PREP TIME 30 minutes
COOK TIME 4 hours
SERVES 10 to 12
1 6-pound first-cut (a.k.a. flat-cut) beef brisket, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons neutral oil
8 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, whole but smashed
1 carrot, whole
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Season the brisket on both sides with the salt and pepper.
- Lightly dust both sides of the brisket with flour.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot (or other large heavy pot with a lid). The brisket should fit snugly.
- Put the brisket in the pot.
- Sear on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until crusty brown areas appear on the surface.
- Transfer the meat to a platter.
- Set an oven rack in the middle position.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Turn up the stove heat a bit.
- Add the onions to the pot. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the onions for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onions have softened and are golden brown, but don’t let them caramelize.
- If browned bits stick to the bottom of the pan and start to burn, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape with a wooden spoon to release them.
- Turn off the heat.
- Place the brisket, fatty side up, and any accumulated juices from the platter, on top of the onions.
- Spread the tomato paste over the brisket (like icing a cake).
- Add the garlic and carrot around the edges of the pot.
- Cover the pot.
- Transfer to the oven.
- Cook the brisket for 1 1/2 hours.
- Transfer the meat to a cutting board. continued…
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the beef across the grain into approximately 1/8-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.
- Check the seasonings.
- Baste the meat with the pan juices.
- If the sauce appears dry, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of water to the pot.
- Cover the pot and return to the oven.
- Lower the heat to 325°F.
- Cook the meat until it is fork-tender, around 2 hours longer, or longer if necessary.
- Check once or twice during cooking to make sure that the liquid is not evaporating. If it is, add a few more teaspoons of water—but not much.
- Also, each time you check, spoon some of the liquid on top of the brisket so that it drips down between the slices.
- It is ready to serve with its juices.
- You can skip slicing midway, just keep roasting very low and slow.
- If the sauce seems greasy:
- Transfer the meat and vegetables to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Pour the sauce into a bowl and let sit until the fat rises to the top.
- Using a small ladle, spoon out the fat.
- Pour the skimmed gravy back over the meat.
- The brisket is even better the second day.
- The brisket can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerated.
- The cooked brisket also freezes well for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator 2 days ahead of time.
- Reheat the brisket, covered, in a 300°F oven until hot, for about 45 minutes.