Arleen Kerman’s Brisket to Die For


  • 5 to 8 pound brisket (larger preferred) with cap
  • 1 pound carrots, cleaned and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 6 ribs of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 medium yellow onions, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 large cloves garlic, medium chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • paprika
  • baking soda
  • red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • unseasoned meat tenderizer 


  1. All stoves and ovens are not the same. Times will vary.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rack should be on the lowest setting.
  3. Trim the brisket but leave some of the fat on the cap.
  4. Heat a large skillet on top of the stove.
  5. Place brisket fat side down in the skillet and brown. Turn and brown on the other side. You might need to re-arrange the meat and brown it in sections if you do not have a large enough skillet. I sometimes use my mother’s blue enamel roaster and place in over two burners. Remove after browned and set aside.
  6. In the roaster or skillet, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil. Heat the oil and add the onions to brown. Stir occasionally. When the onions start to stick and turn brown, add about 2 teaspoon baking soda and sprinkle with paprika. This gives the golden brown look and allows the onions to release their juices without burning. Add the garlic and continue to stir as needed. You might need to lower the temperature. After about 10 minutes add the carrots and celery. Sauté for about 5 more minutes. You could use one of the blue enamel roasters, or a large what is called a roasting pan that is at least 4 inches deep, or you could even use a deep lasagna pan. They will all work. I always spray the bottom and sides of my pan. It makes life easier.
  7. I now place the sautéed vegetables or mirepoix in the bottom of my roasting pan.  The seared brisket, cap side up is placed on the top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with unseasoned meat tenderizer and salt and pepper to taste and paprika. I use the meat tenderizer with all roasts no matter what the quality of meat. Do we know what the cow has eaten? Why take a chance!
  8. Aside from the money invested in the roast, there is the time. Add enough water to cover the brisket about one third. Please do not use a pan that is twice as big as your brisket.  You should have about three inches of space around the brisket and the side of the pan.  Add the bay leaves and wine. How much wine? I use a good 2 cups. The wine will definitely make a difference.
  9. At this point I cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil. If the roast is above the edge of the pan, spray with Pam so the meat will not stick to the foil. My rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. The slower it cooks, the less shrinkage and it will be more tender. After around an hour, I check the pan to see if more liquid is needed.
  10. Slowly stir the vegetables around to mix the flavors. Check about every 30 minutes. Add more water or if you have homemade beef stock that does not have salt, you may want to add some of that.
  11. When the meat is fork tender remove the foil and let the brisket brown. This will form a crust on the top of the brisket. After it has browned, remove from pan and let cool.
  12. Strain the vegetables and let the gravy cool before placing in the refrigerator. Save the carrots.
  13. When the meat is cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate over night. Could be 2 or 3 nights. Place the strained gravy in a tightly sealed container and also refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top and can be used later for flavoring with kasha and shells along with the gravy or it can be discarded.
  14. To serve, slice against the grain and leave in the shape of the brisket. Place in sprayed 9×13. Add gravy around the meat. You will know if the gravy is rich because it will look like Jell-O when it has set. Arrange carrots on top and around meat. Cover with foil. Warm in 325 degree oven. Serve. How many people does this serve? You know your family!