Beer-roasted Brisket—sublime?

An electric knife is ideal for cutting this into the thinnest possible slices.

Brisket is the easy-to-prepare, default, Jewish meat course, served at holiday meals, not uncommonly with the obligatory kugel side dish. We eat it because it’s tradition. Honestly, it’s usually neither here-nor-there, only made palatable by eating it with a generous dollop of apple sauce. This recipe, however, from my mom, results in a juicy and flavorful piece of meat.

Doug and I were part of an interfaith group in Albuquerque, with whom we shared holiday meals. It was there that a writer friend labeled this brisket “sublime.” We’ve never quite figured out how a piece of beef could merit praise like “sublime,” but our friend clearly loved this recipe. Unlike other favorite recipes which can be made at the last minute, this is best cooked the day before. After the meat cools, it is easy to lift the cooled fat off from the meat juices; also the chilled meat slices beautifully into lovely, thin strips.

Ruth’s Beer-roasted Brisket (best if prepared one day in advance)

  • 5 lb. brisket
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 bottle chili sauce (look for Heinz or Del Monte brands, near the ketchup)
  • 1 beer

Season beef with salt and pepper and put in a large roasting pan. Place onion, celery, and chili sauce on the meat, and add 1/4 c. water to bottom of pan. Roast uncovered at 325 degrees, basting often for 2-1/2 hours. Pour on the beer, cover and roast for an additional 1-1/2 hours.

(If desired, at this point you may eat the meat. It will not slice very well, however it will be moist and tender like a delicious roast.)

Let meat come to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. Lift off fat and slice meat as thinly as possible. Place the meat back into the juices and reheat either on the stove top, or in the microwave.

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