Beautiful Bertha’s Slow Cooked Brisket a recipe for celebrating Rosh Hashana

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Hi there,

My friend, Wendy, has graciously shared her grandmother Bertha’s recipe for slow-cooked brisket, and it is delicious.

As Wendy shared her memories, it was clear that her grandmother’s slow-cooked brisket was more than a recipe. It was a cherished family heirloom, passed down with love and care. Bertha’s culinary prowess created the perfect blend of flavors and traditions, tying Wendy’s family together across generations. Now, armed with Bertha’s recipe, Wendy carries the torch, ensuring her grandmother’s culinary legacy lives on. And what follows is Wendy’s recollection of her grandmother, Bertha—and Bertha’s recipe.

“She was the tiniest little person. I don’t know how she lifted anything from the oven.  She never met my husband, Bob, but she would have adored him if for no other reason than he would be someone she could really feed!  Her favorite thing was to feed people.  You had to beg her to stop.  She cared very much about her appearance, keeping a tube of lipstick in a kitchen drawer just in case someone came unexpectedly.  She had a very wonderful sense of humor.

Wendy told me that Bertha served this during Rosh Hashanah and other times of the year. Since Rosh Hashanah is Friday, I thought sharing the recipe was a good time.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, holds rich traditions and symbolism, and food plays a crucial role in this festive occasion. Brisket, a classic dish often served during Rosh Hashanah, carries significant meaning and importance. The slow-cooked beef represents the passage of time and the need for patience and reflection in the new year. Just as the brisket is tenderized through time and care, Rosh Hashanah encourages individuals to reflect on their past actions, demonstrate forgiveness, and seek personal growth for the year ahead. Moreover, brisket brings families and friends together to share a meaningful meal, fostering a sense of community and celebration. Its savory flavors and hearty nature embody the warmth and abundance of blessings that are desired for the coming year. With its symbolic meaning and delicious taste, brisket exemplifies the essential role of food in commemorating Rosh Hashanah and setting the tone for a sweet and fulfilling year ahead.




4 lbs of center-cut brisket

1 cup of water and ketchup

1/2 cup of white vinegar

2 sliced red onions

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 clove of minced garlic

1 teaspoon of salt


I use a Dutch oven and heat the brisket over a medium/high heat.  Cook until browned on all sides.  Stir in the other ingredients (I combined them first).  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium/low.  Continue simmering for about 4 hours.
Remove the brisket and let cool for about 15 minutes.  Slice the meat AGAINST THE GRAIN (very important!).  Place the slices back into the Dutch oven to float in the liquid.   Simmer on a very low heat for about 1 more hour, at least.  
You can make this a day ahead; cover it and refrigerate, removing the fat before you reheat and serve.
This can also be made in the oven at 325 degrees, using a roasting pan with high sides.  
If you want, you can add potatoes cut into chunks, carrots, and celery for the last 2 hours or so.

And for dessert, may I suggest a traditional Apple Cake, and here is a link to a super delicious recipe for one.

41 responses to “Beautiful Bertha’s Slow Cooked Brisket a recipe for celebrating Rosh Hashana”

  1. cbholganza – Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines – I'm a retired army officer with a passion to serve, hence I continue to soldier on with my dreams, my advocacies.
    cbholganza says:

    You’re making me hungry! 😣☺️😋

  2. Pure comfort! This may be made for Sunday Supper!

  3. I had to check this recipe out not only for the content but because her grandmother’s name was Bertha. My grandmother was Bertha, my favorite aunt was Bertha, and my mother’s middle name was Bertha. That’s definitely not a name we see anymore. 🙂

    • You are right Judy. The name Bertha has fallen into disuse and now evokes a certain time in history. Funny how that happens. Hope your garden is getting some decent late summer weather.

  4. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    I’ve never cooked brisket, this sounds like heaven!

  5. johnrieber – I love great food, interesting books, fascinating travel, outrageous movies, and bacon, especially when it sits on top of a great cheeseburger! I work in entertainment – and I have been lucky enough to interview some really talented Artists – that guides my posts: interesting and provocative movies, music, social media and of course, food, since I believe strongly in the maxim, "everyone eats!"
    johnrieber says:

    I will be sharing this…love the mix of family history and food….

  6. Chef Mimi – As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!
    Chef Mimi says:

    This looks good! I’d have to add way more garlic!

  7. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, chocolate, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. I cook from scratch, and try not to use anything that has ingredients I cannot pronounce! After many years of daily serving up local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most full-fat dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies, and I try to educated myself about our food sources! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    Love this story Bernie! These family recipe-memories are the best.

  8. Great post and recipe, full of moving memories and traditions.

    Another Rosh Hashana culinary tradition, is to dip a slice of apple in honey, and eat it as a symbolic hope for a sweet new year.
    I post a dessert based on this tradition every year. You’re welcome to check the link below for the recipes. 🙂

  9. Angie@Angie's Recipes – Angie's Recipes is an interactive blog dedicated to sharing yummy & creative recipes, helpful cooking hints and tips. Enjoy your visit and spread the word!
    angiesrecipes says:

    I love briskets and often make them in my slow cooker. But why removing the fat? Saturated fat is healthy and I eat lots of them.

  10. Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
    Awakening Wonders says:

    This looks splendid – and slow cooked brisket is big here in Texas!

      • Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
        Awakening Wonders says:

        Is has cooled off this week and some rain is to arrive shortly!

  11. Hi Bernadette, this sounds delicious. How nice for Wendy to have this super traditional family recipe

  12. That dish looks like it has so much flavor! Thank you for sharing it!

  13. This brisket sounds delicious, with a nice balance of all the right flavors! I like to do mine in the oven, low and slow as noted in Bertha’s recipe, and covered with foil to keep it from drying out. Shana Tova! (Happy New Year) 🙂

  14. D. Wallace Peach – 30 Miles beyond the edge of civilization, Oregon – I'm an adventurer in writing, peering under rocks in my garden for secret magic. I can't stop writing. My stories want to explode from my head. They demand my attention and surge from my fingertips faster than I can put them to paper. I love what I do.
    D. Wallace Peach says:

    What lovely memories Wendy shared about her grandmother. Thanks for passing them on, Bernadette, and for the recipe. I’ll give it a try!

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