The Best Tasting Brisket

So let's face it, I've shamelessly burned and ruined more pieces of meat than I would like to recall.  But at some point I had to figure out what I was doing wrong.  Having this recipe would have made the learning curve so much more bearable for my family who have survived many a burnt beef item.  This particular stepwise instructional allows for the most amateur cook to succeed in making  a GREAT meal.  I would never kid you.

I have been making beef brisket this way for a while and let me tell you, when that sauce begins to simmer my Wild Boar of a husband starts pacing around the kitchen like a puppy looking for a handout.

No matter what you've heard THIS IS THE BEST BRISKET EVER!  I'm not kidding.  It's super tangy, smoky and moist.  This meal can feed a crowd with minimal work and dollars spent.  Everyone you make this for will fall in love with you almost instantly; worshiping the ground you walk on.  You'll see, they will want seconds, thirds even fourths, no joke.  Even if you have had no success in the kitchen, this will be your new signature dish.  I promise, promise, promise.

A while back I saw this recipe in Taste of Home magazine and I had a feeling it would be a winner.  In fact this was a grand prize winning recipe.  I changed it up a bit (but not much) and it has never failed me.  NEVER!  The secrets in the sauce.

So come on, let's cook it up.  Don't be afraid, you can do this.  The adoration you will receive from your family and friends will far outweigh any reservations you have about cooking a giant piece of meat.  I know it's scary but you can do it.

Here are the provisions you'll need to make this recipe come together.  These are all very standard ingredients.  Name brands do not matter; whatever you have around will work just fine.  Brisket (of course), onion, butter, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce (what's that them there sauce...sorry), lemon juice, chili powder, hot pepper sauce, horseradish, salt, and garlic powder.  Now go and get your ingredients, I'll wait...(tapping my foot)...okay let's begin.

Go ahead and unwrap your meat.  Make sure all the paper is removed from the underside.  Don't ask me why I'm telling you this.  These are two, 2-1/2 pound to 2-3/4 pound briskets.  The original recipe called for one 6 pound brisket.  Now, I'm not sure where the heck you would get a 6 pound brisket (Costco most likely) but most stores do not carry briskets in that enormity.  I suppose the butcher could cut you one that way but I'm pretty confident there would be a giant hunk of fat left on there.  I prefer two smaller flat cuts totaling 5-6 pounds.  Place the two slabs next to each other in a big roasting pan.  This recipe will allow you to use your giant, cumbersome turkey roaster you dig out only once a year.  You will feel good about using it again.  You really will.

You'll need to chop one large onion.  Brown, white, Maui, doesn't matter, whatever you have (but not red).  I'm using Maui Sweet onion.  Do a somewhat small to medium dice.  So as your crying, I mean chopping (onions really kill my eyes) keep in mind these onions will cook down and meld into the sauce so precise chopping is not required here.  I need a pair of those onion goggles I've seen on late night TV somewhere.  Does anyone know where I can get them?

Now we're going to add my single most favorite ingredient next to mayonnaise, BUTTER.  Oh yes, the butter.  We're getting serious now.  Only 1/2 a cup butter (one stick) will get the job done.  You can add more if you're feeling crazy.

Melt your butter in a heavy sauce pan.  See how easy this is!!

Now toss in the onion that previously brought you to tears and sauté until it is tender.  Four to five minutes on medium-high heat will be sufficient.  Nothing too complicated except for the fact I had to take this photo by myself with my right hand while I stirred with the left.  It was WAY too complicated for me.  I think I crossed my eyes while I was taking this shot, hence the blurry action shot.

Now for the brown sugar; you can use golden or dark, or a mixture of both.  It really will not matter.

Add 1-1/2 cups of the brown sugar to the pan and stir it up until the butter-onion-sugar mixture has melded together and is now one with the universe.  I know, I seriously need to get some better lighting for these photos.  Bare with me, I'm working on it.

Now for the ketchup.  And here's the only part of this recipe that totally, totally makes me spin on my head and spit nickels.  This recipe calls for 28 ounces of ketchup which is 3-1/2 cups.  Well, ketchup bottles come in 24 or 36 ounce bottles (or mega-Costco size).  So the problem is I just want to squirt a whole, brand new bottle in the sauce and be done with it; but you can't.  I have to add another 4 ounces to this recipe from my mega-Costco stash.  I know this sounds lazy but when your hooligans are dancing around your kitchen like they are performers in Riverdance it's hard to keep track of things like how many cups of ketchup have already been added.  If someone from Heinz is reading this, could please take care of this problem? I would greatly appreciate it.  Okay, I'm done venting (maybe).

So go ahead and squirt the ketchup in and get those dang 4 ounces from somewhere else.  Ugh.

Now go ahead and juice your lemons.  I know it looks like I'm mutilating this lemon but I hate having my picture taken even if it's just of my hands.  It makes me very nervous.  So to compensate for my jitters and inferior kitchen skills, I made it look like I squeezed this poor lemon to death.  But I promise you, no lemons were harmed during the making of this brisket.  So, you need 1/3 cup of lemon juice which is about 2-3 lemons, depending on how juicy they are.  And don't you love the lemon-juicer thingy.  Of course you don't need this tool but it makes me feel important, so I use it.  But have you noticed, not one chef on TV Food Network uses this tool.  When I have my own show I will be the only one using it.  Just call me the trendsetter.

Dump in the lemon juice to mix with the ketchup and give this recipe that super-tangy flavor that will make your insides tingle.

Now find the Lea & Perrins.  What's their story anyway?  Are they brothers? Friends?  God only knows they make the best dang sauce in the free world.

So add a 1/2 cup of Worcestershire to your already beautiful sauce.  We're halfway done, don't give up on me now.

Don;t be afraid of this.  It's only here to give the sauce a little bite.  You won't even notice its wondrous abilities in the final outcome.  It will sit quietly in the shadows of the ketchup, never getting the full recognition it deserves for its contribution to this recipe.

2 teaspoons of horseradish is all you need.  What a silly word, horse-radish.  Very odd don't you think?

I love garlic in any shape or form.  Roasted, smashed, mashed, dried, powdered, pressed, it's all good.  Now go find yours.

A 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder will do.

Salt anyone?  If it were socially acceptable to tie a salt-lick around my neck I would do it.

1 teaspoon of salt a day keeps the doctor away. Or something like that.

Now we are going to take this recipe up to another level.  Any hot pepper sauce will work; Tabasco, Tapatio or whatever you have around.  I happen to love Frank's and hoard many bottles of it in my pantry.  I seriously think I have it in every flavor possible.  I put it on my eggs, spaghetti, even chips.  You name it, I've probably done it but I can be gross that way.

The original recipe calls for 1-1/2 teaspoons, I always add 2 teaspoons.  Why not.  Live dangerously.  Don't you love this blurry photo madness?

It can't get more exciting than this...chili powder...Yippee!  Any brand will do.

I've stirred things up a bit and now I'm adding the chili powder, 2 Tablespoons is the magic number.

Now I have a little secret.  This was not in the original recipe and is totally optional.  This dish is fabulous without it but this stuff is sooo scrumptious.  It gives foods a smoky flavor but is very, very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.  Your grocery store probably carries it in the marinades or barbecue sauce section.  But if you can't find it, Forgeddaboutit!  But if you can get your hands on it or already have it, USE it.  Any brand works, I happen to have these two.  Use only 2 teaspoons, it's very strong.

Now after all your ingredients are added, bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down to low.  Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes until it is reduced to roughly six cups.  Stir every five minutes as to not scorch the bottom of the pan.  Do not go do the laundry at this point.  Stay with your sauce, it needs you.

After simmering away, your sauce is now ready.  Go ahead and add 3 cups of the sauce to the roasting pan, completely covering the meat.  Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil.  Reserve the rest of the sauce for pouring over the meat when it is finished cooking.

Place the roasting pan in the oven at 250 degrees for 4-1/2 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily.  Set it and forget it (sort of)!  I love that line but it stems from too much late night TV again.

Every hour, stick your head in the oven, lift the foil and spoon any sauce that has collected from the sides of the pan over the meat.  Don't burn yourself!

Honey, I Shrunk the Meat!!  Just kidding, but the meat in this photo is larger than it appears.  I know with this unbelievable photography you can see that delectable, tangy sauce that has encrusted itself to the meat.  You must resist the temptation here to just start eating.  Let the meat rest for 15 minutes so that all the juices can redistribute back into the brisket.  Don't stand there and pick at the meat like I do.  It's bad manners.

Now slice the meat very thinly and place it on a serving platter.  Your heart should be pumping out of your chest at this point with the mere excitement of your upcoming meal.  Husband is now circling the kitchen island.

Now, go ahead and pour some of the reserved sauce over the meat.  And don't forget the sauce left in the pan after cooking the meat...use that too.  You could also throw all the sliced meat back into the roasting pan with the cooking and reserved sauce and completely coat the meat before plating it up. That would be really good.

Isn't that lovely?

There are no words for this photo.

Heaven on a platter......

The best part of this recipe is it feeds a small army.  You can also make it for just your family and there will be tons of leftovers for lunch or brisket sandwiches the next day and three days later.

I really like this recipe for entertaining because the sauce can me made a day ahead if need be.  On party day all you have to do is throw the meat in the oven, no fussing required.  It allows you to then run around like a maniac and clean the bathrooms before your guests arrive.

So good luck and let me know how yours turns out.

Tangy Beef Brisket
adapted from Taste at Home Magazine

1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup butter
28 ounces of ketchup
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (I used 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
2 beef briskets totaling 5-6 pounds or one large 6 pound beef brisket (if you can find it)

Saute onion and butter in a heavy saucepan until tender.  Add the next nine ingredients; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat; simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes until reduced to about 6 cups.

Place the brisket in a roasting pan.  Add 3 cups of sauce.  Cover and bake at 250 degrees for 4-1/2 hours for two smaller briskets or until the meat pulls apart easily, basting occasionally.  If you use one large 6 pound brisket bake at 325 degrees for 5-1/2 hours, covered.  Skim any fat.  Remove brisket and let rest for 15 minutes.  Thinly slice the beef and pour remaining sauce from the pan and reserved sauce over the beef.  Or throw the thinly sliced beef back into the roasting pan with the cooking sauce and add the sauce you reserved and completely coat the meat, then plate it up.  It will be so saucy and so good.

I haven't tried it but I bet this would do well in a slow cooker.

Post a Comment


  1. mary 1

    Hi Cathy,
    thanks for your nice comment on my valentine’s post. I have to tell you that I’m reading this at 6:50 am and my mouth is watering — I’m literally drooling all over the keyboard. Yum!

  2. loran 2

    Y U M. I might just be able to do this. I WILL try and if I succeed, my husband will love you forever. FOREVER. :)

  3. Joanna 3

    OH MY GOSH CATHY!! I’m bedazzled by your photographic and journaling skills….I’m sold, and have already put your site in my favorites. Thanks for the laughs and recipe! Will you be doing this weekly? Any ideas for Easter dinner?

  4. emily 4

    If you don’t want to cry while chopping onions, hold a wooden matchstick between your teeth — match head out. My mom lights it, puts it out and then holds it in her teeth, but that is a little strong for me… an unlit match works just as well.

  5. WOW. Another winner. Looks great. The only thing I would add about this & other cuts of the sort id the importance of slicing the meat against the grain. The whole thing can be easily ruined (or at least hurt) bu cutting with the grain – leading to overly chewy slices.

    But clearly another winner!!

  6. jancd 6

    You can but big old 6 pound briskets in Texas, but they are not as lean as the ones you used. I’m trying your recipe this summer. Looks delish!

  7. What a great recipe – When I was a kid my Mom made Brisket very similar to the recipe above but her secret ingrediant was a can of beer. Added great flavor.


  8. Bea 8

    Litterally ran out to the staore, and now have my brisket in the oven. Can not wait to try the finished product…couldn’t help myself had to taste the sauce and almost fainted from the sheer perfection of sweet/spicy goodness.
    Thank you for the MOST excellent recipe.

  9. Michelle 9

    Food Detectives on Food Network determined that the only verifiable way to prevent onion eyes is to cool the onion before you chop it-just stick the onions in the fridge for 30 mins and chop away-the cold slows the release of the crying fumes 😉

  10. Joy olson 10

    Thank you so much for your site. Right now I can smell the brisket cooking and we are 20 min away from eating time. This is my first attempt on your site and with a brisket. I want to thank you fir helping me to be brave in the kitchen. Keep it up I will be coming back for more!! I will let you know how it turns out.

  11. bethieofva 11

    OMG!! I just read this today and I am going to make this. It looks fabulous and so simple. I have to tell you though, I can’t remember seeing brisket at the store. I am wondering if I am going to have a hard time finding a piece. YUMMY!!

  12. Sophie 12

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was fantastic! You can see it on my blog.

  13. Wanda 13

    I just love this site, and Cathys personality is as sweet as the food! I spent 3 hrs straight giggling over her comments, and saving recipes to do for my family. I saved a photo to go with each recipe in notepad in the same file with the same name so when you choose what you want to make the pic shows up beside the recipe. It’s wonderful, and I can’t wait to do the, umm, well lets say “all” of them! HUGGLES TO CATHY!

  14. I can usually find whole 12-15lb briskets at Walmart that are in their original Excel meat package. I put those big boys on the smoker though.

  15. Linda 15

    I have been studying recipes and searching for new recipes for over 30 years and I absolutely love this site and your recipes are all awesome! Never have seen a better place to find outstanding recipes. This brisket recipe is absolutely to die for. I have never posted a comment before on any recipe site but I just had to after making this brisket and reading your comments. Your humor is laugh-out-loud funny. Thank you so much.

  16. Very easy and tastes amazing! Thank you for what you do, it is appreciated! xoxo