Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Brisket A Tasket

L'Shana Tova y'all! Happy, healthy and sweet New Year!

I'm the only one who bothered to get my grandmother's brisket recipe. Not sure why, because everyone loved it. But there are a million brisket recipes and I think they thought they'd just figure it out. I actually didn't start making it until I was around twenty-six or twenty-seven. Prior to that, I'd gotten the recipe but I had my boyfriend at the time make it. He claimed he was better in the kitchen than I am. I think then he probably was- it's not like I was ever Martha Stewart. He got some practice and he was actually pretty adept at it. He's not Jewish and neither is his wife, so I doubt he's been making it much, but if he was smart, he'd use it to show off every now and again. It's not like brisket is JUST a Jewish thing. I didn't know that either until I met another non-Jewish ex, also when I was around twenty-six, who informed me that down in Texas, where he's from, they eat it barbequed. Whatever. I don't know why bbq didn't occur to me but I'll go to a bbq place for that. For me, it's all about the other kind.

I have tried other recipes and other people's brisket but none compare to mine. I know everyone must think that but it's true. I'm not even tempted to eat brisket from anywhere else. Well, except Cohen's. Cohen is the only one that I truly loved her brisket. It was almost like a Hawaiian style BBQ or something. Everyone I've made mine for, except B, loves it. Now, he doesn't dislike mine in particular. He'd just rather eat some kind of salad than meat meal (What? WHY?!).

I share the recipe in hopes that at least someone can replicate it. The more people that know how to make it the way *I* like it, the better.

My brisket is different than any recipe I've seen because it's made ON the stove vs IN the oven. It's also made with only four ingredients- Kikkoman Lite soy sauce, lemon pepper, paprika and onion. Don't get caught up in their being like a million steps. I do that when I give driving directions too- landmarks. Same with the brisket. It's easy to mess up if you've never done it. I have burned it a few times in practice. It really depends on your stove and how hot it gets and how fast. I've made it on different stoves and have had to tweak it. I've also come up with some shortcuts or things to make life easier for me as time as gone on.

I now trim the meat of fat BEFORE I start cooking it. It saves me time and mess. I used to do it when I took it out of the pot to slice. But it was a huge disaster of mess. For me. Other people might be able to do it better. Neater. I also try to cut the onions the day before so I can just throw them in and the whole prep process goes faster. It also doesn't matter what the onions look like cut- shape, size, etc. I used to be particular about making sure they were chopped well. I actually strain them out of the juice/gravy before putting it in a container so it's easier if they're a little bigger.

The key to perfection is really making sure you keep adding paprika so the color is right. I've seen some sick looking brisket. Almost grey-ish. I like mine to be a real reddish brown. And just make sure you watch it to always have enough water in there but not submerged, and to turn it every forty-five min. That's all I can tell you. You just have to practice. Once you have it down to a science, it's magic. Before that, it's all red-brown ceiling, splattered clothes, and hours of meat-watching.



3-6 lb. Brisket (or however much you can stuff in the pot. I wouldn’t go bigger than 4.5 for the first time. BUT, it does shrink, A LOT)

4 Large white or sweet onions

Kikoman LITE Soy Sauce

Lemon Pepper


Large pot, like a 4-5.5 qt. pot that you would cook a pound or more of pasta in, but not “tall”, more squat/fat than tall.

Smaller pot of water or teapot of water


  1. Chop onions, not too finely.  Put them to the side. 
  2. Rinse the meat off under cold water.
  3. Put meat on some kind of platter or in a foil pan
  4. Pour Kikoman Lite Soy sauce over it, on both sides.  Lay it back down.
  5. Cover one side in Paprika, no set amount, just make sure you cover the whole thing with a thin layer.
  6. Sprinkle on some lemon pepper.  The more you use, the spicier it will be, so, it is “to taste”. 
  7. Take ¾ of the onions and put them in the pot.
  8. Lay the meat on top of the onions, paprika side down.  You might have to scrunch the meat up to fit it, but it will SHRINK A LOT so, it’s ok.
  9. Season the other side of the meat (side facing up) with the paprika and lemon pepper.
  10. Pour the remainder of the soy sauce/lemon pepper/paprika that got on the foil pan into the pot. 
  11. Throw the rest of the onions on top of the meat.
  12. The pot should be ON THE STOVETOP.
  13. Turn the burner on Medium and cover pot.
  14. Keep water boiled or boiling next to the pot of brisket. Or just add really hot water. My grandmother liked to keep it boiled. But that's just an extra pot to watch.
  15. You HAVE TO KEEP AN EYE on it.  Otherwise it will dry out and burn on the bottom.  Check every 15 min or so to make sure it is about halfway submerged in it’s juices. 
  16. If it looks low, add some water, just never fully submerge it.
  17. If you put water in and it washes away some of the spices, you can keep adding more paprika and lemon pepper- to taste….I like it to look really reddish brown, so, I use a lot of paprika….but less lemon pepper because I don’t like spicy.
  18. After 45 min, turn it over, and every 45 min after that for about 3 hours.
  19. When you can stick a fork mostly through the meat (which you can’t really do before it is ready), take it out of the pot, and slice it WITH the grain (or it will shred), into long pieces.
  20. Put the pieces BACK into the pot and cook for about 25 more minutes.  Then it is done.  Just taste it.  It should be really soft and kind of melt in your mouth.
  21. The juice in the pot is the gravy so that is also why you want to make sure it doesn’t dry up.
  22. Serve with cranberry sauce, challah bread, and potatoes, sweet or baked.

 **To reheat, take the gravy/juice that's left and throw it in a pot, add your leftover brisket and heat it in there.

***The recipe also is made with (white) potatoes IN it…towards the end.  Some people boil pieces of baked potato ¾ of the way through, then throw them in to cook the rest of the way in the gravy WITH the brisket in that last 25 min.  I don’t like potatoes so I don’t, but everyone else seems to love them. ***


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