatty section of meat while the flat is the leaner bottom section. Braising a whole brisket is not practical as it won’t fit in anything in a typical kitchen. My half-brisket that weighed in at 8 lbs fit quite nicely in my 5.25 qt 11″ braiser.
That said, any part of brisket will work. I like trimming most of fat off especially if braising the point part. If braising the leaner flat part of brisket, I like to leave a 1/4″ fat cap on top for flavor.
Wet aged brisket is ideal for cooking. When buying brisket, look for packing date of 2-3 weeks prior. Alternatively, buy a commercially vacuum sealed brisket and let it age in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. This will tenderize the meat perfectly.
Of course, beef grade matters too. Prime/Angus are the best choices but they tend to be expensive. Choice is the minimum grade you should go for.
The cooking part is quite uncomplicated. Heat some oil and butter in your braising pan and sear the brisket on both sides until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Browning adds a lot of flavor. Remove the brisket from the pan and let rest on a cutting board.
Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in the same pan until softened and aromatic. Add some flour and continue cooking until the flour is lightly brown. Pour in the beef broth, bring to a simmer and continue cooking until the mixture thickens a little. Add the rest of the seasonings and mix. You will now have a nice gravy in which the brisket will continue cooking. The meat and the onions will release liquids during braising but the liquid will still be perfect for serving over meat. If necessary, you can thicken it further after cooking.
Now, slice that brisket about 1/2 inch thick and slide off the cutting board right into the braising pan. Use a spoon to scoop up some onions and garlic slices and place on top of brisket. Pour some gravy on top as well. Place two bay leaves on top. Cover and braise in the oven at 325F for 4 hours.
I paired the brisket with garlic mashed potatoes and my favorite tomato and cucumber salad. This made one of the tastiest dinners I’ve ever had.
This braised brisket will also make outstanding sliders or sandwiches.
I also like serving some acidic sides with this dish, such as canned peppers, fermented or canned dill pickles, and pickled red onions, they really complement the rich brisket meat.
Recommended cooking tools
A 5 qt copper or cast iron braiser is ideal for making this dish. A braiser is designed to cook low and slow, from bottom and top. During cooking the lid will heat up and brown the tops of meat, adding more flavor. A dutch oven will work too but the meat will have to be layered many times and crowded. No browning here.
A flat wooden spatula is perfect for a quick and effective de-glazing. Wood is hard but won’t scratch the pan.
Succulent Braised Brisket
- 8 lb brisket (fat trimmed off)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 onions (small, cut in 1/2" wedges)
- 6 cloves garlic (sliced about 1/4" thick)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Season the brisket with salt and pepper on all sides. Set aside.
- Heat the butter and the oil in a braising pan over medium-high heat. Add the brisket and sear for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until a light-brown crust appears. Move the brisket to a large cutting board and let rest.
- In the same pan, lightly brown the onions and the garlic over medium-high heat, about 4-5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of butter if necessary.
- Add the flour and continue cooking while constantly stirring for about 30 seconds.
- Add the beef broth, bring to a simmer and deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits from the bottom using a flat wooden spatula. Continue simmer until the mixture thickens.
- Add the vinegar, thyme and oregano and stir. Taste for salt. Adjust if needed. Turn off the heat.
- Slice the brisket about 1/2" thick across the grain. Slide off to the braising pan. Spoon the gravy, onions and sliced garlic all over the meat. Top with two bay leaves, cover with the lid and transfer to the preheated oven.
- Cook at 325F for 4 hours.
- Serve hot with your favorite side dish. Spoon pan juices/gravy over the meat and the side, e.g. mashed potatoes. Garnish with finely chopped parsley.
I didn’t bother doing the browning .. just put it in the pan – salt and pepper top side and put it all in the pan – it was excellent ! Thank you for the recipe
This looks fantastic. I tried the link to the cast iron braiser but it didn’t open.
Please let us know the brand, size and depth you’d recommend.
Hm, the link works for me. I have two braisers, one is Le Creuset 5 Qt braiser, it’s cast iron, about 12.2 inches wide, 3″ deep, with a domed lid. I use it most of the time because of it’s space and even cooking. I use it in the oven and for stove-top cooking. The other one is a copper braiser I picked up on eBay some time ago, it’s about 11″ wide and 3 1/4 inches deep, with a flat lid. It’s less spacious, and I use it for smaller meals. Both work well and I only pick one over the other depending on the type and amound of meat I am cooking. Le Creuset braiser is very well-made and works great but it’s expensive unless you find a good deal like I did. I am sure other cast iron braisers like the Crock Pot one will do just fine. I’d recommend getting a 5 qt one if you have 4-5 family members. A 3.5 qt one for 2-3 people should do.
My first time making a brisket. Amazing! Thank you again for these delicious braiser recipes. They are among some of the best meals I now make.
One question…my oven has Convection Bake and Convection Roast…any thoughts on which I should be using with the braiser?
Glad to hear that, Jennifer, you are very welcome and thank you for the kind words.
As far as which mode to use, I understand that convection roast differs from convection bake in that it alternates between baking and broiling elements (cool!), so for braising I think you’d want to use convection bake.
Perfect. That is what I have been using. Thanks again!
You are welcome. Enjoy and make sure to try my other recipes, plenty of good ones there.
Can I make this in my Instant Pot?
Dan, you can make virtually anything in instant pot but the texture and flavor are not going to be the same. Not that there is anything wrong with pressure cooking, I use it often but my expectations for the results are different.
Hi! Is this a recipe that would be good to make the day before then heat up the day of?
Yes. Braised meats are perfect for reheating. Re-heated, I think they taste just like freshly cooked unlike, say, grilled or deep-fried meats.
This is Awesome Sir, I just love the color combination on the platter – I am going to go through all your other recipes too – Do keep posting and keep up the good work
Wow, fantastic recipe! This is our first time making braised brisket and it turned out so good that we want to make it again for Thanksgiving dinner.
This reminds me of my grandma’s brisket. Looks mouthwatering. Making this on the weekend.