« Instant-read thermometer: like or dislike? | Main | Pesto potato salad »

Grandma's beef brisket

Grandma's beef brisket, braised in red wine until it practically falls apart!

Over the years I've told you a bit about my maternal grandmother, a rabbi's wife, lifelong vegetarian and Kosher cook who could add columns of numbers going up as well as down (when I was a kid, I thought this was pure genius), and who indulged her family with recipes like this simple preparation for beef brisket. It is, and has always been, my favorite, not just of her sizeable culinary repertoire, but also of all of the many ways I've cooked brisket in my own kitchen. Since I first shared this recipe with you in December 2006, I've probably made it at least fifty times. How's that for a recommendation? This time, I remembered to take photos. (P.S.: A reader wrote to me years ago and said she wanted to make this recipe, but without the red wine. I responded that she could substitute beef broth, but then it wouldn't be my grandma's recipe. By replacing the sweet Manischewitz wine with dry red wine, I've pushed as far as I can go. So feel free to make this without the wine, but it won't be grandma's beef brisket. It will be your brisket, and that's okay.)

Grandma's beef brisket makes the world's best sandwiches!

Grandma's beef brisket {gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: seasoned salt, olive oil, onions, black peppercorns, bay leaf, dry red wine.

The original version of this recipe calls for Manischewitz kosher wine, but it's too sweet for me. If you have time, make this at least one day ahead, and store in an airtight container in the braising liquid to keep the meat moist. You also can freeze the meat, whole or sliced.

Serves 8 or more.


4-5 lb beef brisket, well trimmed of visible fat
Seasoned salt
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 enormous yellow onions, thickly sliced
1 bay leaf
12-15 black peppercorns
1 bottle dry red wine, or more


Rub the meat all over with seasoned salt (approximately 2 teaspoons in all, or more), and brown in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot (do not add any oil or fat). When the meat is browned on all sides, remove it to a platter and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low heat, and sauté the sliced onions until they are limp, but not brown, 15 minutes.

Add to the onions the meat, bay leaf, peppercorns, wine, and enough water to just cover the meat. Cover and simmer for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, until the meat almost falls apart.

The brisket will taste better on the second day (let it cool and refrigerate it in the liquid), but if you can't wait, serve it at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More wonderful ways to cook beef brisket, though none quite the same as my grandma's:
Beef brisket with merlot and prunes, from Sassy Radish
Braised brisket with potatoes and carrots, from Skinnytaste
Slow cooked beef brisket tacos, from The View from Great Island
Baked beef brisket in red wine, from The Little Kitchen

Grandma's beef brisket, braised in red wine until it practically falls apart.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I think one of the best things about blogging is being able to document long-time favorite family recipes like this one. It sounds delicious and your grandmother sounds like a wonderful person.

Kalyn, I think a lot of us got into blogging in the first place to be able to record and share those family favorite recipes. I cook from my blog all the time, and I'm so glad I have the recipes online now. I wish I'd cooked with my grandmother more often; she was an amazing cook who never, ever used a recipe.

I was just thinking of trying to recreate a magnificent nut loaf that my nana made. I miss her and her nut loaf. :)

Janice, cooking is one of the ways I remember my grandmother best. She's been gone a long time, but her brisket lives on!

is there something i can use instead of the wine, as wine effects me too for some reason.

Renae, as I've said in the paragraph above the recipe, you can substitute beef broth for the wine. It won't be quite the same, but it will be good.

Hi just wondering it the Brisket corned/pickled ?

Rebecca, no.

The comments to this entry are closed.