This beef brisket from Nach Waxman, owner of the unparalleled Kitchen Arts & Letters cookbook store in Manhattan, is perhaps the most Googled brisket recipe ever. The reason is a unique technique: The brisket is partially cooked, removed from the oven, and sliced. It’s then returned to the oven to cook completely. Juicy, deeply flavorful, and amazingly tender. Genius.
Nach Waxman has the world’s most Googled best brisket recipe, asserts author Stephanie Pierson of the founder of Manhattan’s Kitchen Arts & Letters, a cookbook store of unparalleled excellence. Waxman grew up on New York’s Lower East Side with a devout tradition of brisket. As Pierson explains, his approach is an amalgam of his mother’s and his mother-in-law’s recipes, and a tribute to both of them. Although the most unique element of this recipe came from his mother-in-law. And it’s known as interim slicing, in which the brisket is partially cooked, sliced, and then returned to the pot to continue to cook. “She had this brilliant notion of what would be good—by cutting the meat and putting it back in the pot, you’ve created more surface area for browning. Interim slicing lets every piece be exposed to heat and juices and allows the flavor to penetrate the entire brisket. I find that the typical brisket has a beautiful exterior but inside the meat is gray. By slicing the brisket halfway through the cooking time and reassembling, every piece essentially gets to be an outside piece. The slices are beautiful, the meat is much firmer and less likely to ether fall apart or shred.” We couldn’t agree more. Originally published December 7, 2011.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Nach Waxman's Beef Brisket
- Quick Glance
- 40 M
- 4 H, 10 M
- Serves 10 to 12
- One (6-pound) first-cut beef brisket, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
- All-purpose flour, for dusting (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 8 medium onions, peeled and thickly sliced
- 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- Kosher salt
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- 1 carrot, peeled and trimmed
- 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Be ready with a large ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy pot that has a lid and is large enough to just barely (or snugly) fit the brisket.
- 2. Lightly dust the brisket with flour, if desired. Sprinkle the brisket with pepper. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the brisket to the pot and cook until crusty and browned areas appear on the surface here and there, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
- 3. Transfer the brisket to a platter. Increase the heat under the pot a little, add the onions, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, until the onions have softened and developed a rich brown color but aren’t actually caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Place the brisket on the onions and pour any juices that accumulated on the platter over the brisket.
- 4. Spread the tomato paste over the brisket as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle the brisket with salt and pepper and then add the garlic and carrot to the pot. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and let it cook, untouched, for 1 1/2 hours.
- 5. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the brisket 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. If absolutely necessary, add 2 to 3 teaspoons water to the pot.
- 6. Cover the pot and return it to the oven. Lower the heat to 325°F (163°C) and cook until the brisket is fork-tender, about 2 hours more. Check once or twice during cooking to make sure that the liquid hasn’t bubbled away. If it has, add a few more teaspoons of water—but no more. Also, each time you check, spoon some of the liquid on top of the roast so that it drips down between the slices so that the juices infuse the meat with flavor.
- 7. It’s ready to pile on a platter or cutting board and serve right away after you spoon just a little of the pan juices over the brisket to barely moisten it, although truth be told, it’s even better the second day after you let the brisket cool, cover it loosely with foil, and refrigerate it overnight. To rewarm, skim any fat from the surface of the juices and gently reheat the brisket in the juices, in a covered Dutch oven, in an oven preheated to 325°F (163°C) until warmed through, about an hour.