What Makes These Briskets Different from All Others?

You got your Brisket for Passover. Now what? 
March 30, 2023
Lara Hata/Getty Images

You got your Brisket for Passover. Now what? 

We asked a variety of chefs for their best brisket tips.

Pitmaster Jakob Miller, founder of the Barbecue Pals blog, believes the key to making brisket moist, juicy, and delicious is patience and attention to detail.

Miller learned to cook the perfect brisket for his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah.

“I spent days researching and experimenting with different recipes until I found the perfect one,” Miller told the Journal. “I slow-cooked the brisket for hours until it was tender and flavorful, and my family couldn’t stop raving about it.”

Miller says, don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and cooking methods until you find the recipe that works for you.

Jakob Miller’s Brisket

1 (3-4 pound) beef brisket
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven or smoker to 300°F.

Season the brisket with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Brown the brisket on both sides and remove from the oven.

Add onion and garlic to the pot, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. 

Then add beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, honey, smoked paprika and thyme. Stir until well combined.

Return the brisket to the pot and spoon the sauce over it. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the brisket is tender and the internal temperature reaches 190°F.

Remove the pot from the oven and let the brisket rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Josh Kreitzman, second generation owner of Prime Time Butcher, says the best brisket starts with a USDA prime brisket. 

“Don’t be afraid to leave a good amount of fat covering on the top; it only enhances the taste of the meat and gravy,” Kreitzman told the Journal. “You will trim that fat off once the brisket is cold and all the fat will come to the top of the gravy.” 

Kreitzman said the cooking process should take around 3 hours at 325 degrees. You will know when it is done when it’s “fork tender.” That means the fork comes in and out of the meat without much resistance). 

“The most important aspect of the cooking is that you slice it tip to tip against the grain,” he said.

Jodie Morgan, CEO and co-owner of Covenant Winery in Berkeley, CA, says to be sure to use enough onions. 

“They reduce, and they add a tremendous amount of flavor,” Morgan told the Journal.  “I often use as many as 6 large onions for a 3-pound brisket.

Morgan also says:

• Make sure your bay leaves are fresh. Nothing is worse than using a faded, old bay leaf.

• I use juniper berries, which add a lovely aromatic edge.

• For the braising liquid, I use a blend of (dry) red wine and chicken stock. The wine’s acidity softens the meat and the chicken stock adds richness.

• A small amount of tomato paste (1 – 2 tablespoons) thickens the sauce, which will also make a fabulous gravy for mashed potatoes.

“Finally, what really makes any dish special is your wine accompaniment,” Morgan said. “Fruity (but dry) red wines like Zinfandel or Pinot Noir are terrific. More robust Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah will also make excellent pairings.” 


In Debbie Kornberg’s household, making brisket is a collaborative effort. She oversees the seasoning and saucing of the brisket. Her husband is responsible for smoking, cooking and slicing it. 

“What makes our brisket so delicious is that we season and smoke/BBQ it first before cooking it in the oven overnight,” Kornberg, chef, owner of SPICE + LEAF and cooking teacher, told the Journal. This locks in all the flavor and juices of the brisket, so it does not dry out.

“Picking the right kind of meat also makes a difference.” she said. “We like to use Top of Rib, it is a thinner cut of meat and while it does have some fat in it, it is not too marbly. Some people may prefer a 2nd cut brisket which has more marbled fat in it.”

 Kornberg adds, seasoning the brisket with spices is important and helps tenderize the meat. The secret ingredient in her SPICE + LEAF dry rub is the coffee! 

 “The next important factor is the sauce,” Kornberg said. “The brisket will sit in the sauce while it is cooking overnight, so flavors matter. The key here is to make sure the brisket is covered in the sauce, so it does not dry out and to let it cook at a low temperature slowly.”

Passover Brisket
By Rabbi David and Debbie Kornberg

3 lbs. Top of Rib

Spice Blend:
SPICE + LEAF Smok’in Good Espresso BBQ Rub (kosher certified by EarthKosher, not certified kosher for Passover)

Or create your own Kosher for Passover version. Combine the following spices in bowl and mix well:

5 heaping Tbsp smoked paprika
5 heaping Tbsp minced onion
3 and 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp ground coffee
1 Tbsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp ground black pepper

Spiced Tomato Sauce
1 can of tomato sauce, 15 oz
1 ¼ cup of red wine
3 Tbsp brown sugar
15 garlic cloves, chopped.
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cumin

1. Crust both sides of brisket with Smok’in Good Espresso BBQ Rub. Let marinate for at least 4 hours to overnight in the refrigerator.

 2. When you are ready to smoke meat on the grill, preheat the oven to 225°F.

  3:  Option 1:  Use a smoker like a Trager or a Big Green Egg and set the temperature to smoke. Let meat smoke for about 50 minutes to an hour.

Option 2: Use a BBQ charcoal grill. Spread out coals evenly on the grill, light charcoal and let go for a good 20 to 30 minutes so the grill is not too hot. Place seasoned brisket on grill, cover grill and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes on each side.

4. While meat is cooking on a smoker or BBQ grill, prepare sauce. Using a medium size bowl, place all sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk everything together well. Set aside.    

 5. Make sure the oven is preheated to a temperature of 225°F. Place meat into a baking pan. Cover with spiced tomato sauce. Add water to ensure the meat is fully covered with liquid.

 IMPORTANT: Cover brisket with the heavy-duty aluminum foil. Break off a piece that will be big enough to cover the entire pan with a good seal. Using a thermometer with a probe (preferably one with an alarm component, so it alerts you when it’s done), poke a small hole into the foil and insert into the thickest part of the brisket.

  Set the thermometer alarm to reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees and place the brisket into the oven. This is a long process and can take eight or more hours. 

Note: If you are really running out of time, you can increase the oven temperature to 230 to 250°F to help the process along but watch the thermometer closely. Also, increasing the temperature may dry out the brisket.

 6. Once the brisket has reached an internal temperature of 200°F. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least one to two hours. The brisket will continue to cook which is good, and hopefully will get to an internal temperature of 203°F, which is the magic number.

7. Using an electric knife, slice meat into half-inch slices and place back into sauce so it does not dry out. Cover with foil. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Once cool, you can also either place it into the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat at 250°F and ensure the meat is covered in sauce to avoid the brisket drying out.

Chag Pesach Sameach!

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