Holiday dinners are enough work that you don’t want a fussy main course! My braised beef brisket not only can be made the day before, but it’s even better that way. All you need to do the day of is slice the brisket, add some mixed veggies to the pan, and then warm up the brisket and gravy. No fuss.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, holiday mains should cook quickly, think minutes here, or cook sloooowly with no hard finishing time.
As the cook, you have enough to do without worrying about both wrangling guests and a roast which takes hours and will turn to dry dust if left in the oven for 10 minutes more. That’s why I prefer the sorts of roasts like my butterflied leg of lamb, which I can start cooking once all the wrangling is done, or ones which can wait patiently for everyone to be ready for dinner.
This roast is one hundred percent on the low and slow, you don’t have to worry about it, train. In fact, it is really best to make a day or even two ahead of time! If you want beautiful slices, that braised beef brisket needs to cool and settle.
And happily it’s not only low stress but also quite simple to make as roasts go! *looks at ingredients list* Okay, there are a few ingredients, but this is a whole dinner. Meat, gravy, and vegetables. Just buy some rolls and open a wine and you have a meal.
How to make braised beef brisket
There are just a few steps to get started. (And remember you are doing this in the calm before the storm.)
First, salt and pepper your brisket and then let it hang out while you chop. Then chop up the braising veggies, along with plenty of onions. Give everything a good sear and browning on the stove and then it’s into the roasting pan for a long, slow braise. Don’t skip the sear! This is going to build flavor.
Once your 3 hours are up, take out the brisket and package up the brisket and the sauce into a container. Into the fridge they go.
The next day, when your brisket is cold and firm, slice it up. Then puree the onion gravy. And finally, chop up the roasted vegetables you are going to serve with the brisket.
Once you are ready to make dinner, start roasting up the dinner veggies, warm up the sauce on the stove, and then warm up the brisket. This will all take about 30 minutes. And dinner is served!
How to choose a good brisket for braising
First of all, what is beef brisket? The brisket is the muscle under the first five ribs of the cow and it supports much of the weight of the animal.
This means two things: the brisket is going to be tough and it’s going to be large.
We’re taking care of the tough part of the equation by braising the brisket. Brisket is also often smoked, cured, or corned. All great ways to deal with a tough cut of meat.
As for the large part, the butcher often takes care of that by dividing the brisket into two portions. The two parts of the brisket are called the flat cut and the point or deckle cut. (Though your supermarket may be like mine and just call both of them brisket with no qualifier.) What I used here today was the flat cut. The flat cut is leaner and fairly rectangular in shape. The point cut is more triangular and fattier. This means that the flat cut is easier to slice neatly but it can be drier, while the point cut is messier but richer.
For this recipe, either cut will work quite well. You will have neater slices and need to do less trimming with the flat cut, and I find that the overnight soak in the braising liquid keeps the meat moist and flavorful. However, the richer, more tender point cut is always going to be welcome on the holiday table.
One note: if you are using the point cut, you will likely need to separate out the fat before you puree the onion gravy! Luckily, chilling everything overnight makes removing the fat quite easy.
So, at your next party or holiday dinner, take things low and slow and do the work the day before!
More Braised or Slow Roasted Holiday Mains:
- Slow Roasted Greek Lamb Leg and Potatoes
- Roast Pork Shoulder Porchetta Style
- Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder
If you try my recipe for braised beef brisket, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Braising, Annemarie
Braised Beef Brisket with Rich Onion Gravy
Braised Brisket and Onion Gravy
- 1 4 lb beef brisket
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 2 large white onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups low or no sodium chicken stock, or homemade beef stock
- 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp orange zest, optional
- 8-10 medium carrots, left whole if smaller or cut into spears
- 12 large brussels sprouts, about 3/4 of a pound, cut in half
- 8-10 medium radishes, cut into halves and quarters
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Braised Brisket and Onion Gravy
- Preheat oven to 325F. Take out your roasting pan.
- Remove the brisket from its packaging and sprinkle it liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Prep the onions, carrots, and garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sear the brisket on both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Move the brisket to the roasting pan.
- Turn down the heat to medium low and add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Saute until soft and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Add the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and orange zest. Bring it back to a boil. Pour the hot braising liquid over the brisket. Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil
- Braise the brisket for 3 - 3 1/2 hours. Or until you can pierce it easily with a fork. Let the brisket cool for 30 minutes, then transfer the brisket and all the braising liquid and vegetables to a sealable container and refrigerate the brisket overnight.
Roasted Vegetables and Serving the Brisket
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- At least 1 hour before you are going to eat, and up to several hours, begin preparing the brisket for serving.
- Separate the braising liquid from the brisket and move the brisket to a cutting board. Slice the brisket into 1/4 inch slices. (The brisket at this point can be covered and put back into the refrigerator if you are doing this ahead.)
- Take the braising liquid and puree it until smooth in the blender to make the onion gravy. Transfer the onion gravy to a saucepan and put it on low heat to warm through.
- Toss the roasting vegetables with the olive oil and salt. Spread them out on your roasting pan and roast them for 10 minutes. Give the vegetables and stir and turn them over, then make a space in the middle for the brisket. Add the brisket to the center of the roasting pan and pour a ladleful of the gravy over the brisket to keep it moist.
- Reduce the oven heat to 350F. Return the roasting pan to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until the brisket is warmed through.
- Transfer the brisket to a serving platter and surround it with the roasted vegetables. Pour the hot gravy into a container and serve along side.
- You can make the brisket up to 2 days ahead.
- Can't make it ahead? You will want to rest the brisket, covered with foil, for at least 1 hour out of the oven after the initial braising. Then separate out and puree the gravy and slice the brisket. Since the brisket will still be warm, you can either serve without rewarming or put it in the oven for just a few minutes to give it a little extra heat. Please note that the brisket will not slice as neatly without the overnight rest.
- Any combination of vegetables which you enjoy roasted can substituted. Broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, and turnips are some which I like. If you decide to use a more tender vegetable, like asparagus, in the mix add it after you stir and turn the vegetables, since asparagus will not need 30 minutes to cook.