Want to know just how famous my brisket is? Every year, the expert cooking staff at Levana Restaurant showcases Passover programs in four prestigious hotels. A few years ago my son Maimon worked as one of the supervisors at the Scottsdale Resort. At one of the dinners, the guests were served brisket. One guest was heard to say, “This is delicious but not as good as Levana’s.” “That’s my mother!” my son cried proudly, like a third-grader, terminating then and there his incognito status as a member of the staff. Anyway, this is guaranteed to be the best brisket you ever had. Never mind the weird ingredients. They work! And don’t worry if the brisket is too much for your guests to finish. It freezes beautifully. This recipe was included in the New York Times Jewish Cookbook, and is included in The Brisket Book: a Love Story with Recipes.
Please don’t believe anyone who will tell you first-cut brisket is not as moist and tender as its second-cut fat an unappealing slab of a counterpart: they will never say that again after they taste this! Just make certain you are not getting some obscure slab of dry stringy meat masquerading (and priced) as first-cut brisket.
In response to FAQ: No problem freezing the brisket. Here’s how I like to do it: Slice the brisket. Place the slices side by side vertically in a pan, tightly packed together like a deck of cards, just as if you were serving it now, and pour your gravy over it. cover the pan air-tight, and freeze. To reheat: place the frozen pan at 250 degrees for about 1 hour, or a little longer, until heated through. Or: leave the pan out to thaw a few hours, then reheat at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes, or a little longer, until heated through.
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- one 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard (omit on Passover)
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ½ cup coke
- 1 cup ketchup
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup cider-vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce (omit on Passover, or if you think your meat might be too salty)
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1 first-cut brisket, six to seven pounds, rinsed and patted thoroughly dry
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Process all but last ingredient in a food processor until smooth. Place the brisket in a pan just big enough to fit it, and pour on the marinade. Cover tightly with a double layer of foil, and bake for 2 hours. Turn the brisket over, and bake uncovered for 1 more hour. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and reduce to about 2½ cups. Skim the oil off the top. Let the brisket cool slightly. Slice thin against the grain (if the slices look too long, cut the brisket in half across its whole length before slicing). Pour the gravy on top, and serve hot.