Braised Brisket with Onions and Carrots

Braised brisket with onions and carrots is a mostly hands-off dinner. The rich, sweet gravy and tender beef wows every time.

A partially submerged braised brisket with onions and carrots scattered on and around it.

My safta in the kitchen, standing maybe four feet tall, the smell of braising beef in the air, my brisket nostalgia is strong. Every family has their classic recipe—be it some “secret” ingredient like onion soup mix (MSG), Heinz chili sauce, or Coca-Cola. Our recipe recalls my roots, but with added sophistication and technique, rather than brand-name shortcuts.

Start with a good piece of meat. Ask for the flat cut, with an even thickness, end to end, to ensure even cooking. You also want a good fat cap (a nice 1 in [2.5 cm] or so layer of fat blanketing the top of the meat) to keep it tender and juicy as it cooks. We use prunes, lots of onions, and carrots for sweetness. The mustard gives a good acidic balance to the final dish. Don’t be scared by the large pile of sliced onions—they’ll caramelize and provide body for the gravy. While beer gives the beef a slightly nutty flavor, red wine is also great here, especially for holidays like Passover, where having beer in the house is a shonda. Cooking the brisket a few days ahead will let the flavors marry and make it even better—it also allows for a quick skim of the excess fat.–Evan Bloom and Rachel Levin

*Why is my braised brisket dry?

Oh, honey. A dry, chewy brisket is one of the biggest disappointments in the kitchen—after curdled cream in your coffee. We have some steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. Start with a piece of meat that has nice marbling and a decent fat cap. As the meat braises, the fat renders out and keeps the meat from drying out through the long cooking process. And don’t even think about trying to speed up the cooking process—brisket’s long muscle fibers need that long, low braise to soften. Finally, and you’ll hear us say this a lot, don’t skip the resting period between cooking and serving. Trust us, it helps all those juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Braised Brisket with Onions and Carrots

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 19 H
  • Serves 8 to 12
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In a small bowl, mix the mustard, salt, and pepper. Plop the brisket on a rimmed baking sheet and slather the mustard mixture all over the brisket. Let sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight for maximum moistness.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a Dutch oven or another large heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pot over medium heat, warm the oil until shimmering. Add the brisket and sear until browned with a nice golden crust on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Move to a platter.

Increase the heat to medium-high, add the stock to the pot, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Add the beer, prunes, bay leaves, and brown sugar. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring if necessary. Remove from the heat.

Return the brisket to the pot, fat-side up, and scatter the carrots around the meat. Blanket the meat with the onions and garlic.

Cover the pot tightly with a lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place in the oven and braise the brisket, flipping every hour, until a fork inserted into the center rotates easily, with just a little resistance, but without tearing the meat to shreds, 3 to 4 hours.

Remove the brisket from the pot and use a large, sharp knife to cut the brisket against the grain into 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick slices. Remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard.

Using an immersion blender directly in the pot, purée the jus and the remaining tender vegetables—this will give the gravy a sweet taste and enough body to slick over the brisket. (At this point, the brisket and gravy can be moved to a roasting pan, ready to reheat, with the brisket fanned out and smothered by the gravy. Or store in separate containers.)

Either way, let cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

To reheat the brisket straight out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Use a spoon to skim off any fat on the surface of the gravy. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and warm until heated through, about 30 minutes.

If you prefer a thicker gravy, transfer half of the gravy to a small heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a medium simmer. Cook the gravy in the small pot until reduced by half, stirring as needed so it doesn’t burn, 30 to 40 minutes. If you like, whisk in the butter for extra sheen, body, and richness, and then a bit more mustard to taste.

Arrange the brisket on a platter, spoon the thickened gravy over the meat, and serve.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This was my very first brisket and it was an experience. I've never tried one and was intimidated by it—silly me. It's more a matter of patience than skill. This braised brisket with onions and carrots was total comfort on a cold, dark, cloudy, rainy day at the Jersey Shore. Beefy, juicy, fork-tender comfort.

Hands-on time is minimal but you must plan ahead. No instant gratification here. The results are easily obtainable even from a novice like myself. Starting with a good cut of meat from the butcher, some veggies and pantry items, and you're off.

This recipe for brisket with onions and carrots would serve 8, with some left over. It's hard to tell how many people this would actually serve as I've frozen the meat and we are still eating our way through it all.

It was hard to get good slices of the meat as my brisket was rolled therefore when you cut through the roll the meat separates into its separate pieces. The gravy was really quite sweet but I used it as the basis of my roast gravy and added some gravy granules which made it less sweet and also allowed me to dilute it down a bit.

I've used the meat in a conventional roast dinner, with mashed potato, gravy and vegetables and also with sweet chile sauce and sliced scallions in a wrap. Both have been delicious and I'd make the recipe again and recommend it to others.


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