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Miriam's Melt-In-Your-Mouth Brisket

Miriam's Melt-In-Your-Mouth Brisket


Somehow, brisket has become standard Rosh Hashanah fare across North America, so I would be remiss not to share my recipe as well as a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

I’m no meat maven, but I’m learning, and the two most important things to consider when cooking brisket are:

  1. Let the meat shine. Often people drown brisket in all kinds of bottled sauces, but I suggest saving that for cheaper cuts. Use spices, herbs and milder liquids to enhance the flavor of the brisket.
  2. Patience, patience, patience! Cook the meat on a low temperature for a long time. Don’t try to rush it, or you’ll end up with hard, dry, chewy meat—not the pleasant, melt-in-your-mouth texture you were hoping for.

Now, on to specifics. Cut the onions in rounds, and put them on the bottom of a baking dish. Mix the paprika, garlic powder, chives and salt in a small bowl. Pat the spice rub all over both sides of the meat, until it can hold no more. Now put the brisket on top of the onions and into the oven at 400° F for 1 hour, uncovered.

Take it out and turn the oven down to 250° F. Pour ½ cup balsamic vinegar and ⅓ cup honey over the meat. It may look like not a lot of liquid, but the meat and onions both let out lots of juices, and you end up with plenty (as you can see in the pictures). Cover the pan tightly with foil and return to the oven. Cook for another 4 hours, until meat is fork tender—meaning a fork goes in with almost no resistance. Approximately once an hour take it out and turn the meat, so both sides get equally moist. (If you’re busy, you can skip the turning; just make sure to turn it once, about halfway through.) Cooking time will vary, depending on the size and thickness of your brisket, so make sure to use the fork test.

Once it’s ready, refrigerate the meat overnight, then remove from the sauce and cut into thin slices, against the grain. Return slices to the sauce and reheat in the oven or over a low flame on the stovetop when ready to serve. Freezes well. Serve with the sauce and onions.


  • 3 lb. first-cut brisket
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. dried chives (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 large Spanish onions
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup honey


  1. Slice the onions in rounds. Place them in the bottom of a baking dish.
  2. Combine the paprika, garlic powder, chives and salt in a small bowl. Cover the brisket with the spice mixture. Pat it in gently until the meat can hold no more.
  3. Place the meat on top of the onions and put it into the oven at 400° F for 1 hour.
  4. Take the meat out, add the balsamic vinegar and honey, and cover the baking dish tightly. Lower the temperature to 250° F and cook for another 4 hours, until the meat is fork tender.
  5. Refrigerate the meat until completely cold (preferably overnight), then cut in thin slices against the grain. Return the sliced meat to the sauce. Reheat in the oven, or over a low flame. Serve with the onions and sauce.

Yields: Approximately 40 thin slices.

Do you eat brisket on Rosh Hashanah? How do you cook it? Any special family recipes?

Miriam Szokovski is the author of the historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher.
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Rochel MIami November 15, 2017

Hi! would love to try your recipe. Would it work with 1st cut brisket? Reply

Miriam Szokovski November 15, 2017
in response to Rochel:

Hi Rochel, yes, definitely, that is what the recipe calls for. Reply

Susan Salisbury September 27, 2017

תודה רבה לך I just had to say Todah Raba! I have always made brisket the way my mother made hers and my grandmother before her, with catsup and dried onion soup and worcestershire sauce. For nearly 40 years, that's how i made it.
But I have very bad acid reflux and can't eat anything with cooked tomatoes any more. I still made the brisket because my sons and husband love it, so I suffered. But now my son has the same problem, and I decided I had to find a recipe that wouldn't have us coughing and chugging Maalox.

I admit that I was a bit apprehensive about trying a new recipe this Rosh Hashanah, but my goodness! No, YOUR goodness. This was the best brisket I have ever had. Everyone at the table raved about it; my son said it was "better than Mommom's." Higher praise I couldn't receive.

I made it exactly the way you said, and it was just perfect. This is my new Traditional Recipe! Thank you so much for this. Reply

Anonymous September 24, 2017

Would it be ok to leave it in the refrigerator 2 or 3 days before slicing or is it better to freeze it? Thanks o Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 25, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

I would refrigerate overnight and slice. Then keep it in the fridge if you plan to serve it within the next 2-3 days or freeze it for longer. Reply

suzy handler Woodland Hills, Ca. September 18, 2017

please give me your address. The Brisket is something I dream
about. Reply

Anonymous flushing September 18, 2017

Do I mix up the balsamic and honey before I pour it on or do I pour it in separately? Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 19, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Either way works. I don't bother to mix them. Reply

Olga Susana San Antonio tx September 17, 2017

Thanks for the recipe, I will do it for this coming Rosh hashannah, I believe the key for a juice brisket is the timing and cook with love of course. Thanks Miriam Reply

Chaya September 16, 2017

Can this be made in a slow cooker? Thanks! Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 17, 2017
in response to Chaya:

Hi Chaya,

I'm sure it can. A reader below commented that she did in the slow cooker with 2 hours on high followed by 4 hours on low, and it came out great. Reply

Chaya September 25, 2017
in response to Miriam Szokovski:

Thank you. I couldn't adjust it because it was yom tov. My kids loved it!! (Especially my daughter Miriam who felt that she must like it due to the name of the recipe :) ) I halved the recipe for a 1.8lb brisket and cooked it for a couple hours with only the spices and then overnight with the liquid. I refrigerated in the morning and then sliced and reheated for lunch. I might cut the balsamic or the salt next time because it tasted salty to me, but my family was very happy with it and requested it again, thank you! Reply

Min K Las Vegas September 14, 2017

FYI - The second time I prepped this, I forgot to lower the temp for the long cook. Even though the pot was covered and I had added beef broth the meat was looking dried out (duh) after the first turn. So I added a can of beer and shortened the cook time. STILL ended up delicious. Thanks Miriam for a great recipe! Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn September 14, 2017

Could I use 2nd cut brisket? Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 14, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Second cut is a very different piece of meat. I haven't tried it with this recipe, so I can't say for sure how it would come out, but if you can get first cut it is much better. Reply

Anonymous September 17, 2017
in response to Miriam Szokovski:

The difference between first and second cut is that first cut has all the fat trimmed off of it. All you need it a really sharp knife to trim the fat off and you are the proud owner of a first cut brisket. Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 17, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

I am not a butcher but I do not believe that is fully accurate. Reply

Laura September 12, 2017

Freezing question Do you slice it and then freeze it? Or do you freeze it whole in the juice and slice after defrosting? Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 14, 2017
in response to Laura:

Either way will work, but I prefer to slice it first to give the slices time to absorb the flavor of the gravy. Also, that way you can stick it straight into the oven to heat when you're ready. Reply

Gabriella Perth August 3, 2017

I accidentally covered for the first hour, is it going to be a problem? Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 14, 2017
in response to Gabriella :

Hi Gabriella,

I'm sorry, I missed your message earlier. It's no issue at all, which I'm sure you know by now :-) I hope you enjoyed it. Reply

cK Toronto, Canada June 24, 2017

Made the recipe for the first time Rosh Hashanah 2016 - Most received compliments ever received for Brisket - Now a Family favourite! Thank You ... Reply

Miriam Szokovski September 14, 2017
in response to cK:

so glad! Thanks for letting me know. Reply

suzy handler woodland hills, ca January 3, 2017

You're invited to my house but do bring the delicious brisket! Reply

Min K January 2, 2017

For reheating, I added a can of beef stock to cover. That way it ended up not just fork tender but falling apart - just the way I like it and not overcooked. Next time I'll add the stock for cooking, just to make it easier to skim off the fat (which stuck to the meat this time). Best brisket I ever cooked! Reply

Miriam Szokovski October 27, 2016

apple cider vinegar I wouldn't use apple cider vinegar, it has a very different taste from balsamic, but if you tried it, let me know how it came out. Reply

Miriam Szokovski October 27, 2016

crock-pot Thanks Ariela. That sounds about a right. I haven't done it in the crockpot, but as long as it's on low for a long time, it should be good. Reply

Nicole October 21, 2016

Apple Cider vinegar vs balsamic vinegar Is apple cider vinegar okay as a substitute? I am having trouble finding kosher balsamic vinegar right now! Reply

Naomi Lieberman Phoenix, AZ October 9, 2016

Genevieve Lieberman, my mother-in-law, always made brisket with a whole can of beer and a large chopped onion covered tightly in foil. She cooked it at 325 until fork tender and as her mother always said: "Everybody loved it!" Reply

ariela europe October 7, 2016

Crockpot - ANswer to Rebecca hmmm.. this looks delicious!!!!

I make mine in the Crock pot- 2 hours on high and 4 hours on low. takes forever but it is soooo woth it.
Thank you for the amazing recipe Miriam, I also add fresh garlic and sometoimes I caramelize the onions with applecubes (for rosh hashana). Reply

rosh hashannah September 28, 2017
in response to ariela:

when cooking in the crock pot do you turn the meat? If so, how often? Reply

Miriam Szokovski October 6, 2016

hot or cold Hi Will,

On holidays, food can be warmed up in specific ways. You can read more about it here: Reply

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