For the best chance of a tender and moist brisket, follow the “Three B’s:” Brown the brisket to deepen the flavor; Braise the brisket completely covered to help trap moisture; and Bathe thinly-sliced meat in braising liquid to reinfuse it with juices. Also, try to use a brisket that still has the second cut (aka point or deckle) attached. There’s more fat that the lean first cut, and that’ll mean a moister brisket.
- 6 lbs whole beef brisket
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 medium yellow onions, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 lb carrots, cut into large dice (about 5 medium)
- ½ lb celery, cut into large dice (about 4 large ribs)
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 14-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juices
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 300°.
Season brisket all over with salt and pepper. Set a large stainless steel roasting pan over 2 burners set to medium-high heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add brisket and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes/side. Transfer brisket to a work surface.
Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to roasting pan and cook, stirring, until just starting to brown in spots, about 6 minutes; season with salt and smoked paprika. Add wine and bring to a simmer while scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stir in tomatoes and ketchup and return brisket to roasting pan, nestling it among veggies. Add thyme, rosemary and bay leaves to roasting pan and cover well with parchment paper and then foil (parchment forms a protective layer between the meat/acidic sauce and the foil). Cook brisket on middle rack until fork-tender, 3-4 hours. Grass-fed meat may take longer. Brisket is ready when it flakes tenderly when pierced with a fork.
Transfer brisket to a work surface and let rest 30 minutes. Skim fat from surface of braising liquid and season liquid with salt and pepper; discard thyme/rosemary sprigs and bay leaves. Slice brisket thinly against the grain, then transfer back to braising liquid, submerging slices well. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes in a warm place. Serve.
Brisket can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated whole or sliced in its braising liquid. Reheat gently before serving.